Decarbonization: Geothermal Study Launched to Repurpose Old North Sea Wells

May 24, 2022

Credit: NZTC
Credit: NZTC

Petrofac, an international service provider to the energy industry, will be supporting deep geothermal specialist CeraPhi Energy in what has been described as a first-of-a-kind geothermal study looking at the repurposing of oil and gas wells using CeraPhi’s technology.

The study, supported by the Net Zero Technology Centre in Aberdeen, will cover the initial phase of a staged process to determine how retrofitted wells can reduce the carbon footprint of an operating platform. 

The study will use EnQuest’s Magnus platform in the UK North Sea as the base case, for which Petrofac is also an operations and maintenance contractor.

Petrofac’s topside engineering team will collaborate with CeraPhi’s subsurface engineering team to incorporate CeraPhi’s advanced closed loop technology, CeraPhiWell, that is designed to fit into old wells to extract heat from deep underground by a downhole heat exchanger. 

Depending on the results of 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. 

Jonathan Carpenter, Vice President, 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.” 

Karl Farrow, CeraPhi, Founder and CEO, said: "This award is a statement to how the oil and gas industry is transitioning in the decarbonization of the oil and gas extraction process.

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.” 

Craig Nicol, Project Manager, NZTC, 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 decommissioning 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.”  



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