Karl Farrow, Founder and CEO of CeraPhi Energy talks about the opportunity Geothermal presents as part of the energy mix and how the skill set of the Oil and Gas sector can be harnessed in this transition.
In these challenging and uncertain times: climate change, rising energy costs, financial instability and the uncertainty of the geopolitical landscape, the energy we use and the security around this has become ever more important. To meet Paris Agreement targets, global energy use must transition to cleaner and more sustainable sources.
Realistically, no one source of renewable energy can replace the current supply from fossil fuels – and it is a blend of all sources that will enable transition – but what we do know is geothermal energy is available 24/7 and provides direct heat.
Geothermal Energy is heat created from radioactive decay penetrating through the earth’s sub-surface. Yet, despite the staggering amount of Geothermal Energy contained within the earth’s sub-surface, only 16 GWE is globally being commercially produced from this source.
There are two strands to Energy Transition:
- The movement of energy resourcing from non-renewable to renewable solutions
- The repurposing of oil and gas wells for geothermal and the utilisation of an already highly skilled Oil and Gas work force.
There are currently an estimated >20 million oil and gas wells across the world. Many of these are end of life and non-producing and the expertise and services from the Oil and Gas sector can access it easily.
Couple this with the existence of an already skilled work force and the Geothermal Energy industry has a readymade, hugely skilled work base that already uses much of the technology and work practices to seamlessly transition.
A huge challenge for the Geothermal Energy industry is perception. We need to consider Geothermal drilling in the same way as Oil and Gas, with a baseload replacement for heat that can be monetized at a bottom line of double digits.
Wider political and funding support is needed and – as a founder member of the Geothermal Energy Advancement Association (GEAA) – we are making significant headway accelerating the development of Geothermal solutions.
The opportunities for Geothermal Energy as a viable, clean and secure part of the energy mix are considerable. The resources are there in the millions of unused oil and gas wells. The skill set of Oil and Gas professionals is there and we are well advanced in development and utilisation of technology. CeraPhiWell™ recovers commercially useable heat from the sub surface, circulating proprietary working fluids, moving the heat to the surface and then processing this into direct heat or power.
We are already operational on projects across the globe – earlier this year we appointed Petrofac to support us on a ‘first of its kind’ study that will evaluate whether oil and gas wells in the North Sea can be repurposed for geothermal energy – and we continue to advocate Geothermal Energy as the cleanest, cheapest and most efficient 24/7 baseload energy.