Using Well Data To Quantify Geothermal Power Potential: A Case Study From The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin
The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) is an alpine foreland basin that underlies many population centers and possesses a commercially significant quantity of geothermal energy. The WCSB is best known for its hydrocarbon resources, which include 1845 billion barrels of crude bitumen, 83 billion barrels of crude oil, nearly a trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 100 billion tons of coal (Alberta Energy Regulator, 2017). Hundreds of thousands of wells have been drilled into the WCSB, creating an extensive set of hydrogeologic and thermodynamic data from the basin’s subsurface. We use data derived from the oil and gas industry to estimate the geothermal resource potential of hot sedimentary aquifers in the central and northern parts of the Alberta foothills, which overlie some of the deepest parts of the WCSB. Geotechnical and hydrogeological data from well bore logs and rock cores were used to identify, map, and model the power production potential of geothermal reservoirs in sedimentary formations in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin across several municipal districts in western Alberta. We show a general workflow for using oil and gas data to assess geothermal resources in sedimentary basins and assess the power production potential of these resources using a volumetric (heat-in place) method. In total, throughout the study area, we identified a potential thermal power capacity of 6100 MWt per for a 30-year production period. Reservoir depths ranged from about 2500m to over 5000 m. Formation temperatures ranged from 60 °C to over 150 °C. The calculated thermal power capacity equates to 1150 MWe of potential electrical power capacity over the 30-year production period, of which 800 MWe are considered high grade (> 120 °C) resources that may reliably produce electricity with existing technology.
AAPG Datapages/Search and Discovery Article #90346 ©2019 AAPG European Region, 3rd Hydrocarbon Geothermal Cross Over Technology Workshop, Geneva, Switzerland, April 9-10, 2019