Potential for Harnessing the Heat from a Mature High-Pressure-High- Temperature Oil Field in Italy

Alimonti, C., Falcone, G. and Liu, X. (2014) Potential for Harnessing the Heat from a Mature High-Pressure-High- Temperature Oil Field in Italy. In: SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, ATCE 2014. Proceedings, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 27-29 Oct 2014, pp. 3763-3775. ISBN 9781634398879 (doi: 10.2118/170857-MS)

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Significant volumes of water are co-produced with oil and gas in mature hydrocarbon developments. Often, the produced fluids are at high temperatures, and cooling is therefore required. However, because of the large volumes involved, one might consider exploiting the co-produced water's geothermal potential in order to reduce both the field's OPEX and the fossil energy needed to continue extracting the hydrocarbons, and so extend the life of the field by delaying its economic cut-off point. Also, there is scope for eliminating the field abandonment costs for the oil and gas operator, who could hand over the field to a geothermal operator when hydrocarbon production became uneconomic; the geothermal operator would in turn save the initial cost of having to drill and complete wells and install surface facilities. This paper consists of a preliminary assessment of the potential for geothermal exploitation of the co-produced water from wells in the Villafortuna-Trecate oil field in Italy, which has an aquifer that not only provides pressure support to the reservoir, but also represents an in-situ hydrothermal resource, without the need for external water recirculation. The study compares three different implementation scenarios for the possible use of the co-produced hot water: direct use in district heating, electric power generation through an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) plant, and co-generation of heat and power. The results suggest that, for the power generation option, a single well draining a cylindrical reservoir drainage area could recover approximately 25 GWh of electric power over a 10 year period with an installed capacity of 500 kW. With the co-generation option, which appeared to be the most appealing, a lower net electrical power of 143 kW per well could be obtained, but at the same time approximately 46 utilities could be served by a 660 kW district heating plant per well. There remain potential permit and licensing issues associated to the concept of harnessing thermal energy from oil and gas developments, depending on the specific country and legal process. For example, it is often the case that the terms and conditions associated with a geothermal exploitation lease are quite different from a hydrocarbon lease.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Additional Information:Proceedings - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. Volume 5, 2014, pages 3763-3775.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Liu, Dr Xiaolei and Falcone, Professor Gioia
Authors: Alimonti, C., Falcone, G., and Liu, X.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy

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