WorldWide Drilling Resource®

Does Gas and Oil Technology Hold the Key? Adapted from Information by Bob Metcalfe & Jamie Beard, The University of Texas at Austin When it comes to meeting the country’s energy needs, the answer may literally be right under our feet. Geothermal energy has the potential to provide clean, sustainable power, but first, we need to conduct research and development on the most efficient way to access deep geothermal resources. The idea of using heat from our planet’s core isn’t exactly a new concept. In this country, geothermal energy has been used for decades, other countries for centuries. One of the biggest issues is, developing geo- thermal resources has been limited to places where the planet’s heat is naturally close to the surface. Places such as Iceland, however, that does not have to be the case. Drilling complex, very hot and deep wells is what the gas and oil industry does best. If we were to use the high-temperature and pressure technologies the gas and oil industry has developed during the past century, and focus our attention on improving those tech- nologies, we could potentially drill for geothermal energy anywhere in the world. For those who doubt the likelihood of the gas and oil industry to change course and adopt new methodologies, consider this, the United States is the top producer of gas and oil in the world - a concept that would have been considered absurd a decade ago. The reason for the shift? A burst of technology innovation; something the geothermal industry is definitely capable of. Texas seems like it would be a natural epicenter for this effort with its mass of intel- lectual capital, expertise, and experience in all things drilling, from directional drilling tech- nologies, to subsurface engineering. What’s needed is targeted investment in technology development and strong investor engagement. We need to build a culture where technol- ogy investors are actively looking for emerging geothermal startups. We will also need a political culture of bipartisanship. This is perhaps the most elegant and naturally unifying energy solu- tion available, and it will need the support of policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make it happen, but that’s not all. Gas and oil companies will need to cooperate with environmentalists, while quantum physicists will need to work with directional drilling operators. The faster we convene and engage around this idea, the sooner our country can unlock the future of clean energy. Let’s drill for heat along with oil and solve our energy dilemma once and for all. 15 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® JULY 2020 GEO WWDR photo. (270) 786-3010