Geothermal

Patterson-UTI Invests in Geothermal Development Company

Criterion Energy Partners' immediate focus is to deliver direct heat and power to industrial customers in the Texas Gulf Coast region.

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A recent study coauthored by Criterion Energy Partners proposed a method of using abandoned oil or gas wells for injection and a new horizontal well for heat extraction in a hot sedimentary basin.
Source: Getty Images.

Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. today announced a strategic investment in Criterion Energy Partners Inc., a Houston-based geothermal energy development company founded last year. Criterion plans to use the proceeds to advance its first-of-a-kind project in Texas and further execute on its technology development roadmap.

The geothermal development company plans to combine existing technology and processes from the drilling of oil and gas wells with proprietary designs to create energy from subsurface heat. Criterion's immediate focus is to deliver direct heat and power to industrial customers in the Texas Gulf Coast region, positioning these customers to meet their energy demand and decarbonization goals.

Andy Hendricks, Patterson-UTI's CEO, said, "We are excited to invest in Criterion, whose innovative business model leverages proven horizontal drilling and completion technologies. We share a common view that geothermal will play an important role in the energy transition, and we look forward to working with Criterion to improve the economics and reliability of geothermal power."

“The technical capabilities of their super-spec rigs and other technical innovations are critical to driving down costs and delivering competitive economics of next-generation geothermal energy,” said Criterion’s cofounder and CEO Danny Rehg.

Criterion Energy Partners and its research partners at University of Oklahoma’s Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering at University of Oklahoma and GeoMark Research presented a technical white paper at Stanford University’s Geothermal Workshop last month, “Technical and Economic Evaluation of a Geothermal Field in a Sedimentary Basin on the Texas Gulf Coast.”

This study proposed a method of using abandoned oil or gas wells for injection and a new horizontal well for heat extraction in a hot sedimentary basin.

To assess the potential of the project, logs from existing wells in the area were used to build the reservoir model. Petrophysical properties combined with geothermal gradient data were used as input to determine potential new well locations. This enabled the evaluation of the impact of well positioning in the energy output of the project.

Water was used as the working fluid. The wells analyzed were located in the Texas Gulf Coast region, where at the target depth, temperatures of 150°C enable power production. The coauthors wrote that 6 MW could be generated using a wellbore depth of 4100 m with a flow rate of 110 liters/sec.

"The distance between injector and producer can affect the energy output. In this case, numerical simulation provided good support of the distance required to avoid the cold front from injector wells reaching the drainage area of the producer well.

"Abandoned oil and gas wells in hot sedimentary basins can facilitate access to geothermal energy, supporting the high capital costs that constrain the expansion of this renewable energy source. Economic projects are achievable using similar development methodology and present an attractive opportunity to realize a renewable energy source in a way that hasn’t been achieved previously," the coauthors concluded.

Criterion Energy Partners is an alum of the first class of the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator program.