Synergy potential for oil and geothermal energy exploitation

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A new solution for harvesting energy simultaneously from two different sources of energy by combining geothermal energy production and thermal enhanced heavy oil recovery is introduced. Numerical simulations are employed to evaluate the feasibility of generating energy from geothermal resources, both for thermally enhanced oil recovery from a heavy oil reservoir and for direct heating purposes. A single phase non-isothermal fluid flow modeling for geothermal doublet system and a two-phase non-isothermal fluid flow modelling for water flooding in an oil reservoir are utilised. Sensitivity and feasibility analyses of the synergy potential of thermally-enhanced oil recovery and geothermal energy production are performed. A series of simulations are carried out to examine the effects of reservoir properties on energy consumption and oil recovery for different injection rates and injection temperature. Our results show that total oil production strongly depends on the shape of heat plume which can be affected by porosity, permeability, injection temperature, well spacing and injection rate in the oil reservoir. The favourable oil recovery obtains at high amount of (a) injection rate, (b) injection temperature, (c) porosity and (d) low amount of oil reservoir permeability respectively. Furthermore, our study indicates the wellbore spacing plays an important role in oil recovery and an optimum wellbore spacing can be established. The analyses suggest that the extra amount of oil produced by utilising the geothermal energy could make the geothermal business case independent and may be a viable option to reduce the overall project cost. Furthermore, the results display that the enhance oil productions are able to reduce the required subsidy for a single doublet geothermal project up to 50%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433-1447
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • Energy production
  • Geothermal doublet
  • Heat plume
  • Net present value
  • Non-isothermal flow
  • Thermal enhanced heavy oil recovery


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