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2:10-2:30 pm - Forum 7

From Gas to Geothermal to Next Generation Geothermal Well an Overview from The Netherlands

van Og, Geertjan; Harskamp, Bob

Well Engineering Partners

The Netherlands is a densely populated country known for its flat countryside of which a large part is located below sea-level. The geological formations are formed by alternating sea, river, desert and wind deposits over millions of years what resulted in an abundance of hydrocarbons in the subsoil and over 5000 drilled oil and gas wells. Until recently, gas has been for decades the standard heat source for houses and industry. Now, geothermal energy is considered a logical part of the energy transition in The Netherlands thanks to the available knowledge of drilling and the subsurface.

The Netherlands is also a global player in growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouses. Greenhouses are high tech production facilities that increase the harvest yield and reduce the usage of water and energy. Greenhouses accounted for about 5% of the gas consumption in The Netherlands to be able to grow vegetables all year long. Low enthalpy geothermal energy is increasingly used in The Netherlands by greenhouse owners and as early adopters they seem more prone to innovate than conventional oil & gas operators.

A number of structural differences inherent to the geothermal industry cause drilling to be less efficient compared to the drilling for oil and gas hence the reduction of cost per produced MWth is crucial. Drilling wells capable of producing larger flowrates seems a logical solution, but this also introduced more risks and associated cost. Currently, over 135km of geothermal wells have been drilled in The Netherlands hence sufficient information data is available to review. An analysis of encountered problems, solutions and innovations in the different geothermal regions will be presented.

The impact of using a drilling campaign (portfolio based) approach as executed in 2018 by Well Engineering Partners for a major greenhouse consortium in The Netherlands will be presented. Drilling campaigns are a common practice for oil and gas operators to reduce cost by optimising the drilling team’s performance. In this geothermal case, the project has been completed approximately 1 million Euro per well under budget with zero incidents. A reduction in drilling cost and smooth operations are a pre-requisite to enable further improvements and innovations.

Besides the described analysis, opportunities to reduce cost & risk and need to innovation will be presented which are required to define the next generation greenhouse geothermal wells and drilling practice. The learnings from these early adaptors are essential to use geothermal heat for city heating in the Netherlands. Outside the Netherlands, the proven combination of geothermal energy and greenhouses may bring value as a highly efficient, local, controlled and sustainable food production facility.

Presentation (PDF)

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