The Earth's geothermal resources are theoretically more than adequate to supply humanity's energy needs.

“The Norwegian oil and gas industry is well positioned to take part in the growing market for geothermal energy. It represents new business opportunities especially for companies with drilling competence and technology. We encourage NODE companies to participate in a geothermal workshop in Kristiansand on August 14”, says Marit Dolmen, RD&I Manager at GCE NODE.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the upper kilometers of the Earth’s crust holds heat energy that is 200 million times greater than the Earth’s annual energy consumption. The heat increases with increasing depth. In Norway the temperature typically rises by 17 to 20 degrees for every kilometer.

Geothermal energy is harvested when cold water is pumped into an injection well, and returned as heated water in a producing well. In deep wells, the water will surface in the form of steam that can be used in industrial processes or to generate power in steam turbines.

A 5 kilometer deep well is believed to have a lifecycle of around 30 years. By that time the ground will have cooled down. After another 20 to 30 years, the build-up of heat will be sufficient for the well to reopen.

For geothermal energy to be profitable, it is necessary to drill at a lower cost than offshore, and to penetrate rock formations that are harder than the ones found on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

“It may sound impossible to manage both at once. But we strongly believe that it is possible. However, we need continued research to figure out how”, says Alexandre Kane, Project Manager at SINTEF.

He is among the speakers at the Geothermal Workshop in Kristiansand on June 14. Other speakers include Carsten Sørlie of Statoil and Torgeir Segberg of National Oilwell Varco.

See the full program and sign up for the workshop