ABANDONED OIL/GAS WELLS AS SUSTAINABLE SOURCES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
A petroleum well that is not in use because it has ceased to produce oil/gas economically and dry holes are referred to as abandoned wells. Once a well is abandoned it is plugged with cement and can take anywhere from two days up to a week to cure depending on the number of plugs in the well. Since plugging a well costs capital, most wells are abandoned at the lowest possible cost and with the minimum obligations set by regulation agencies. These wells can present an enduring liability to petroleum companies. However, the depth and abundance of abandoned petroleum wells makes them an economically attractive source of geothermal energy. Geothermal energy harvested from an oil/gas well is a renewable energy source as long as it is extracted in a sustainable manner. The energy can be used to generate electricity, used directly for heating, incorporated into a water desalination process, or used by a heat pump for heating/cooling applications. In this paper we examine the possibility of extracting geothermal energy from abandoned oil/gas wells by studying the heat transfer in underground geothermal heat exchangers installed in these wells.
Temperature; Wells; Power; Geothermal; Petroleum; Heat; Tubes; heat exchangers; Fluids; Rocks;