Application of Material and Energy Balances to Geothermal Steam Production
- Robert L. Whiting (Texas A and M U.) | Henry J. Ramey Jr. (Stanford U.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1969
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 893 - 900
- 1969. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.6.9 Production Forecasting, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.9.2 Geothermal Resources
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The material-energy balance developed in this study has been used successfully to match performance and to forecast production for the Wairakei geothermal field of New Zealand. The equations should be applicable to other geothermal fluid reservoirs, provided the assumptions used are realistic.
The basic study from which this paper was prepared was started as the result of the growing need throughout the world for increasing quantities of energy in all forms. Quite obviously, natural forms of energy that are readily available at low development cost are those in greatest demand. The underdeveloped countries - and particularly those having little or no petroleum resources - are the countries in which the most interest is being shown in the newer energy sources. One of the least expensive energy sources is natural geothermal steam. Although this form of energy has been recognized for centuries, it has been only during the past 20 years that serious efforts have been made to harness it. Natural geothermal steam energy in Italy, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, and California is now being produced through wells to drive turbines and generate electricity. Further, active exploration for natural geothermal steam is being conducted in Hawaii, Fiji, Taiwan, Chile, Russia, Greece, and Katanga.
It is surprising to find that most geothermal steam exploration is in the "steam seep" stage. That is, surface studies are made and exploratory wells are drilled in the general area of steam seeps. However, in the larger geothermal steam areas, there have been efforts to apply the most modern geological and reservoir engineering principles in order to define the reservoir parameters, particularly those relating to estimates of reserves and future productivity. This paper is concerned with the development of appropriate equations and techniques to facilitate these estimates.
Production of natural steam or hot water presents problems different from those experienced in the production of oil and gas. For example, steam or hot water systems may be essentially single-component systems, while hydrocarbon systems are most frequently multicomponent fluid systems. Heat effects are much larger for water than for hydrocarbon systems; and the natural steam production may or may not be isothermal, while production of petroleum reservoirs is considered normally to be isothermal. Petroleum reservoir engineering principles may be applied to natural steam or hot water reservoirs if the inherent differences in the systems are considered. The basic considerations involved in geothermal steam reservoir engineering are: thermodynamics, physical and thermal properties of water, materials and energy balances, fluid influx, and performance matching and predicting.
Fig. 1 is a pressure-temperature diagram for the liquid-vapor region for pure water, showing the critical point and five other points representing possible initial conditions for a geothermal steam reservoir.
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