AAPG Geothermal Cross Over Technology Workshop
(24 May 2017)
25-26 April 2017
Both the geothermal and petroleum sectors have experience in the production and management of fluids from the subsurface. Each faces different challenges, the former needing to overcome issues associated with upfront capital cost and risk, the latter concerned with maintaining production against a backdrop of declining reserves and volatile prices. Ultimately there are huge disparities in the value of the fluids produced by each industry. A barrel of oil even at the lower prices encountered more recently being worth tens of dollars and a barrel of hot water being worth a few cents.
This workshop was novel because it considered the potential for knowledge exchange between both sectors and brought many different interests together. Some excellent presentations were delivered using many interesting global case studies and it was clear that there was much potential for symbiosis between the petroleum and geothermal industries. Several presentations gave practical examples as to how this was possible for example by using combined geothermal and petroleum systems where produced water is used to generate heat onshore e.g. for homes and swimming pools and electricity offshore to offset imported energy costs. Other themes included evaluating the prospectivity of fluid systems, play systems and modelling and measuring fluid flow, enhanced geothermal systems and fracking.
There was good representation from several colleagues at Durham within the Programme, Prof Jon Gluyas was co-chair and Prof Gillian Foulger delivered a presentation on microseismic monitoring of geothermal systems and how the methods used have direct application to petroleum, shale gas, CO2 sequestration and gas storage projects. Current PhD student Nadia Narayan spoke about using data gathered for petroleum prospecting to identify geothermal targets in deep karst and former PhD student Cat Hirst presented a case study of how co-produced water from the East Midlands oilfield has potential as a heat source for horticultural applications. Dr Charlotte Adams spoke about combined geothermal and petroleum systems using Wytch Farm and the Murchison Field within the Brent Petroleum Province as examples. There were many lessons for the geothermal sector to learn including the importance and use of analogues, the need to understand reservoir structures and the need to have access to petroleum prospecting data that may have value in geothermal prospecting - the latter having accelerated geothermal developmentsin The Netherlands. For the petroleum sector this event highlighted the role that geothermal energy could play in extending field life whilst partly decarbonising and adding value to existing operations. All in all it was a very successful meeting that initiated some useful research and industry focused discussions that will hopefully lead to new collaborations.