Volume 17: Technology Innovation to Accelerate Energy Transitions

Understanding Thermal-Energy Extraction Prospects in Wellbore Fluid Circulation Pushpesh Sharma, A.Q. Al Saedi, C. S. Kabir



The existing numerical and analytical models for fluid circulation in wellbores provide the necessary foundation for exploring geothermal energy prospects for generating power or hot water for various industrial usage. A steady-state fluid circulation rate in a closed-loop system provided insights into power generation’s efficacy in previous studies. Lately, the introduction of analytical modeling paved the way for exploring realistic scenarios for the time-variant geothermal gradient at a well’s proximity.
This article attempts to provide a roadmap for geothermal energy extraction by invoking the cyclical fluid circulation strategy for ensuring a stable surface fluid temperature or power. Both increasing and decreasing stepwise rate sequence provides the desired outcome. This rate-sequencing approach leads to assessing the value proposition of proposed thermal-energy extraction strategy in various North American basins. For a given depth, the overall thermal prospect depends on a well’s geographic location. Given the abundance of abandoned wells in oil fields, this study explores retrofitting such wells and drilling designed wells in geothermal-friendly areas to compare their relative economic value propositions.

Keywords thermal-energy, fluid circulation, designed wells, repurposed wells, power generation

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