Permeability and mineralogy of the Újfalu Formation, Hungary, from production tests and experimental rock characterization: implications for geothermal heat projects

Willems, C. J.L. , Cheng, C., Watson, S. M., Minto, J., Williams, A., Walls, D., Milsch, H., Burnside, N. M. and Westaway, R. (2021) Permeability and mineralogy of the Újfalu Formation, Hungary, from production tests and experimental rock characterization: implications for geothermal heat projects. Energies, 14(14), 4332. (doi: 10.3390/en14144332)

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Abstract

Hundreds of geothermal wells have been drilled in Hungary to exploit Pannonian Basin sandstones for district heating, agriculture, and industrial heating projects. Most of these sites suffer from reinjection issues, limiting efficient use of this vast geothermal resource and imposing significant extra costs for the required frequent workovers and maintenance. To better understand the cause of this issue requires details of reservoir rock porosity, permeability, and mineralogy. However, publicly available data for the properties of reservoir rocks at geothermal project sites in Hungary is typically very limited, because these projects often omit or limit data acquisition. Many hydrocarbon wells in the same rocks are more extensively documented, but their core, log, or production data are typically decades old and unavailable in the public domain. Furthermore, because many Pannonian sandstone formations are poorly consolidated, coring was always limited and the collected core often unsuitable for conventional analysis, only small remnant fragments typically being available from legacy hydrocarbon wells. This study aims to reduce this data gap and to showcase methods to derive reservoir properties without using core for flow experiments. The methods are thin-section analysis, XRD analysis and mercury intrusion porosimetry, and X-CT scanning followed by numerical flow simulation. We validate our results using permeability data from conventional production testing, demonstrating the effectiveness of our method for detailed reservoir characterization and to better constrain the lateral variation in reservoir properties across the Pannonian Basin. By eliminating the need for expensive bespoke coring to obtain reservoir properties, such analysis will contribute to reducing the capital cost of developing geothermal energy projects, thus facilitating decarbonization of global energy supply.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Williams, Aislinn and Burnside, Dr Neil and Willems, Dr Cees and Walls, Mr David and Westaway, Dr Robert and Watson, Mr Sean
Creator Roles:
Willems, C. J.L.Validation, Data curation, Writing – original draft, Visualization
Watson, S. M.Formal analysis, Investigation
Williams, A.Formal analysis, Investigation
Walls, D.Formal analysis, Investigation
Burnside, N. M.Supervision, Project administration
Westaway, R.Validation, Writing – review and editing, Visualization, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition
Authors: Willems, C. J.L., Cheng, C., Watson, S. M., Minto, J., Williams, A., Walls, D., Milsch, H., Burnside, N. M., and Westaway, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Energies
Publisher:MDPI
ISSN:1996-1073
ISSN (Online):1996-1073
Published Online:18 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 by the authors.
First Published:First published in Energies 14(14):4332
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.1140

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172593DESTRESSNeil BurnsideEuropean Commission (EC)691728ENG - Systems Power & Energy