Evaluation of Oil-Industry Stimulation Practices for Engineered Geothermal Systems

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Geothermal energy extraction is typically achieved by use of long open-hole intervals in an attempt to connect the well with the greatest possible rock mass. This presents a problem for the development of Enhanced (Engineered) Geothermal Systems (EGS), owing to the challenge of obtaining uniform stimulation throughout the open-hole interval. Fluids are often injected in only a fraction of that interval, reducing heat transfer efficiency and increasing energy cost. Pinnacle Technologies, Inc. and GeothermEx, Inc. evaluated a variety of techniques and methods that are commonly used for hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells to increase and evaluate stimulation effectiveness ... continued below

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Dyke, Peter Van; Weijers, Leen; Robertson-Tait, Ann; Warpinski, Norm; Mayerhofer, Mike; Minner, Bill et al. October 17, 2007.

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Geothermal energy extraction is typically achieved by use of long open-hole intervals in an attempt to connect the well with the greatest possible rock mass. This presents a problem for the development of Enhanced (Engineered) Geothermal Systems (EGS), owing to the challenge of obtaining uniform stimulation throughout the open-hole interval. Fluids are often injected in only a fraction of that interval, reducing heat transfer efficiency and increasing energy cost. Pinnacle Technologies, Inc. and GeothermEx, Inc. evaluated a variety of techniques and methods that are commonly used for hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells to increase and evaluate stimulation effectiveness in EGS wells. Headed by Leen Weijers, formerly Manager of Technical Development at Pinnacle Technologies, Inc., the project ran from August 1, 2004 to July 31, 2006 in two one-year periods to address the following tasks and milestones: 1) Analyze stimulation results from the closest oil-field equivalents for EGS applications in the United States (e.g., the Barnett Shale in North Texas) (section 3 on page 8). Pinnacle Technologies, Inc. has collected fracture growth data from thousands of stimulations (section 3.1 on page 12). This data was further evaluated in the context of: a) Identifying techniques best suited to developing a stimulated EGS fracture network (section 3.2 on page 29), and b) quantifying the growth of the network under various conditions to develop a calibrated model for fracture network growth (section 3.3 on page 30). The developed model can be used to design optimized EGS fracture networks that maximize contact with the heat source and minimize short-circuiting (section 3.4 on page 38). 2) Evaluate methods used in oil field applications to improve fluid diversion and penetration and determine their applicability to EGS (section 4 on page 50). These methods include, but are not limited to: a) Stimulation strategies (propped fracturing versus water fracturing versus injecting fluid below fracturing gradients) (section 4.1 on page 50); b) zonal isolation methods (by use of perforated casing or packers) (section 4.2 on page 57); c) fracture re-orientation and fracture network growth techniques (e.g., by use of alternating high- and low-rate injections) (section 4.4 on page 74); and d) fluid diversion methods (by use of the SurgiFrac technique, the StimGun perforation technique, or stress shadowing). This project task is to be completed in the first project year, enabling the most promising techniques to be field tested and evaluated in the second project year. 3) Study the applicability of the methods listed above by utilizing several techniques (section 5 on page 75) including, but not limited to: a) Hydraulic Impedance Testing (HIT) to determine the location of open hydraulic fractures along a open-hole interval; b) pressure transient testing to determine reservoir permeability, pore pressure, and closure stress; and c) treatment well tilt mapping or microseismic mapping to evaluate fracture coverage. These techniques were reviewed for their potential application for EGS in the first project year (section 5.1 on page 75). This study also includes further analysis of any field testing that will be conducted in the Desert Peak area in Nevada for ORMAT Nevada, Inc. (section 5.2 on page 86), with the aim to close the loop to provide reliable calibrated fracture model results. Developed through its hydraulic fracture consulting business, techniques of Pinnacle Technologies, Inc. for stimulating and analyzing fracture growth have helped the oil and gas industry to improve hydraulic fracturing from both a technical and economic perspective. In addition to more than 30 years of experience in the development of geothermal energy for commercial power generation throughout the world, GeothermEx, Inc. brings to the project: 1) Detailed information about specific developed and potential EGS reservoirs, 2) experience with geothermal well design, completion, and testing practices, and 3) a direct connection to the Desert Peak EGS project.

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  • Report No.: DOE/GO/14293
  • Grant Number: FG36-04GO14293
  • DOI: 10.2172/917776 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 917776
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc882707

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  • October 17, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 6:54 p.m.

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Dyke, Peter Van; Weijers, Leen; Robertson-Tait, Ann; Warpinski, Norm; Mayerhofer, Mike; Minner, Bill et al. Evaluation of Oil-Industry Stimulation Practices for Engineered Geothermal Systems, report, October 17, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882707/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.