Next-gen geothermal firm Fervo Energy lands investment from oil and gas giant

Next-gen geothermal firm Fervo Energy lands investment from oil and gas giant
Fervo Energy CEO Tim Latimer at the company's next-generation geothermal operations (Courtesy: Fervo Energy)

Next-gen geothermal energy firm Fervo Energy has secured a $10 million investment from oil and gas leader Devon Energy, the companies announced.

Fervo Energy is one of the first geothermal companies to drill and successfully complete a horizontal well pair for commercial geothermal production. It used technologies, skills, and processes that Devon uses for oil and gas production.

“We are thrilled to have Devon as a partner,” Fervo Energy CEO Tim Latimer said. “Devon is a technology leader with historic and unparalleled expertise in drilling and completing wells. We expect this partnership will help unlock further potential for geothermal as the primary 24/7 renewable energy source.”

GO DEEPER: Fervo Energy co-founder and CEO Tim Latimer joined the Texas Power Podcast with Doug Lewin to discuss a hoped-for resurgence in the geothermal energy industry. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

A new wave of geothermal energy development leans on the efficiencies and technology breakthroughs that fueled the shale revolutions in the U.S. in the early 2010s.

Back then, most geothermal drilling projects used outdated drilling rigs, Latimer said. There was no software. No automation. And, maybe most importantly, there was little directional drilling, a mainstay of oil and gas exploration and development.

Fervo Energy launched in 2017 with the mission to use horizontal drilling technology and multi-stage well completion to scale geothermal power generation development. The company would also incorporate modern data sets, like distributed fiber optic sensing, which weren’t being used in the industry prior.

Latimer and co-founder Jack Norbeck received a research grant and spent two years embedded inside the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory's Energy Geosciences Division. When the program ended, Latimer took Fervo Energy back to Houston, an acknowledgment that there is much to learn from the sophisticated drilling techniques used by the oil and gas industry.

Latimer and Fervo Energy's story is at the heart of the energy transition. He hopes others take notice.

"I started my career in oil and gas. I have tremendous respect for the people that I work with in the oil and gas industry," Latimer said. "Once people realize that their skills can apply in a new type of energy generation and the clean energy transition, they get a lot more excited about it."