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A New Future for Deep Depleted Wells— Geothermal Energy from Sedimentary Basins

Richard J. Erdlac, Jr.
Energy America Geothermal, 303 Veterans Airpark Ln., Ste. 4101, Midland, Texas 79705

Geopressured reservoirs, rather than the bane of the oil and gas (O&G) industry, represent an untapped renewable energy resource that industry can produce. From the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) undertook a major investigation of the geopressured-geothermal potential along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. Seventeen wells were studied, provided either by industry or drilled by the DOE. One well, Pleasant Bayou #2 in Brazoria County, Texas, produced 12 million barrels (bbls) of brine and 231,000 thousand cubic feet (mcf) of gas. Bottom hole temperature (BHT) was around 300°F and brine was produced from perforations within the Frio sandstone. This well became the first successful hybrid binary cycle system test for electrical power generation, producing nearly 1.2 megawatts per hour (MW/hr) and proving that geopressured reservoirs can produce electricity. Thus, high pressure – high temperature (HP/HT) reservoirs are of future importance for geothermal development, offering opportunity for the O&G industry to expand its energy base and profit margin.


AAPG Search and Discover Article #90069©2007 GCAGS 57th Annual Convention, Corpus Christi, Texas