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Title: Improved Microseismicity Detection During Newberry EGS Stimulations

Effective enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) require optimal fracture networks for efficient heat transfer between hot rock and fluid. Microseismic mapping is a key tool used to infer the subsurface fracture geometry. Traditional earthquake detection and location techniques are often employed to identify microearthquakes in geothermal regions. However, most commonly used algorithms may miss events if the seismic signal of an earthquake is small relative to the background noise level or if a microearthquake occurs within the coda of a larger event. Consequently, we have developed a set of algorithms that provide improved microearthquake detection. Our objective is to investigate the microseismicity at the DOE Newberry EGS site to better image the active regions of the underground fracture network during and immediately after the EGS stimulation. Detection of more microearthquakes during EGS stimulations will allow for better seismic delineation of the active regions of the underground fracture system. This improved knowledge of the reservoir network will improve our understanding of subsurface conditions, and allow improvement of the stimulation strategy that will optimize heat extraction and maximize economic return.
Authors:
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
249
DOE Contract Number:
FY13 AOP 25728
Product Type:
Dataset
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Collaborations:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Subject:
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; EGS; seismicity; microseismicity; stimulation; fracture; reservoir; earthquakes
OSTI Identifier:
1148810
  1. The Geothermal Data Repository (GDR) is the submission point for all data collected from researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office (DOE GTO). The DOE GTO is providing access to its geothermal project information through the GDR. The GDR is powered by OpenEI, an energy information portal sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
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  1. Effective enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) require optimal fracture networks for efficient heat transfer between hot rock and fluid. Microseismic mapping is a key tool used to infer the subsurface fracture geometry. Traditional earthquake detection and location techniques are often employed to identify microearthquakes in geothermalmore » regions. However, most commonly used algorithms may miss events if the seismic signal of an earthquake is small relative to the background noise level or if a microearthquake occurs within the coda of a larger event. Consequently, we have developed a set of algorithms that provide improved microearthquake detection. Our objective is to investigate the microseismicity at the DOE Newberry EGS site to better image the active regions of the underground fracture network during and immediately after the EGS stimulation. Detection of more microearthquakes during EGS stimulations will allow for better seismic delineation of the active regions of the underground fracture system. This improved knowledge of the reservoir network will improve our understanding of subsurface conditions, and allow improvement of the stimulation strategy that will optimize heat extraction and maximize economic return. « less
  2. The objective of this project is to detect and locate microearthquakes to aid in the characterization of reservoir fracture networks. Accurate identification and mapping of the large numbers of microearthquakes induced in EGS is one technique that provides diagnostic information when determining the location, orientationmore » and length of underground crack systems for use in reservoir development and management applications. Conventional earthquake location techniques often are employed to locate microearthquakes. However, these techniques require labor-intensive picking of individual seismic phase onsets across a network of sensors. For this project we adapt the Matched Field Processing (MFP) technique to the elastic propagation problem in geothermal reservoirs to identify more and smaller events than traditional methods alone. « less
  3. In enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) the reservoir permeability is often enhanced or created using hydraulic fracturing. In hydraulic fracturing, high fluid pressures are applied to confined zones in the subsurface usually using packers to fracture the host rock. This enhances rock permeability and therefore conductivemore » heat transfer to the circulating geothermal fluid (e.g. water or supercritical carbon dioxide). The ultimate goal is to increase or improve the thermal energy production from the subsurface by either optimal designs of injection and production wells or by altering the fracture permeability to create different zones of circulation that can be exploited in geothermal heat extraction. Moreover, hydraulic fracturing