There are almost 2,000 active oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 60% of these facilities greater than 25 years old. More than 7,000 platforms have been historically installed with decommissioning and removal statistics showing about 200 platform removals per year over time.
Associated with these developments, more than 52,000 wells have been drilled. In 2010 it was estimated that there were more than 27,000 suspended wells physically remaining. Most wells have been drilled in shallow and medium water depths, but almost 4,000 wells have been drilled in deepwater where the majority of active production comes from today.
That means there are thousands of end of life, suspended oil or gas wells available in shallow and medium water depths able to be considered for repurposing to potentially produce clean, renewable geothermal energy.
Using some of these assets for environmentally sustainable energy could postpone abandonment expenditures for decades and create clean energy value today.
A particularly interesting Geothermal area is where deep geopressured Tertiary sands are located along the Texas Gulf Coast, both onshore and nearshore. These geopressured sands have an increased geothermal gradient and are confined by shale beds which facilitated the high pressures and temperatures above 300°F (149°C) – a “geothermal fairway”. Dissolved methane is also possible in these aquifers.