The “Drilling in dEep, Super-CRitical AMBient of continentaL Europe” (DESCRAMBLE) project proposes to drill in continental-crust, super-critical geothermal conditions, and to test and demonstrate novel drilling techniques to control gas emissions, the aggressive environment and the high temperature/pressure expected from the deep fluids. The project will improve knowledge of deep chemical-physical conditions for predicting and controlling critical drilling conditions. An existing well in Larderello (Tuscany, Italy), Venelle_2, will be deepened from its present depth of 2.2 km down to 3-3.5 km. The DESCRAMBLE project will be partly supported by EU H2020 funds.  The final purpose of the project is the chemical and thermo-physical characterization of the steam reservoir. The Venelle_2 well will not be converted in a production well.

Innovative aspects

Applied research/demonstrations of industrial component in an unconventional application:

  • Materials: Bottom hole assembly components, Cementing process, Drilling fluids, Well materials (casing, well head, and cement
  • Well design and control: the research will optimize new procedures, explicitly utilizing synergies with oil and gas industry.
  • Predicting and controlling super-critical conditions: the research will optimize new procedures, explicitly using synergies with oil and gas industry. Existing simulators will be extended to the super-critical regime.
  • Development of a new logging tool: suitable for measurement of pressure and temperature at supercritical conditions.
  • Scientific research aspects: Seismic characterization of the super critical region, Petrophysics and log interpretation, Geochemical monitoring and Petrology.

Innovation path

The DESCRAMBLE PROJECT is the first part of an innovation path in three phases


  • PHASE I – R&D: the activity partly financed by H2020 of deepening the Venelle_2 well, for testing new material and procedure for drilling and fluid handling in supercritical conditions.
  • PHASE II - PILOT: in case of success of PHASE I a Pilot could be realized, with possibility of grants from EU (as follow up of DESCRAMBLE), MIUR and Tuscan Region.
  • PHASE III - Deployment: after the R&D and Pilot phases, the experience could be replied in different locations in Italy and abroad, with a substantial cost reduction due to a learning curve effect.