Use of controlled fractures in enhanced geothermal systems

Harun U. Rashid, Olufemi Olorode

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Abstract


Enhanced geothermal systems are typically tight and naturally fractured like unconventional oil and gas reservoirs, so the leading technology being evaluated for their commercial development is also multistage fractured horizontal wells. The state-of-the-art approach of thermal recovery from enhanced geothermal systems involves injecting cold water into a multiply fractured horizontal/deviated well and producing hot water from a parallel well above the injector. The limited control over the hydraulic fracture location, size, and orientation in multistage fractured horizontal wells results in low and unpredictable thermal recoveries. To this end, we present an alternative technology that employs unique configurations of mechanically cut fractures to recover heat efficiently from all parts of hot rocks in the subsurface. The precise control over these fractures’ location, size, orientation, and conductivity facilitates the design of suitable configurations of intersecting fractures. This paper presents high-resolution numerical studies of thermal recovery from both multistage fractured horizontal wells and the proposed approach. The results show that the proposed approach can recover significantly more thermal energy than multistage fractured horizontal wells. Additionally, the temperature profiles show that precise control over the location of the fractures allows the reliable and efficient recovery of heat from all parts of the enhanced geothermal systems, which could be the key to their commercial development.

Document Type: Original article

Cited as: Rashid, H. U., Olorode, O. Use of controlled fractures in enhanced geothermal systems. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2024, 12(1): 35-51. https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2024.04.04

 


Keywords


Enhanced geothermal systems technology, slot-drill fractures, fractured horizontal wells, coupled heat and fluid flow, explicit fracture model

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2024.04.04

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