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TitleHybrid geothermal energy and hydrocarbon resources production by repurposing horizontal wells in shale gas reservoirs in Horn River Basin, British Columbia, Canada
AuthorYuan, WORCID logo; Chen, Z; Kong, B; Zhao, G
SourceJournal of Petroleum Science & Engineering vol. 227, 211913, 2023 p. 1-16,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20220428
Mediapaper; digital; on-line
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia
NTS94I; 94J; 94O; 94P
AreaHorn River
Lat/Long WENS-123.5128 -120.7633 60.0000 58.2164
SubjectsScience and Technology; fossil fuels; geothermal energy; gas; reservoirs; Horn River basin
Illustrationslocation maps; diagrams; charts; cross-plots
ProgramEnergy Geoscience Program Coordination
Released2023 05 12
AbstractThe production of geothermal energy from the depleted oil and gas reservoirs could represent one of the practical pathways of the clean energy transition for the hydrocarbon energy industry. In this study, a new strategy for repurposing oil and gas wells into geothermal energy production system is proposed to co-produce hydrocarbon and geothermal resources during the transition. At a certain stage in a hydrocarbon production system of fractured horizontal wellbores, one vertical injection well is added to connect to the end of the horizontal wellbores to form a U-loop system with open fractures in the lateral part. Cold water is injected through the injection well, transported along the U-loop system, and geothermal energy is produced along with natural gas for utilization. Natural gas production continues as long as the pressure of the horizontal well remains lower than the reservoir pressure. An example application case from a typical shale gas production system in the Horn River Basin of British Columbia, Canada has been examined in this study. The results show that reduction in cumulative gas production is limited if the injection well is added at a middle or later stage. The outlet temperature from this system behaves like those in a closed-loop geothermal system and could be stable for several decades of operation. Although the time of conversion is sensitive to gas production, it does not affect the bottom hole temperature much. The water flow rate does not affect the cumulative gas production but considerably affects the formation temperature. The horizontal length of the fractured wellbore will significantly affect the gas production performance and geothermal energy output. Fracture length and permeability have critical impact on gas production but less influence on geothermal energy recovery.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Geothermal resource is a renewable resource from the subsurface that can provide clean, reliable, dispatchable energy needs for electricity power generation and space heating. Canada's geothermal energy resources are widely distributed, with the largest potential areas located in the country's western and northern regions. Many geothermal energy projects have recently been launched in Canada with the goal of demonstrating resource development techniques or geothermal resource concepts. However, the high capital expenditure and the associated low production revenue due to the lower energy density of geothermal resources limit the commercial investments in the Canadian geothermal industry. On the other hand, high geological uncertainties during the geothermal energy development periods, such as fundamental geological data availability, reservoir heterogeneity (faults, fracture networks), reservoir rock connectivity (permeability and porosity), rock thermal properties assessment, etc., are the major technical barriers that block the commercial geothermal resource development. The geothermal energy production from the depleted oil and gas reservoirs is a practical pathway to reduce the cost and de-risk the uncertainties, and the clean energy transition for hydrocarbon energy production countries, like Canada. This study examines the feasibility of converting a multi-stage hydraulically fracked shale gas production system to a hybrid energy producer. By adding a vertical injection well and connect it to production wells at the 'toe' locations of the lateral system, we repurpose the existing shale gas horizontal production well network to a hybrid energy producing system that produces both gas and geothermal, and predominantly geothermal after the conversion. The model is applied to the shale gas reservoir of the Horn River Formation in Horn River Basin, British Columbia to demonstrate the novel idea, and then extend further to examine the sensitivity of the wellbore configurations and operational parameters to the energy production performance and recovery efficiency in a higher permeable reservoir, such as a tight gas reservoir, by a fracked horizontal wellbore.

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