Techno-Economic Feasibility of Geothermal Energy Production Using Inactive Oil and Gas Wells for District Heating and Cooling Systems in Tuttle, Oklahoma: Article No. 118390

Hyunjun Oh, Sertac Akar, Koenraad Beckers, Eric Bonnema, Cesar Vivas, Saeed Salehi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oil and gas wells have been drilled in the United States and often encounter hot co-produced water possibly suitable for geothermal direct-use applications. This study evaluated geothermal resources, heating and cooling demand, and techno-economic potential of four oil and gas wells repurposed for geothermal energy production to serve two public schools and 250 nearby houses in Tuttle, Oklahoma, USA. Subsurface geology in the study area primarily consists of Permian to Mississippian sandstone and limestone formations approximately from 2 km to 3.5 km depth. With a geothermal gradient of 25.3 degrees C/km, the temperature of geothermal energy production was estimated as 68.2 degrees C at 2.1 km. The potential of calcite scaling within boreholes and pipes was minimal. Using the characterized reservoir properties, techno-economic analyses were conducted for evaluating levelized costs of geothermal energy production for direct-use heating and cooling and district heating systems with five different production scenarios. Heating and cooling demand in two schools and 250 houses and additional 0.3 MW and 0.6 MW base heating loads for potential geothermal direct-use applications in the study area were also incorporated in the modeling. Results indicated that the levelized cost of heating of geothermal district heating systems utilizing existing wells were significantly lower than those of conventional geothermal energy systems that include well drillings. The geothermal energy production with doublet and quartet configurations was generally sufficient to supply total annual heating demand in the district, while a peaking boiler was used to supply peak loads. Doublet configurations showed higher production temperature with a lower thermal drawdown than the quartet configurations. The doublet system at 2.1 km production depth with 9.3 kg/s flow rate represented the optimal levelized cost of $71/MWh and 91.2% utilization factor. These results imply that the Tuttle geothermal district heating system is techno-economically feasible and comparable to geothermal district heating systems in the United States and the regional natural gas rate for residentials by recycling inactive oil and gas wells with no drillings.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-87535


  • district heating and cooling
  • geothermal deep direct-use
  • geothermometer
  • LCOH
  • low-temperature geothermal
  • repurposing oil and gas wells
  • subsurface characterization
  • techno-economic analysis


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