Did you know… that the first wells were drilled over 2000 years ago?

Did you know that the first wells were drilled over 2000 years ago?

Drilling is an ancient technology and it has long been used to explore for natural resources and to produce fluids such as water, brine, oil and gas that occur underground. The Chinese drilled shallow wells over 2000 years ago to produce brine. The first oil wells were drilled in the 1800s and up through the early 1900s, wells were vertical and limited to depths of a few hundred to a couple of thousand feet. By the 1970s, depth records were being broken starting with Bertha Rogers No. 1 which was drilled to over 31,000 feet (9.5 km) to explore for gas in the Anadarko basin, Oklahoma, USA. In 1979, the Kola Superdeep scientific well in Russia was drilled to over 40,000 feet (12.2 km), making it the deepest well in the world.  In 2009, the deepest oil well was completed to 35,000 feet (10.6 km) from the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The idea of drilling a slanted deviated well by directional drilling was realized in the 1930s. Today, the drilling of highly deviated wells is commonplace in the exploration and production of oil and gas reservoirs. The Chayvo oil field in Russia is the site of several record-breaking deviated wells that are drilled to depths of about 3,000 feet (0.9 km) with a long horizontal reach exceeding 40,000 feet, the longest of which is O-14. For comparison, geothermal wells are generally drilled to no more than 10,000 feet (3 km), and if deviated, they are done so at modest angles of less than 45°.

There are several reasons for drilling deviated wells such as increasing the section or length of well interval through rocks that are rich in oil (or gas). In some cases, there are obstacles (e.g., town or lake), which means the resource has to be accessed from the side rather than vertically from the surface. In other cases, there are logistical advantages to clustering a number of deviated wells on a single pad as is common in offshore oil platforms.

Figure shows the depth ranges of the deepest and longest wells in comparison to wells that are commonly drilled in geothermal production fields.

References

https://www.nationaldriller.com/drilling-history

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/sakhalin-1-sets-another-drilling-record

https://www.statista.com/statistics/479685/global-oil-wells-by-depth/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole

Utah FORGE announces 17 project selectees for negotiations for solicitation 2020-1

Utah FORGE Chooses 17 Selectees to Begin Negotiations:

  • University of Utah to award $46 M for research in Enhanced Geothermal System development
  • 17 selectees chosen to enter negotiations in 5 topic areas

SALT LAKE CITY, UT., Feb. 24, 2021 – The Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) at the University of Utah is pleased to announce it has chosen 17 project selectee applications for negotiations for the FORGE Solicitation 2020-1. The selectees could receive a combined total of up to $46 M over the next 3 years.

The topic areas and the selectees include:

Topic # and TitleFunding LevelAwardsAwardee
Topic 1: Devices suitable for sectional (zonal) isolation along both cased and open-hole wellbores under geothermal conditions$12 Million1 to 3Welltec; PetroQuip Energy Services; Colorado School of Mines
Topic 2: Estimation of stress parameters$3 Million1 to 3Battelle Memorial Institute
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
University of Oklahoma
Topic 3: Field-scale characterization of reservoir stimulation and evolution over time, including thermal, hydrological, mechanical, and chemical (THMC) effects$8 Million1 to 4Clemson University
Stanford University
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Rice University
Topic 4: Stimulation and configuration of the well(s) at Utah FORGE$12 Million1 to 3Fervo Energy Company
University of Texas at Austin
Topic 5: Integrated Laboratory and Modeling studies of the interactions among THMC processes$11 Million1 to 6Pennsylvania State University
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
US Geological Survey
University of Oklahoma
Purdue University

“There is enormous untapped potential for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to provide clean and reliable electricity generation throughout the United States,” said Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Science. “These investments in EGS research support President Biden’s mission to take on the climate crisis by pushing the frontiers of science and engineering and creating jobs in cutting-edge clean energy fields.”

Utah FORGE is a dedicated underground field laboratory sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office. It is working on developing, testing, and accelerating breakthroughs in EGS. Solicitation 2020-1 was the first formal call for research proposals on EGS technologies from the Utah FORGE Program. More information about Solicitation 2020-1 is available HERE.

