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Tariq Siddiqui's picture
COO Upstream EP Advisors LLC

Oil & Energy | Business Development | Capital Projects | Offshore Wind -  Proven leader in offshore development and operations, with 25+ years’ expertise in managing business through cycles...

  • Member since 2021
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  • Jun 18, 2021
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WRONG NOTIONS ABOUT GEOTHERMAL. It is considered a local phenomenon — few places are sitting on an underground river of steaming hot water — and so geothermal has not been viewed as a major feature on the alternative energy landscape. But a number of experts around the world say that notion is wrong. Thanks especially to the deep-drilling techniques. Deep geothermal can access hot temperatures in the earth’s mantle as far down as two to three miles. 

KEY INSIGHTS
OIL & GAS DRILLING EXPERIENCE IS A KEY: Aided by advances in deep-drilling technology for fracking, engineers are developing new methods of tapping into the earth’s limitless underground supplies of heat and steam. But the costs of accessing deep geothermal energy are high, and initial government support will be crucial.

  1. “It’s not a question of whether it’s there — it is and it’s significant. It’s a question of getting it out of the ground economically.
  2. ”Even though geothermal is barely on the alternative energy radar, the U.S. already produces 3.7 gigawatts (GW) of geothermal electricity, enough to power more than 1 million homes.
  3. “Geothermal electricity is always on.”  “It can provide fully dispatchable power or heat and is scalable in the same way other renewables are.
  4. ”In a recent report, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) predicted the output of geothermal in Europe could increase eight-fold by 2050.  Overcoming technical and financial barriers, generating electricity through geothermal methods could increase 26-fold by 2050, providing 8.5 percent of the United States’ electricity, as well as direct heat. 

 

BOTTOMLINE

Accessing deep geothermal is expensive and risky. But with a global focus on decarbonizing economies, many countries could offer risk-mitigation strategies and financial incentives, including tax benefits, cost sharing, and technical research.The U.S. Department of Energy, for example, has committed $150 million to the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) project 

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Roger Arnold's picture
Roger Arnold on Jun 19, 2021

Good points regarding the value of oil and gas drilling experience (and technology) for tapping geothermal resources, and the potential scale of the geothermal energy resource available.

One thing that I didn't see mentioned is the potential synergy between geothermal energy and CCS. Hot geothermal brine can be extracted from a reservoir and its heat employed for power generation, water desalination, or other purposes. Then the cooled brine can be sent back to the reservoir via an injection well drilled below the extraction well. That maintains reservoir pressure and thermal production. In addition, however, supercritical CO2 can be dissolved in the returning brine. The cool brine with dissolved CO2 has a substantially higher density than the hot brine in the extraction well. Its weight in the injection well creates a convection loop that, at a minimum, reduces any pumping energy needed to operate the system. Once re-injected into the reservoir, the heavy carbonated brine will diffuse further downward into the reservoir, taking the dissolved CO2 with it. 

The geothermal operation, overall, gains in economic feasibility from the added revenue for CO2 sequestration.

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