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‚ÄčIntegrated sustainability assessment of repurposing onshore abandoned wells for geothermal power generation.

30 January 2024

Dr. Jingyi Li, Dr. Alejandro Gallego-Schmid, and Dr. Laurence Stamford recently published a study in the journal 'Applied Energy'. This study presents an integrated techno-sustainability assessment of repurposing abandoned oil and gas wells (AOGWs) for geothermal power generation.

This study utilises two multi-criteria decision analysis methods to evaluate the technical, environmental, economic, and social dimensions of three variations of repurposed systems: i) two completely AOGWs; ii) a single completely AOGW; and iii) semi-AOGWs (i.e., wells still operational but with a high water-cut), alongside a benchmark business-as-usual geothermal power plant (GEObau). In total, 30 criteria were assessed. The findings indicate that semi-AOGWs demonstrate the most promising techno-sustainability potential, closely followed by GEObau, which exhibits remarkable technical proficiency. The study highlights challenges associated with semi-AOGWs, especially their limited power generation capacity. Consequently, technological optimisation and broader stakeholder involvement are required for the widespread deployment of repurposed systems.

This study provides a transformative avenue for oil and gas industries and paved the way towards a sustainable energy future via utilising geothermal energy.

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