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Policy Roadmap for Hiring the OIl/Gas Sector to Develop Global Enhanced Geothermal Energy ======= The study aims to identify and communicate environmental and economic information that would allow oil and gas companies to lead the way in developing enhanced geothermal energy to transform the electricity and transportation sectors. The study aims to identify ways to make it easy for these companies to transform themselves into geothermal energy companies. There are a few difficulties with enhanced geothermal energy. First, if a well is sited directly on a fault, induced seismicity from geothermal reservoir development can cause major earthquakes, and the well and site need to be abandoned. Second, equipment for drilling may run hotter than typical oil or gas exploration as the aim of geothermal is to develop reservoirs where temperature and heat flow are highest, whereas with oil and gas, temperatures are lower, and the target rock formations are generally softer. Third, cost is ultimately low (projected to about 6 cents per kWh) but the pathway there is uncertain. Among the additional steps in this project includes work to identify the datasets and information that will be useful for the transition from oil to hydrogen for transport. Just so, profit is also on the cutting edge of socio-environmental issues, and can directly influence policy and organizational behavior. Background ======= Short-term profit guides internal policies for the oil and gas industry in much of the world. Additional working capital can be fed back for increased profitability thereby incentivising short-term goals (Shah et al., 2005). This focus on profitability arguably provides a clear and previously unexplored path to large-scale decarbonation in response to the climate emergency. The timing and scale of climate change mitigation and adaptation are important. See for example the IPCC 1.5°C Special Report for a discussion on the urgency of action (IPCC, 2018). More than 80% of global 2018 energy consumption is still fossil fuels, split between approximately 50% in oil and gas and 30% in coal (Enerdata, 2019). Annual energy consumption in 2018 grew by 2.3%, and 70% of that growth was in fossil fuels (IEA, 2019). Decoupling economic growth from fossil fuel consumption is an existential challenge, and is particularly difficult for developing economies (Shuai et al., 2019). The oil and gas industries share many of the same technologies and knowledge with the geothermal industry: both use geophysical techniques to model geologic features at depth, and employ a similar infrastructure for drilling wells and developing reservoirs. Accurate quantification of transition costs will assist both industry and government in promoting change rapidly. Generally, there are three sectors in oil and gas industries: (1) The upstream segment searches for and develops oil and gas resources; (2) the midstream segment transports resources, e.g. via pipelines; and (3) the downstream segment refines and distributes the product to consumers, whether public, military or private. Transition to hydrogen for transportation via geothermal energy will be particularly focused on the upstream segment, but accounting must be made for the entire stream. In addition, there are technical considerations specific to geothermal energy that need to be explored. An MIT study modeled more than 500 million TWh of available geothermal energy (Kubik, 2006), enough for several millennia of supply, and this makes use of what is termed *enhanced* geothermal energy production. In *hot dry rock* geothermal energy, local groundwater resources are not needed. The heat exchange fluid, whether water or CO2, travels in an enclosed loop. Enhanced geothermal uses hydraulic fracture (fracking) to develop the geothermal reservoir. The first well is drilled and fracked, and the second well is drilled based on the direction of the major fractures in the first. During operation, water picks up heat while flowing from one well to the other under pressure. Such wells are not limited to areas with high heat flux near the surface. The drilling technology is not precisely the same for oil, gas and geothermal. Oil and gas reservoirs are traditionally shallow, where porosity and fluid flow are high and heat flow is low. Currently, deep and ultra-deep wells are increasingly being drilled by oil and gas industries (Jinshuang et al., 2017), and these operate at similar depths and conditions as enhanced geothermal. Reservoir development in oil and gas exploration likewise includes hydraulic fracturing. For geothermal energy, reservoir production can involve a similar process (but without solvents) to create fractures in the rock. These fractures create a network of fluid channels which comprise the geothermal reservoir. This reservoir heats the fluid as it transits after being pumped down. Geothermal systems have been extant for several decades, but enhanced geothermal has only recently been developed for large capacity (Olasolo, 2016). Many of these systems have suffered failures due to siting wells directly on faults. The technological development and experimentation are ongoing. Moreover, the legal structure for ownership of geothermal resources is not well-developed. Geothermal energy has typically relied on *in situ* water resources, and has in some jurisdictions been protected as water rights. In other places, it is deemed a mineral resource, and ownership falls under that category. Providing guidance for the development of the legal framework globally to