02 Jun 2023

Transgeo Project Aims to Transform Abandoned Wells for Geothermal

02 Jun 2023  by thinkgeoenergy   

The participants of the kickoff meeting for the TRANSGEO project in Potsdam, Germany (source: GFZ Potsdam)
A project has been initiated that aims to investigate how abandoned wells and infrastructure from declining oil and gas production can be used for geothermal applications. The EU co-funded project TRANSGEO , involving 11 partners from 5 countries, started with its kick-off meeting in Potsdam, Germany on 4 May 2023.

The project is being coordinated by Hannes Hofmann, head of the Helmholtz Young Investigators Group “Advanced Reservoir Engineering Concepts (ARES) ” at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam and junior professor for reservoir engineering at the TU Berlin.

For a long time, large amounts of oil and gas were produced in Central Europe from thousands of deep wells that have been abandonned after decades of use or will be abandoned in the near future. The declining hydrocarbon industry thus leaves behind an extensive infrastructure and thousands of highly skilled workers, especially in rural areas facing enormous economic and social challenges.

These abandoned wells offer great potential for geothermal energy generation and heat storage and opportunities for regional value creation in communities and large industries. The potential reuse of boreholes can greatly reduce discovery risk for geothermal projects by reducing the initial investments related to drilling. However, this potential has remained largely untapped due to the technical, economic, and permitting uncertainties.

The TRANSGEO project aims to develop concepts and technologies to show ways for an effective repurposing of oil and gas infrastructure. The objectives of the project are to:

Develop a techno-economic validation system for multiple well repurposing methodologies, including a repurpose assessment tool, to provide feasible solutions for the regional energy transition.

Assess the potential, the demand, and feasibility of all proposed repurposing technologies in former hydrocarbon exploitation regions in Central Europe

Propose a policy, legal and support framework and specific actions that enables and advances the transition from fossil fuel producing regions to sustainable growth through geothermal energy use.

Similar initiatives are being undertaken around the world, such as the US DOE-funded project headed by Project InnerSpace and the work being done by CeraPhi Energy in the UK .



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