Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Science & Technology: Geothermal Energy Deserves Attention from Oil & Gas Industry

Geothermal Energy Could Soon Stage A Coup In Oil And Gas (

Every single barrel of oil also brings out close to seven barrels of boiling hot water which can be utilized to generate electricity through geothermal turbines. "Oil- and gas-producing sedimentary basins in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and North Dakota contain formation waters of a temperature that is adequate for geothermal power production," said researchers and GRC Members Anna Crowell and Will Gosnold in a paper that appeared in Journal Geosphere.

With the overall rig-count in the U.S. falling by more the 1,130 since last year, can any geothermal company stage a coup using the oil industry’s rejects by making the geothermal technology cost competitive?

A report released in April this year stated that Continental Resources and Hungary based MOL group were testing a system that could generate electricity by using hot water that is present in the oil well.

With close to 25 billion gallons of water used by U.S. drillers on an annual basis, this system (if developed commercially in the near future) could generate electricity, which would be the equivalent to three coal fired plants running 24 hours a day, thereby reducing overall costs.

Although the U.S is the leading global producer of geothermal energy, it contributes only a small fraction of its overall energy consumption. However, geothermal energy can provide drilling companies with the much needed ‘green credential’ as it produces less carbon than other power sources. Still, the biggest and most important limitation is the high cost of drilling associated with it. Although there are some new and promising developments made by researchers and companies like Hypersciences, geothermal energy can only go main stream once the costs associated with it come down. Geothermal energy indeed deserves the attention that it is now getting.