Texas Geothermal Energy: A New Profit Commodity for the Oil and Gas Industry*
Richard J. Erdlac1
Search and Discovery Article #80001 (2006)
Posted July 3, 2006
*Poster presentation, at AAPG Annual Convention, Houston, Texas, April 10-12, 2006
1University of Texas Permian Basin, Center for Energy & Economic Diversification, Odessa, TX ([email protected])
In the latter part of 1989, a new system for energy and power production was first tested in Texas. A hybrid geothermal power plant was built, tested, and run for 121 days producing electrical power that was sold to HP&L. While a technological success, timing was poor for commercialization. Oil and gas were inexpensive. No incentives existed for renewable energy production in the state, no one was concerned about not having sufficient electrical energy for the economy, and California and other parts of the country had yet to experience electrical power shortages. Those times have changed.
The deep Permian Basin is one of 5 regions within the state that has the potential for holding vast amounts of renewable heat energy. Temperatures well in excess of 212F are present in deep wells. This hot water, generally considered a liability when encountered in the O&G drilling process, holds the key for a restoration of the Texas oil and gas industry and its infrastructure for decades to come. Existing technology can capture this heat and generate electrical power. Many 1,000's Megawatts are probable from this heat energy. Conventional geothermal energy companies have yet to target deep sedimentary basins due to a lack of knowledge…knowledge of the available resource…knowledge of the subsurface geological architecture…and knowledge of the data resources developed over many decades of oil and gas production. The existing O&G industry is presently poised to take advantage of this energy resource and begin developing heat energy concurrently with oil and gas production efforts. This presentation discusses the available heat energy and its future development.