Master of Science (MS)


Geology and Geophysics

Document Type



Efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependence on fossil fuels have led to renewed focus on the exploration and development of alternative energy production. One such option is hydrothermal binary geothermal energy production from geothermal reservoirs with temperatures of at least 100 °C at depths no greater than 5 km. In the U.S., such systems have the potential to provide 5,400 % of 2013 total U.S. energy consumption. This study evaluates the potential for geothermal energy systems implementation in Morehouse and Union Parishes, Louisiana, by using publicly available bottom hole temperature (BHT), mud weight (MW), logged formation top depth, and produced brine chemistry data to characterize subsurface conditions. Based on 278 corrected BHT data from 231 wells, geothermal gradients in the study area were found to range from 17.02 to 49.79 °C/km, with an averaged linear geothermal gradient of 30.87 °C/km. West-central Morehouse Parish presents the highest geothermal gradients in the study area, averaging 41.01 °C/km, while Union Parish presents geothermal gradients averaging 31.64 °C/km. The onset of overpressure at approximately 2.82 km, based on 88 MW data, corresponds to the average depth of Upper Jurassic Cotton Valley sediments and is below the 2.42 km average depth to 100 °C. Results from this study indicate that there is potential for implementation of two types of hydrothermal binary geothermal energy production systems. Union Parish would be best considered for geothermal energy production from co-produced fluids, as it hosts wells placed in deeper, hotter hydrocarbon reservoirs that are currently in production and development. West-central Morehouse Parish would be best considered for enhanced geothermal systems development, as it presents the highest geothermal gradients.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dutrow, Barbara