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Making the Next Giant Leap in Geosciences
April 10-13, 2011, Houston, Texas, USA

Developing Information for the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS)

David D. Blackwell1; Previous HitFabianTop Moerchen2; Ian J. Duncan3; Will D. Gosnold4; Martin Kay5; Seiichi Nagihara6; Curt Robinson7; Jefferson Tester8

(1) SMU Geothermal Laboratory, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.

(2) Siemens Corporate Research, Princeton, NJ.

(3) Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas, Austin, TX.

(4) University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.

(5) MLKay Technologies, Houston, TX.

(6) Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.

(7) Geothermal Resources Council, Davis, CA.

(8) Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

The National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) is a Department of Energy funded effort to create a distributed network of databases made available via web services. The NGDS will have a data catalogue and a number of topical and regional portals to allow access to a variety of geothermal information. The NGDS will help identify regions suitable for potential development, further scientific data collection or analysis of geothermal resources as a source for clean, renewable energy.

A key NGDS repository is being developed by SMU’s Geothermal Laboratory, Siemens Corporation, the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas, MLKay Technologies, Texas Tech University, Cornell University, the University of North Dakota, and the Geothermal Resources Council, through funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. Software to enable the integration, analysis, and dissemination of this team’s contributions to the NGDS is currently in development.

Data from our collaboration will encompass the US with emphasis on the Gulf Coast (on and off shore), the Northern Great Plains, and the Eastern US, describing the geological, geophysical, geochemical, infrastructure and economic characteristics of the resources. Types of data include: temperature, heat flow, thermal conductivity, porosity, permeability, structure, core logs, well tests, estimated reservoir volume, in situ stress, fluid chemistry, oil and gas well information, and conventional and enhanced geothermal systems. Data will be placed in the context of regional geology, seismicity, and tectonic setting and will include a measure for quality of data collection and evaluation. Where possible, we will improve data reliability. For example, bottom-hole temperatures (BHT) from oil and gas well logs are not in thermal equilibrium and often lack certainty; by comparing BHT and equilibrium temperature logs, applying appropriate corrections, and verifying consistency where BHT measurements exist in close proximity, we improve the data quality.

Access to such data will reduce the costs and investment risk for a broad range of developers of geothermal projects. Send inquiries to [email protected]