Geothermal Energy Utilization Associated with Oil and Gas Development Conference (2009)


Written by:  Gillian McWhirt



Southern Methodist University’s nationally known Geothermal Laboratory hosted its fourth annual conference on Geothermal Energy Utilization Associated with Oil and Gas Development on November 3–4, 2009.  The international conference drew more than 200 guests from seven countries and three continents. Many of the attendees had recently been in Reno for the GRC meeting and found this conference a helpful follow-up for networking and concept understanding.


The conference was originally postponed from June until November because of the focus on DOE solicitations. Four of the projects selected for the DOE Recovery Act funding were represented at the SMU conference.  Will Gosnold, from University of North Dakota Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, and George Alcorn, of Universal GeoPower, gave presentations informing attendees about their winning projects.  Bruce Cutright, of UT Austin BEG, and Subir Sanyal, of GeothermEX gave presentations related to other DOE funded projects.  David Blackwell of the SMU Geothermal Lab was also a recipient of an award.  A DOE representative said, “We have invested in SMU and we are excited to see where it goes.”  To learn more about the projects, visit:


Attendees heard presentations given by 28 industry leaders from all sectors of the geothermal industry, covering a range of topics from resources, finance, legal, to technology, government and project development.  The emphasis is on how to develop the water volume of oil and gas wells and use this water to produce geothermal energy while keeping old wells from being abandoned.  The SMU geothermal conference provided an opportunity for attendees to become acquainted with new developments within the geothermal community, and allowed professionals and students to interact and discuss geothermal research and exploration opportunities.  Speakers gave 10 - 20-minute presentations followed by a question and answer period that enabled attendees to grasp new geothermal concepts and hear about technologies.


This fall, four new graduate students joined the SMU Geothermal Lab each having a variety of work experience and knowledge.  The conference was a great opportunity for them to acquaint themselves with industry leaders and become involved in the field. “This conference is unique because it brings people together from all career backgrounds and focuses them on one topic -- geothermal project development related to oil and gas fields,” said SMU geothermal doctoral student Patrick Stepp.


The SMU Geothermal Lab would like to thank everyone who participated in making the conference a big success and is looking forward the next one.



Conference Sponsors included:


Gold:     Pratt & Whitney Power Systems


Silver:   Chena Hot Springs Resort

             State Energy Conservation Office (SECO)

             SMU Huffington Department of Earth Sciences

             SMU Cox Executive Education


Bronze: Blade Energy Partners

             U.S. Army ERDC

             Telios Corporation

             Perma Works, L.L.C.


             Deans & Lyons, L.L.P.

             Innovative Direct Media