“Utah FORGE looks forward to collaborating closely with the scientists and engineers of the project teams on technologies that will promote commercialization of this inexhaustible and non-polluting energy source,” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D. and Principal Investigator of the Project. “We were impressed with the caliber of all of the applicants who submitted proposals and anticipate additional solicitations in the future.”

To download the official press release follow this LINK

 

Drilling Progress of Well 56-32

Current Ongoing Progress Updates:

Well 56-32 is the fourth and deepest of a cluster of vertical seismic monitoring wells that are located near the toe of 16A(78)-32. The well is being drilled vertically to a total depth of approximately 9,000 feet about 1300 feet north of 58-32.

Well 56-32 will be fully cased (5 ½ inch) and used for deployment of seismic sensors during stimulation experiments. A Silixa DAS fiber optic cable 7500 feet long will be cemented along the outside the casing. During the drilling of 56-32, MSE (Mechanical Specific Energy) calculations and PDC bits will be used to optimize penetration rates as was successfully utilized in the drilling of 16A(78)-32. Below 7500 feet depth, mud hammer bits will be trialed and evaluated for drilling performance.

Update February 8:

Well spudded at 4am.

Update February 9:

Drilled to 380 ft depth.

Update February 10:

Drilled to 3,300 ft depth. The basement contact was crossed at 3,100 ft.

Update February 17:

Drilled to 5,840 ft depth.

Update February 21:

Well reached TD of 9,145 ft depth.

Utah FORGE Successfully Completes Drilling of First Deviated Deep Well

Drilling Completed!!!

Utah FORGE team has successfully completed drilling of its first highly deviated deep well. Drilling was completed 60 days ahead of schedule.

The upper part of the well was drilled vertically through approximately 4,700 feet of sediments before penetrating into high strength, crystalline granite. The well was deviated at a 65° angle from vertical after reaching a depth of 6000 ft. This angle was maintained for the remainder of the well’s trajectory. The well ultimately reached a true vertical depth of 8,559 feet, and a total measured depth of 10,987 feet. Preliminary measurements indicate temperatures at the “toe” of the well will exceed 442°F (228°C). Approximately 74 ft of core of the granitic and metamorphic rocks that will form the FORGE reservoir was also recovered.

“We are incredibly pleased with the success of the well” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D. and Principal Investigator of Utah FORGE. “It was drilled under complicated conditions and will serve as a prototype for similar wells around the world.”

With this well successfully completed, a series of tests can be run to facilitate the development of the EGS resource. Some of the tests will include determining the stress conditions through short-term injection experiments, during which microseismicity will be carefully monitored. Other tests will allow for the interpretation of the orientation and distribution of the existing and induced fractures in the granite, which will form the pathways for water to circulate and heat up in the newly created EGS reservoir. In the future, a sister well will be drilled to form the basis of an EGS.

About Utah FORGE: The Utah FORGE project is managed by the Energy & Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Funding for the project is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. The FORGE site is located near the town of Milford in Beaver County, Utah, on the western flank of the Mineral Mountains. Near term goals are aimed at perfecting drilling, stimulation, injection-production, and subsurface imaging technologies required to establish and sustain continuous fluid flow and energy transfer from an EGS reservoir.

Open Press Release HERE

Partner Spotlight – Itasca

Itasca Consulting Group Inc. is a global, employee-owned, engineering consulting and software firm, focusing on geomechanical and hydrogeological projects.

3DEC model of a geothermal site showing shear displacements along existing fractures and synthetic (predicted) microseismicity.

 

Led by Principal Engineer Dr. Branko Damjanac, the team brings deep experience in solving complex problems in mining, civil, energy, and materials engineering and is excited to be collaborating with Utah FORGE.

