Optimization of Energy Recovery from Geothermal Reservoirs Undergoing Re-Injection: Conceptual Application in Saudi Arabia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

29 Scopus citations


The tectonic setting of Saudi Arabia enriches the country with significant geothermal resources, such as those in Al-Lith and Jizan in the southwestern area. Recently, there has been interest to explore the geothermal potential to diversify the country's energy-mix, which is driven by the Kingdom's Vision 2030. One key challenge in geothermal systems is in their low efficiency compared to traditional hydrocarbon-fired plants. This inefficiency is related to the thermal flow behavior in the subsurface and to the energy conversion technology at the surface. In this study, we provide a workflow for feasibility assessment of geothermal reservoir development with potential application in Saudi Arabia. The proposed workflow is within the Design of Experiment (DoE) framework, which allows conducting numerous simulations with low computational cost. Computations are performed using a proxy modeling approach, which reflects a multidimensional response-surface emerging from the optimization problem. Two steps in the workflow were found to be critical. First, identify and select the most significant uncertainty parameters to focus the design. Second, address the nonlinearity of the problem by filling up any potential gaps within the response space. In this work, two-level folded Plackett-Burman design is used to identify and select the most significant parameters relative to the energy recovery and enthalpy production factors. Three-level Taguchi design is then applied to create a more rigorous proxy model. We used a space-filling technique to address lack of sampling and nonlinearity in the response surface. Monte Carlo simulations are performed, at the final stage, to generate probabilistic forecasts under uncertainties. The energy recovery factor and the enthalpy production behavior are found to be influenced by the volume of the reservoir, rock permeability and porosity, heterogeneity, well spacing, and fluid production rate. Our Monte Carlo simulations show that, at the Jizan's geothermal conditions, the energy recovery factor is within 12% to 24%, which is encouraging as they are above the typical recovery factor of 10%-17% worldwide.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)
ISBN (Print)9781613996393
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


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