protect geothermal rights will facilitate investment. The seed idea for this project germinated on social media as discussion to counter nuclear power advocates. It is a common assertion that nuclear energy is essential to decarbonizing the economy, to provide baseload energy to supplement the intermittency of solar and wind energy. Conventional geothermal power plants operate at 90% of their full capacity typically and are not intermittent. Thus enhanced geothermal power is reasonably able to take the place of other baseload energy sources like nuclear or hydroelectric that have been proposed to replace fossil fuels. Storage modalities for wind and solar such as underground pumped hydroelectric are also viable. It is not clear how the transition to hydrogen fuel for transportation will take place. The scale of the demand for hydrogen for transportation is very large, and there is a symmetry to oil and gas companies leading in enhanced geothermal that will be used to transform the transportation sector to hydrogen. For a discussion of nuclear weapons proliferation arising from nuclear power's spread to developing countries see Goldemberg (2009). Oil and gas companies leading the change in global energy production via enhanced geothermal can be a key component of a rapid and safe transition to decarbonize the economy, bypassing the existential risk that nuclear power implies. Facilitating this transition is a moral good. Research Methods ---------------- There are three separate foci to this work. All three of these make heavy use of existing data to generate models for future use by industry and government. In the first focus, *financial considerations*, economic data will be combined with case study to make investment in geothermal research a clear path with examples for use. Identifying a range of financial incentives and policies to reduce risk will be included in this work. In the second focus, *technical information*, the work will include both a strong literature review and theoretical considerations and models that will be helpful in leading others to understand where to put their scientific resources to develop enhanced geothermal energy more effectively and to minimize risk. In the third focus, *cultural information*, a treatment of the organizational culture present in the oil and gas industries will be presented based on extant data, and a model and new data will be generated via reviewing similar corporate transitions historically. This will also involve active engagement via narrative that can help future users in industry or government take up recommendations herein in a manner that builds consensus. The underlying methodological framework in all three foci is an adaptive action research platform (Brown & Tandon, 1983). Choices will be made with the understanding that the work will influence the opinions of participants and those who hear about the project. Since there is a strong push towards influencing future actions, extreme care will be taken to maintain a very high level of professionalism in presenting data clearly and without bias. The work itself is meant to be transformative, and clarity will assist in this process. Expected Outcomes ----------------- This work is essentially novel. Expected outcomes include significant peer-reviewed journal articles comprising a larger economic study on how to develop investment in geothermal energy for hydrogen by the oil and gas industry, and participation in conferences and media to disseminate results. The three foci of the work (financial, technical, cultural) are also an ideal platform for transdisciplinary research collaboration. Collaboration and Funding ------------- If you are a potential collaborator, please contact the main author, Daniel Helman. Currently, there is no funding set up for the project. ---------- Bibliography Brown, L. D., & Tandon, R. (1983). Ideology and political economy in inquiry: Action research and participatory research. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 19(3), 277-294. doi:10.1177/002188638301900306 Enerdata, 2019. World Energy Consumption Statistics. Retrieved from Goldemberg, J. (2009). Nuclear energy in developing countries. Daedalus, 138(4), 71-80. Retrieved from IEA, 2019. GECO 2019: Global Energy & CO2 Status Report. Retrieved from IPCC, 2018. Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, H. O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J. B. R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M. I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, T. Waterfield (eds.)] Jinshuang, Z., Xinming, N., & Jincheng, Z. (2017). Progress in the Ultra-deep Well Drilling Technology of SINOPEC. 中国油气, 23(4), 14-20. doi:10.1016/j.eng.2019.01.012 Kubik, M. (2006). The future of geothermal energy. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States). doi:10.2172/1220063 Olasolo, P., Juárez, M. C., Morales, M. P., & Liarte, I. A. (2016). Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS): A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 56, 133-144. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2015.11.031 Shah, S. A., & Sana, A. (2005). Impact of working capital management on the pofitability of oil and gas sector of Pakistan. European Journal of Scientific Research, 15(3), 301-307. Retrieved from Shuai, C., Chen, X., Wu, Y., Zhang, Y., & Tan, Y. (2019). A three-step strategy for decoupling economic growth from carbon emission: empirical evidences from 133 countries. Science of The Total Environment, 646, 524-543. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.045