can lead to the creation of undesirable short-circuits or fast flow-paths between the injection and extraction wells leading to a short thermal residence time, low heat recovery, and thus a short-life of the EGS. A potential remedy to these problems is to deploy a cementing (blocking, diverting) agent to minimize short-cuts and/or create new circulation cells for heat extraction. A potential diverting agent is the colloidal silica by-product that can be co-produced from geothermal fluids. Silica gels are abundant in various surface and subsurface applications, yet they have not been evaluated for EGS applications. In this study we are investigating the benefits of silica gel deployment on thermal response of an EGS, either by blocking short-circuiting undesirable pathways as a result of diverting the geofluid to other fractures; or creating, within fractures, new circulation cells for harvesting heat through newly active surface area contact. A significant advantage of colloidal silica is that it can be co-produced from geothermal fluids using an inexpensive membrane-based separation technology that was developed previously using DOE-GTP funding. This co-produced silica has properties that potentially make it useful as a fluid diversion agent for subsurface applications. Colloidal silica solutions exist as low-viscosity fluids during their “induction period” but then undergo a rapid increase in viscosity (gelation) to form a solid gel. The length of the induction period can be manipulated by varying the properties of the solution, such as silica concentration and colloid size. We believe it is possible to produce colloidal silica gels suitable for use as diverting agents for blocking undesirable fast-paths which result in short-circuiting the EGS once hydraulic fracturing has been deployed. In addition, the gels could be used in conventional geothermal fields to increase overall energy recovery by modifying flow. « less
  4. The Newberry Volcano EGS Demonstration in central Oregon, a 5 year project begun in 2010, tests recent technological advances designed to reduce the cost of power generated by EGS in a hot, dry well (NWG 55-29) drilled in 2008. First, the stimulation pumps used weremore » designed to run for weeks and deliver large volumes of water at moderate well-head pressure. Second, to stimulate multiple zones, AltaRock developed thermo-degradable zonal isolation materials (TZIMs) to seal off fractures in a geothermal well to stimulate secondary and tertiary fracture zones. The TZIMs degrade within weeks, resulting in an optimized injection/ production profile of the entire well. Third, the project followed a project-specific Induced Seismicity Mitigation Plan (ISMP) to evaluate, monitor for, and mitigate felt induced seismicity. An initial stimulation was conducted in 2012 and continued for 7 weeks, with over 41,000 m3 of water injected. Further analysis indicated a shallow casing leak and an unstable formation in the open hole. The well was repaired with a shallow casing tieback and perforated liner in the open hole and re-stimulated in 2014. The second stimulation started September 23rd, 2014 and continued for 3 weeks with over 9,500 m3 of water injected. The well was treated with several batches of newly tested TZIM diverter materials and a newly designed Diverter Injection Vessel Assembly (DIVA), which was the main modification to the original injection system design used in 2012. A second round of stimulation that included two perforation shots and additional batches of TZIM was conducted on November 11th, 2014 for 9 days with an additional 4,000 m3 of water injected. The stimulations resulted in a 3-4 fold increase in injectivity, and PTS data indicates partial blocking and creation of flow zones near the bottom of the well. « less
  5. The Newberry Volcano EGS Demonstration in central Oregon, a 3 year project started in 2010, tests recent technological advances designed to reduce the cost of power generated by EGS in a hot, dry well (NWG 55-29) drilled in 2008. First, the stimulation pumps used weremore » designed to run for weeks and deliver large volumes of water at moderate well-head pressure. Second, to stimulate multiple zones, AltaRock developed thermo-degradable zonal isolation materials (TZIMs) to seal off fractures in a geothermal well to stimulate secondary and tertiary fracture zones. The TZIMs degrade within weeks, resulting in an optimized injection/ production profile of the entire well. Third, the project followed a project-specific Induced Seismicity Mitigation Plan (ISMP) to evaluate, monitor for, and mitigate felt induced seismicity. Stimulation started October 17, 2012 and continued for 7 weeks, with over 41,000 m3 of water injected. Two TZIM treatments successfully shifted the depth of stimulation. Injectivity, DTS, and seismic analysis indicate that fracture permeability in well NWG 55-29 was enhanced by two orders of magnitude. This submission includes all of the files and reports associated with the geophysical exploration, stimulation, and monitoring included in the scope of the project. « less