Itasca's consultants solve complex problems in mining, civil, energy, and materials engineering. The company combines practical engineering and field experience with expert knowledge of advanced numerical simulation and analysis. Itasca’s software (3DEC, FLAC, FLAC3D, Griddle, MINEDW, PFC, UDEC, and XSite) are highly respected and widely used. For geothermal engineering, Itasca provides analysis using advanced numerical modeling tools for predicting the evolution of fractures, thermal and stress changes, and induced microseismicity.

Itasca combines practical engineering and field experience with expert knowledge of advanced numerical simulation and analysis.

  • Full-physics stimulation sensitivity numerical 2d and 3D modeling
  • Stimulation scenario development and evaluation
  • Stimulation plan preparation
  • Discrete stimulation numerical modeling
  • Production coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical numerical modeling
  • Experiment evaluation and verification

XSite model of fracture growth from five perforation clusters sequentially stimulated, showing stress interference between the fractures. The plot shows fracture apertures. The insert shows the histories of injection pressures during the simulation.

Utah FORGE and UofU’s Department of Communication partner up

In yet another example of inter-departmental collaboration, Utah FORGE, a geothermal energy research project, is delighted to be working closely with Dr. Sara K. Yeo in the University’s Department of Communication, within the College of Humanities.

The research being conducted by Utah FORGE near the town of Milford is focused on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technologies. The project is testing the tools and technologies to develop a geothermal resource where none exists naturally. If successful, these methods can be applied virtually anywhere in the world, providing a clean, inexhaustible energy source.

Harnessing the potential of geothermal energy could provide a great boost to the nation’s energy portfolio. Indeed, scientists suggest if we can tap just 2% of the energy found between 2 and 6 miles below the Earth’s surface, we would have more than 2000 times the energy used in the U.S. every year. It is literally the heat beneath our feet.

Public surveys indicate, however, that most people don’t know much about geothermal energy, and it’s seldomly included in discussions about renewable energy sources.  To better understand the current level of understanding and familiarity with geothermal energy, Utah FORGE is working with Dr. Yeo on a capstone course which includes surveying individuals about their awareness, knowledge, and opinions of geothermal energy.

“This is a unique opportunity for the students to put into practice the theories we discuss in class,” said Sara K. Yeo, Ph.D. and the professor conducting the capstone. “With the collaboration of the Utah FORGE team, the students developed the questions and determined the scope of the survey.”

“Our collaboration with Dr. Yeo is an exciting aspect of this project. It will provide us with a baseline from which we can judge the progress of our efforts to educate the public about geothermal energy and EGS,” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D., principal investigator of the project.

The 15-20-minute survey includes questions seeking to ascertain the public’s general understanding of geothermal energy and EGS. Responses are being obtained from 1000 individuals in 11 states across the western U.S. The capstone course will be repeated in the Fall Semester of 2021 to allow for a longitudinal data set to be created.

The Utah FORGE project is being managed by the Energy & Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Funding for the project is being provided by the US Department of Energy. It is one of the largest non-medical grants the University of Utah has ever received.

The University of Utah is no stranger to geothermal energy – it is purchasing 20 megawatts of geothermal electricity annually from Cyrq Energy, a geothermal developer actively working in Utah and Nevada.  Additionally, the Gardner Commons Building is entirely powered by that geothermal energy located just beneath our feet. With nearly half of its energy needs being met by renewable sources, the University of Utah is ranked eighth in the Green Power Partnership Top 30 College & University rankings.

 

December 22, 2020

Modeling and Simulation Forum #6 RECORDING

Utah FORGE Modeling & Simulation Forum #6


"Accessing Heat and Fluid Flow in Doublet Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS)"

Presented by: Pranay Asai (University of Utah) and Robert Podgorney (INL)

January 20 at 2 pm MDT - PLEASE NOTE THE TIME CHANGE

This presentation discussed the effect of well orientation and placement on the overall heat recovery from the EGS

This is the 6th forum of the series and is intended to have an open format to present modeling and simulation, both completed and planned, as well as activities being conducted by the Utah FORGE Team.

This webinar has been recorded and is now available for viewing.

