Impact of state and federal law on development of geothermal resources in Texas. Project L/R-9, final report
Description: The significant geothermal resource in Texas consists of enormous reservoirs of hot, geopressed water, which formed along the Gulf Coast when water-laden sediments were deposited between surrounding impermeable features, so that the water which would otherwise have been forced out of the sediments was unable to escape. These deposits exist under tremendous pressure created by the weight of the overburden. A geopressure source absorbs heat indirectly, because the geopressured deposits create an insulating barrier that traps and absorbs the thermal energy of the underlying magma. The water from a geopressure source will not be as hot as water from a dry steam or wet steam source, but the quantity available is enormous, and the water pressure itself would be an additional energy source along with the thermal energy. The water may be fresh, or nearly so, and it will contain significant amounts of recoverable methane gas in solution. It may be possible to utilize the water pressure, thermal energy, and the methane gas to generate electricity in small power plants at the recovery site, and the water that has been passed through the turbines and heat exchangers may be a valuable by-product in itself, depending on its quality and regional demands for agriculture and industry. One of the impediments to the development of this resource, given the very sizable commitments of capital entailed, is the uncertain legal status of geothermal resources. This report attempts to locate geothermal resources within the general framework of Texas property law and to determine whether these resources can be developed under the law as it now exists. (MCW)
Date: October 31, 1974
Creator: Edwards, T.
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