Implications of geothermal energy production via geopressured gas wells in Texas : merging conceptual understanding of hydrocarbon production and geothermal systems



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This thesis evaluates the overall geothermal energy development potential of the state of Texas by combining resource assessment studies from both the hydrocarbon and conventional geothermal sectors. Cooperation between these industries is often shown to result in a symbiotic relationship that will benefit not only the respective industries, but also the public and regulatory environments. By outlining resource characteristics, technological specifications, thermodynamic foundations, and the specific geologic environments of the state that are related to geothermal and hydrocarbon production, this report attempts to update previous geothermal feasibility studies performed by academic and government institutions. This report suggests the undertaking of preliminary implementation surveys exploring a novel geothermal energy production method known as the well bore heat exchanger. Several numerical modeling reports assessing the optimized system parameters, ideal work rates, and electrical generation capabilities of this theoretical method of production are summarized in this report. This power generation method is uniquely suited to areas of concentrated hydrocarbon production due to the potential application to retrofitted abandoned wells. By avoiding plugging and abandonment procedures, production companies are saved from a cost with no potential payback while saving the geothermal industry exploration and drilling costs, which commonly make up over half of an overall project development budget. Production history analysis of specific geopressured gas plays and the creation of a geospatial distribution model determined the ideal location for applying this innovative clean energy production method.