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Renewable resources and to non-conventional resources

Geothermal energy

OGS is involved in this activity through a multidisciplinary approach, including the involvement of several OGS cutting-edge fields, the main of which being represented by borehole geophysics. In particular, OGS developed jointly with ENI E&P the seismic-while-drilling (SWD) technology Seisbit®. SWD method utilizes the noise produced by drill-bit to obtain interpretable borehole seismic data. It is a borehole-seismic technology developed and used to support drilling of Oil & Gas exploration wells from a geophysical point of view. Other OGS-ENI patents can be adapted to drilling activities for geothermal exploration. SWD technology minimizes the risk of drilling and increases the information on the geothermal reservoir. The application has important advantages for geothermal wells, as it does not require down-hole instrumentation, which may be sensitive to high temperature, and provides at nearly the same cost of near-offset recordings a set of multi-offset data useful for investigations extended around the well, which is even more important in complex fractured zones. SWD technology can be used for: 1. the analysis of low to high enthalpy geothermal systems; 2. borehole monitoring; 3. Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) development. This technology can be utilized also in volcanic areas.

OGS primary activities for the next three years can be summarized as follows:

  • Implementation and utilization of the passive seismic addressed to risk monitoring;
  • Utilization of remote measurements addressed to the monitoring of the geothermal reservoir deformation during production;
  • Utilization of gravimetric and electromagnetic methods, which are less expensive than seismic;
  • Study of low-enthalpy geothermal systems for district heating/tele-heating through the joint utilization of borehole and surface seismic.


Methane hydrates

OGS developed for the first time in Italy special skills on the identification and quantification of methane hydrates on the ocean floor. Since a decade, gas hydrate research activity represents one of the OGS leading expertise.

OGS primary activities for the next three years can be summarized as follows:

  • Development and implementation of original methods for quantify the amount of gas hydrate and free gas through the inversion of the seismic velocity field;
  • Development of 3D tomographic methods, which allow to understand the hydrate distribution in respect with the geological setting where they have been formed and lie;
  • Study of the regional distribution of gas hydrates related to the geological and sedimentary setting, and to the evolution of the Polar and Mediterranean regions.


Oil and gas shales

The application of the geophysical methods to the characterization of hydrocarbon reserves in oil and gas shales represents the evolution of the past research focused to the study of conventional reservoirs. The un-conventional production of methane through the so called “fracking” had a profound impact of the hydrocarbon business, as it caused a strong reduction of the gas price globally. OGS intends to characterize the micro-seismic events generated during the propagation of the induced fracturing in shale rocks, through: 1. Modelling; 2. Analysis and inversion of micro-seismic data with the integration of geological information, well logs and vertical seismic profiles (VSP). OGS aims at becoming the National leading Institution for the theoretical study and the monitoring of the rock micro-fracturing during the un-conventional gas and oil extraction. OGS target is addressed to provide scientific opinions at the highest levels, which have to be necessarily impartial and reliable until a comprehensive regulatory will be implemented and established.