Geothermal Study Examines Repurposing Offshore Oil Wells

Geothermal Study Examines Repurposing Offshore Oil Wells
The 'first of its kind' geothermal study will examine the repurposing of offshore oil and gas wells.

Geothermal delivery specialist CeraPhi Energy has announced that it has been awarded funds to undertake a “pioneering” decarbonization study.

The “first of its kind” geothermal study will examine the repurposing of offshore oil and gas wells using the company’s proprietary advanced closed loop system, CeraPhi outlined. The study will cover the initial phase of a staged process to determine how retrofitted wells can reduce the carbon footprint of an operating platform, CeraPhi noted.

The company highlighted that the project is being led by its subsurface engineering team, in collaboration with topside engineering services company Petrofac. The study will use EnQuest’s Magnus Platform as the base case, where Petrofac is also operations and maintenance contractor, CeraPhi stated.

CeraPhi’s closed loop technology is designed to fit into old wells to extract heat from deep underground by a downhole heat exchanger, the company outlined. Depending on the operating temperatures established in the study, the heat produced could be used as direct power and/or heating or cooling for utilities and other services reducing the overall carbon emissions of the facility, according to CeraPhi.

“This award is a statement to how the oil and gas industry is transitioning in the decarbonization of the oil and gas extraction process,” Karl Farrow, CeraPhi’s founder and CEO, said in a company statement.

“If we can use old non-productive wells to produce clean baseload energy, why can’t we make those same wells produce carbon free energy when they are drilled, reducing the carbon footprint during the oil and gas extraction process and ensuring the maximum use of these assets through a complete energy transition over decades,” he added in the statement.

Craig Nicol, project manager at the Net Zero Technology Centre, said, “we are delighted to be supporting CeraPhi with this ground-breaking project that if proven could become a serious contributor to the renewable energy mix”. 

“The industry is facing a significant challenge to decommission wells that have come to the end of their production, this novel approach has the potential to extend their life whilst delivering on our net zero targets,” Nicol added.

Jonathan Carpenter, the vice president, of Petrofac New Energy Services, said, “our engineering specialists are looking forward to working with CeraPhi on this pioneering study, which has the potential to unlock a completely new way of generating renewable power using existing oil and gas infrastructure”.

“It could be a game-changer in our efforts to decarbonize the oil and gas production process and has wider applicability for clean base load power as well,” Carpenter added.

In a statement posted on CeraPhi’s website in April, Farrow claimed that the UK can use geothermal energy to reduce its energy reliance on Russia in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

“Europe has become a slave to Russia from an energy point of view. Every country should have a right to be energy, food, and water independent and I think every country can be,” Farrow said in a company statement at the time.

“Deep geothermal is available everywhere, it’s basically heat escaping from out of the ground from earth’s big battery. We’re sitting on 6,000 degrees of temperature from the center of the earth trying to radiate out,” he added in the statement.

CeraPhi was founded by a team of oil and gas experts just over 18 months ago. The company has bases in London, Great Yarmouth, Cornwall and Houston, its site highlights.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com



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