AAPG conference 2022

The first AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) conference organized in Hungary focused on the global energy transition: therefore, one of the sections dealt with the possible cooperation between geothermal energy utilization and the hydrocarbon industry. As a member of the conference’s organizing committee, Judit Mádl-Szőnyi (ELTE) served as a co-chair of the “Geothermal Section” together with Professor Andrea Moscariello (University of Geneva). The other co-chairs of the section were Brigitta Czauner (ELTE) and Ádám Tóth (ELTE). Among the topics announced in the conference programme, this section proved to be the most popular, which shows the convergence of the hydrocarbon industry and geothermal energy. All together 18 lectures and several posters dealt with the issue in three subsections. 

The staff and students of the ELTE TTK Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Department of Geology, József Tóth and Erzsébet Hydrogeology Chair presented on a number of topics related to the ENeRAG project ended in 2022. 

Judit Mádl-Szőnyi (co-authors: Brigitta Czauner and Ádám Tóth) gave a lecture entitled “System approach, the basis of coordinated geofluid research” in the geothermal section. In the presentation, she outlined the similarity of the source-migration-accumulation system models for geofluids, parallel with their separate development. She presented the applicability of the dynamic systems approach developed within the framework of the ENeRAG project for the comprehensive research of different geofluids. She emphasized that understanding the migration is the key, in which the knowing groundwater flow is of crucial importance. She introduced the workflow developed in the project and illustrated with an example from a geothermal field. 

Brigitta Czauner (co-author: Judit Mádl-Szőnyi) presented with the title “Determination and characterization of abnormal formation pressures in the Pannonian Basin, Hungary” in the geothermal section. She presented a new method based on the analysis of gravity-driven groundwater flow systems for the delineation and characterization of abnormal (pore) pressure regimes. The latter can be significant for the research and production of hydrocarbon and geothermal energy. She provided examples of the application from the low-pressure (Battonya ridge) and high-pressure (Danube-Tisza junction, Derecskei ditch, Békési basin) sub-basins of the Pannon basin, showing the distribution of the pressure regimes in respect to depth and area as well as the potential controlling factors. 

Ádám Tóth (co-authors: Márk Szijártó, Attila Galsa, Judit Mádl-Szőnyi) gave a lecture entitled “Interbasin flow as a major driver of heat accumulation in mature sedimentary basins” in the geothermal section. In his lecture, he dealt with the formation of heat accumulations generated by groundwater flow at a basin scale, with the evaluation of the associated geothermal potential, with particular interest to the geometry of sedimentary basins. He highlighted the examination of entire basins or even adjacent basins instead of examining one half of symmetrical basins, which is especially important in the case of asymmetric basins. The detected heat accumulation zones are also a hydraulic trap for hydrocarbons. 

Anita Erőss (co-authors: Katalin Hegedűs-Csondor, Brigitta Czauner, Orsolya Győri) gave a lecture entitled “Interplay of basinal and karst fluids: karst evolution, hydrocarbon and geothermal resources in south Transdanubia (Hungary)” in the geothermal section. She presented the results of hydrogeological data analysis and interpretation covering the southern part of Mecsek, the area of the Villányi Mountains and the Hungarian part of the Dráva Basin. By identifying the components of the groundwater flowsystems (basin, karst) of different origins, they enabled the evaluation of the karst development of the Villányi Mountains and the hydrocarbon and geothermal potential of the Dráva Basin. 

Ábel Markó, PhD student (co-authors: Kimmo Korhonen, Judit Mádl-Szőnyi) gave a presentation entitled “Shallow Geothermal Potential of Central Budapest Estimated Using an Infinite Borehole Field Model“, a new method for estimating shallow geothermal potential. The model was created in cooperation with the Geological Survey of Finnland, within the framework of the ENeRAG project. In the presentation, he highlighted the most important novelties of the method: it is able to take into consideration of the thermal interaction between the borehole heat exchangers and the advection occurring due to the groundwater flow, which affects the amount of energy that can be extracted. Regarding the opportunities in Budapest, he highlighted the outstanding potential, which helps to produce carbon-neutral and cheap energy after investing into shallow geothermal systems. 

Romario Adonya, MSc student (co-authors: Brigitta Czauner and Béla Márton) gave a lecture entitled “Biogenic gas generation and migration in the Pannonian Basin” in the section dealing with the residual hydrocarbon potential of mature basins. In his lecture, he looked for an explanation of formation of the increasingly important biogenic methane gas accumulations. He modeled the transportation of biogenic methane dissolved in groundwater and its degassing, using the data of the Hajdúszoboszló, Ebes and Ebes-Észak natural gas fields. The innovative and cost-effective method also requires an interdisciplinary approach by combining the research methods of hydrocarbon geology and hydrogeology. 

We acknowledge the support of the Papp Simon Foundation which enabled the participation at the conference.