Repurposing Oil and Gas Wells to Geothermal Wells

SPE Distinguished Lecturer - Arash Dahi Taleghani
Location: Union Kirk

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The number of abandoned oil and gas wells are growing over millions, significant costs are imposed to companies and government for decommissioning these wells.

However, it would be very encouraging for the oil and gas industry to take advantage of these wells and use them as a source of geothermal energy. Huge upfront costs have always been a major obstacle for the development of geothermal energy. As a rule of thumb, a quarter of the costs for harvesting geothermal energy is going toward drilling and one third of the costs is spent for completions. One obvious solution is avoiding these costs by repurposing existing oil and gas wells to generate geothermal power at the end of their economic production life. In some regions of extensive hydrocarbon explorations, the geothermal gradient can be very steep, providing potential well candidates for conversion. Taking into consideration the local energy demand, potential market, existing infrastructure, and technical challenges, a conversion strategy for the existing wells is discussed specially in terms of the wellbore integrity requirement and steps to ensure hydrocarbon containment during the heat extraction process. Potential challenges in inspection and preparation of these wells in terms of well integrity and productivity with possible remedies will be discussed in this presentation.

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