Ogonna Obinwa

Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Petroleum Engineering

First Advisor

Kegang Ling


Geothermal energy is independent renewable energy extracted from deep and shallow subsurface to provide electricity and heat for many applications. At shallow depths of about 3000 feet (914 meters), temperatures as high as 70 degrees Celcius could be extracted and used for domestic and commercial heating systems. Deeper and hotter resources are usually available at depths greater than 10000 feet (3048 meters). The hotter the extracted fluid temperature, the better it is suited for electricity generation. New technologies such as binary cycle systems have made it possible to use moderately hot liquids for electricity generation. However, specific conditions must be in place for a geothermal reservoir's existence and economical heat extraction. This study investigates these conditions to help determine geothermal site selection in North Dakota. There are many oil and gas wells in North Dakota, mainly spread across the Williston Basin. Data from some of these wells were used to obtain valuable information for this research study. Some of the wells are in the abandoned status. The abandoned wells, in most situations, have lost their economic value for producing oil and gas. However, they could be good candidates to use geothermal resources. The geothermal energy system has faced many challenges since its inception. Some of the biggest challenges are the cost of extracting the energy for use and scalability. Since natural sources of great geothermal energy sources are geographically limited, an efficient method to determine site selection for geothermal extraction becomes imperative.