Geothermal energy has vast potential as a reliable energy source of the future. However, its development has mostly been tied to specific geological locations or igneous rocks. Even though most western US regions have high thermal gradients compared to other places, higher temperatures are easily achievable by increasing the total depth in sedimentary rocks. The oil and gas industry has successfully mastered drilling sedimentary basins cost-effectively. Comparing cost/ft from typical sedimentary basins to granite or igneous rocks shows a tremendous difference. In addition, recent hydraulic fracturing technology transfer from the oil and gas industry can be deployed for geothermal applications.
A potential new path toward expanded geothermal energy production is to use known porous and permeable reservoir rocks in appropriate sedimentary basins, where those formations have a sufficient temperature, thickness, porosity, and permeability, existing at depths that drilling time makes well construction costs economical for geothermal applications.
In this paper, we will examine the unique potentials that sedimentary basins in Oklahoma offer to the geothermal industry for different end-user purposes, such as electricity generation or direct heat applications. The state has high geothermal gradients in some regions in the Arkoma Anadarko Basins that could be used for medium-temperature resources. Case studies from Oklahoma show how the many oil and gas wells in the state can enable geothermal direct-use projects. A state-wide levelized cost of energy analysis using geothermal gradient data indicates that there are areas with the potential to produce geothermal power at 14 cents/kWh or less. Geothermal energy has the potential to play a crucial role in Oklahoma's energy supply by offering a clean and renewable source of power that can fulfill energy demands.