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Integrating Remote Sensing and Field Data for Geothermal Energy Exploration in the Gulf of Suez, Egypt

Abstract

The tectonic position of Egypt in the northeastern corner of the African continent suggests that it may possess significant geothermal resources, especially along its eastern margin. The Gulf of Suez region represents the most promising area in Egypt for geothermal exploration, which is characterized by superficial thermal manifestations represented by a cluster of hot springs with varying temperatures from 35°C to 72°C. The eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez consists of the hottest springs in the area, including Hammam Musa, Hammam Faraun and Ayn Musa. Many hot springs also exist in the Eastern Desert of Egypt particularly the area adjacent to the Red Sea. Field data, obtained from 197 offshore and onshore deep oil wells along the Gulf of Suez, were analyzed in this study. Well logging measurements, including bottom-hole temperature, and chemical analysis were conducted as well. Horner BHT and Mexico correction methods were implemented on the bottom hole temperature data to obtain the actual temperature values. The results indicatedthat the study area has a geothermal gradient in the range of 0.249 - 6.554 °C/100 m, and a heat flow in the range of 31-173.32 m.W.K-1. Additionally, the thermal conductivity was found to be in the range of 1.6 - 3.2 W.m-1.K-1, with an amplitude temperature varying from 49.48°C to157.8 °C, and an oil window in the range of 66.08-18630.5 m. Remote sensing data from Landsat-8 and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) were used to map relevant physiographic variables including elevation, slope, and lineament density. Well logging data was interpolated in GIS and integrated with the remote sensing derived maps to locate new potential geothermal sites in the Gulf of Suez and its vicinity. The southwestern region of the Gulf was found to be among the areas that could hold high geothermal potential, thus it requires more attention for future geothermal exploration. The present approach could be adopted, with some modification, to locate potential sites for geothermal energy in other places in Egypt and East Africa.