To follow along with the slides, the pdf of the presentation is available for download HERE

 

Utah FORGE and the College of Education develop a new partnership

Inter-departmental cooperation has always been a hallmark of success for the University of Utah. The latest example of this cooperation is found in two seemingly disparate groups: Utah FORGE, a geothermal energy research project, and the College of Education.

Harnessing the potential of geothermal energy could provide a great boost to the nation’s energy portfolio. Indeed, scientists suggest if we can tap just 2% of the energy found between 2 and 6 miles below the Earth’s surface, we would have more than 2000 times the energy used in the U.S. every year. It is literally the heat beneath our feet. However, most people don’t know much about geothermal energy, and it’s rarely included in discussions about renewable energy sources.

Utah FORGE and the College of Education are working to change that. Building on the research Utah FORGE is conducting near Milford, in southwestern Utah, the College of Education is creating lesson plans which include geothermal energy as part of topic discussions around renewable energy.

“This is a unique opportunity for the Urban Institute for Teacher Education (UITE) in the College of Education,” said Mary D. Burbank, Assistant Dean and Director. “We consistently strive to advance the material taught in schools both in Utah and around the country. This collaboration with Utah FORGE allows us to introduce important new subject matter to students of all ages.”

Ph.D. candidate Tamara Young from the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Assistant Professor Lauren Barth-Cohen from the Department of Educational Psychology are working on the lesson plans. These plans are designed to incorporate the latest Utah science with engineering education (SEEd) standards and include hands-on and virtual heat conduction experiments, data interpretation segments, and group discussion activities. The plans are intended for K-12 students as part of the overall science curriculum.

“We are so excited to be collaborating with our colleagues at the College of Education. Their long record of innovation is an amazing resource for us to help build overall understanding about Utah FORGE and geothermal energy in general,” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D., Principal Investigator of the project.

The goal of Utah FORGE’s research is to test tools and technologies for the creation of a geothermal resource where none exists naturally. If successful, these methods can be applied virtually anywhere in the world, providing a clean, inexhaustible energy source.

The Utah FORGE project is being managed by the Energy & Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Funding for the project is being provided by the US Department of Energy. It is one of the largest non-medical grants the University of Utah has ever received.

The University of Utah is no stranger to geothermal energy – it is purchasing 20 megawatts of geothermal electricity annually from Cyrq Energy, a geothermal developer actively working in Utah and Nevada.  Additionally, the Gardner Commons Building is entirely powered by that geothermal energy located just beneath our feet. With nearly half of its energy needs being met by renewable sources, the University of Utah is ranked eighth in the Green Power Partnership Top 30 College & University rankings.

December 3, 2020

Drilling Progress of Well 16A(78)-32

Current Ongoing Progress Updates:

The Utah FORGE team has started drilling its first highly deviated deep well. Highly deviated wells are frequently drilled for oil and gas production, but not by the geothermal industry. The Utah FORGE team will be one of the first to tackle this challenge while drilling in hot, hard crystalline granite.

Well 16A(78)-32 is the first deviated well to be drilled and it will take the next 4 months. The well spudded early morning on October 30th.

UPDATE November 9

Drilling has proceeded smoothly and advanced to almost 5,000' depth. The basement contact was crossed on Saturday, October 7 at about 4600' depth as anticipated.

UPDATE November 19

Drilling is proceeding on schedule, though at a slower rate, now that we are going through the hard basement granitic rock. Currently we have paused at 5,500' (half way to the 11,000 ft planned) to run an 18hr temperature survey.

UPDATE November 25

Well 16A(32)-78 is currently partway through the build, at a measured depth of about 6300 ft.  We successfully ran a temperature survey, an image log (UBI) and collected approximately 56 ft of core. The static temperature recorded at a depth of 5,501 ft depth is close to 300°F. Drilling the first part of the curve proceeded at about 30 ft/hr.

UPDATE December 1

Reached 7, 320 ft MD and now drilling into the tangent section of the well. TVD at 7, 031 ft.

Drilling completed - READ MORE

Overview of the Utah FORGE site and the 16A(78)-32 drill pad.