Advancing Reactive Tracer Methods for Measurement of Thermal Evolution in Geothermal Reservoirs: Final Report

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The injection of cold fluids into engineered geothermal system (EGS) and conventional geothermal reservoirs may be done to help extract heat from the subsurface or to maintain pressures within the reservoir (e.g., Rose et al., 2001). As these injected fluids move along fractures, they acquire heat from the rock matrix and remove it from the reservoir as they are extracted to the surface. A consequence of such injection is the migration of a cold-fluid front through the reservoir (Figure 1) that could eventually reach the production well and result in the lowering of the temperature of the produced fluids (thermal ... continued below

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Plummer, Mitchell A.; Palmer, Carl D.; Mattson, Earl D.; Hull, Laurence C. & Redden, George D. July 1, 2011.

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Description

The injection of cold fluids into engineered geothermal system (EGS) and conventional geothermal reservoirs may be done to help extract heat from the subsurface or to maintain pressures within the reservoir (e.g., Rose et al., 2001). As these injected fluids move along fractures, they acquire heat from the rock matrix and remove it from the reservoir as they are extracted to the surface. A consequence of such injection is the migration of a cold-fluid front through the reservoir (Figure 1) that could eventually reach the production well and result in the lowering of the temperature of the produced fluids (thermal breakthrough). Efficient operation of an EGS as well as conventional geothermal systems involving cold-fluid injection requires accurate and timely information about thermal depletion of the reservoir in response to operation. In particular, accurate predictions of the time to thermal breakthrough and subsequent rate of thermal drawdown are necessary for reservoir management, design of fracture stimulation and well drilling programs, and forecasting of economic return. A potential method for estimating migration of a cold front between an injection well and a production well is through application of reactive tracer tests, using chemical whose rate of degradation is dependent on the reservoir temperature between the two wells (e.g., Robinson 1985). With repeated tests, the rate of migration of the thermal front can be determined, and the time to thermal breakthrough calculated. While the basic theory behind the concept of thermal tracers has been understood for some time, effective application of the method has yet to be demonstrated. This report describes results of a study that used several methods to investigate application of reactive tracers to monitoring the thermal evolution of a geothermal reservoir. These methods included (1) mathematical investigation of the sensitivity of known and hypothetical reactive tracers, (2) laboratory testing of novel tracers that would improve method sensitivity, (3) development of a software tool for design and interpretation of reactive tracer tests and (4) field testing of the reactive tracer temperature monitoring concept.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-11-22632
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/1033883 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1033883
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc846365

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  • July 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 15, 2016, 2:44 p.m.

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Plummer, Mitchell A.; Palmer, Carl D.; Mattson, Earl D.; Hull, Laurence C. & Redden, George D. Advancing Reactive Tracer Methods for Measurement of Thermal Evolution in Geothermal Reservoirs: Final Report, report, July 1, 2011; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc846365/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.