The Department of Energy (DOE) has selected three companies to help overcome problems that can limit the effectiveness of underground reservoirs that store natural gas. These reservoirs house millions of cubic feet of natural gas near customers who rely on the fuel to heat their homes during winter months.
More than 17,000 existing underground storage wells lose, on average, 5.2% of their ability to inject and withdraw gas every year. There is great potential for restoring the capacity of existing
wells not being treated, and for reducing the costs of maintaining natural gas deliverability by lowering the number of additional wells that must often be drilled to replace damaged wells.
Once contracts are negotiated and signed, each of the three projects will be conducted in two phases. The first would identify conditions in underground reservoirs and injection/withdrawal
wells that decrease a storage reservoir's capability to deliver gas into the surface pipeline distribution system. Successful Phase 1 projects would move into Phase 2 - the demonstration of
practical and inexpensive techniques that reduce damage to underground storage wells.
Damage is typically caused by 1) inorganic precipitates (i.e., gypsum, calcium carbonate minerals), 2) hydrocarbons, organic residues and production chemicals, 3) bacteria fouling and plugging, and 4.) particulate fouling and plugging.
The three companies are:
- Advanced Resources International Inc., Arlington, Virginia, will use carbon dioxide to displace hydrocarbons, organic residues and production chemicals that damage underground natural gas wells. Phase 1 will gauge the effectiveness of CO2-based fluids in remediating this damage to form a general treatment technique. Field data and specimens of the reservoir impurities will be obtained from gas storage reservoirs in Nebraska, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In Phase 2, a remediation treatment will be designed
and tested at each well. Proposed DOE award for both phases: $399,480. Contact: Lawrence J. Pekot, (703) 528-8420
- Holditch-Reservoir Technologies, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will demonstrate in Phase 1 diagnostic methods that determine the type of damage a well is exposed to and show
techniques addressing the damage in the laboratory and in gas storage wells. Geologic and geochemical environments in three areas will be tested: Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. At least two wells at each site will be remediated during Phase 2. Proposed DOE award for both phases: $400,259. Contact: Joseph H. Frantz, Jr. (412)
- Furness-Newburge Inc., Versailles, Kentucky, will develop a tool that tests the effectiveness of remediating scale and inorganic precipitates in the laboratory using sonication and high-pressure hydraulics, high-watt density ultrasonics and high-intensity electrohydraulic cavitation/shock-wave cleaning. A prototype power supply will be developed and tested in the laboratory during Phase 1. It will eventually be tested at the pilot-scale stage in an industry observation well. A modified tool will be further tested at two or more sites during Phase 2, which includes evaluating the technology and conducting a market survey to determine its commercial
potential. Proposed DOE award for both phases: $441,429. Contact: James C. Furness, Jr. (606) 873-0328
The Federal Energy Technology Center in Morgantown, WV, and Pittsburgh, PA, will manage the projects. The Center, one of DOE's field organizations, manages and implements a broad spectrum of energy and environmental programs. It is the chief research arm of the Energy Department's Fossil Energy research program.
- End of TechLine -
For more information, contact:
Otis Mills, Jr., DOE Federal Energy Technology Center, 412/386-5890, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Sames, DOE Federal Energy Technology Center, 412/386-5067, e-mail