Day 1 :
Texas Public Policy Foundation, USA
Keynote: E- The Great Energy Enrichment
Time : 10:35-11:15
Kathleen Hartnett White is Distinguished Senior Fellow and Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, Texas. She is author of “Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy” released by Regnery Publishing in late May 2016. She is former Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and has served on multiple other commissions and many public, private and non-profit boards to include the Journal of Regulatory Science. She is a contributor to The Hill and her commentaries have appeared in many national publications including Investor’s Business Daily, Washington Examiner, Forbes, Roll Call, National Review and Daily Caller. And she regularly testifies to US Congressional Committees. She is a cum laude Graduate of Stanford University (BA and MA) and held Post-graduate Academic Fellowships at Princeton University and Texas Tech School of Law.
Climate policies, now institutionalized, to eliminate human use of hydrocarbons risk loss of prodigious gains in human welfare achieved over the last 150 years. These unprecedented improvements in the physical parameters of human life were achieved through theoretical and practical/engineering advances in the geosciences. As a necessary condition of the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels have vastly improved living conditions across the world. Energy is often an elusive concept to the average person and to the physicist. Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman: “It is very, very difficult to get energy right”. Natural energy system is now intertwined with man-made energy system. Rate of economic growth rose in lockstep with increasing consumption of fossil fuels throughout the 20th Century. Basic energy realities challenge assumed role of renewables (wind, solar and biomass) to supplant hydrocarbons within a few decades. Measures of energy density and power density reveal the contrast of energy systems based on diffusing massive store of versatile, reliable hydrocarbons versus concentrating diffused and variable renewable energy sources. The hallmark of hydrocarbon energy enrichment was a radical, rapid, and then sustained expansion of the productive powers of economy. For the first time, income gains accrued to the poorest and average worker rather than the already wealthy allowing the emergence of a middle class. Hydrocarbon energy as necessary condition of the human enrichment: Lifespan is three times higher, average income is ten times higher, natural gas fertilizer increased agricultural productivity by 40-60%. Fossil fuels provide raw materials for thousands of product. Mankind’s carbon footprint has shrunk man’s physical footprint on the natural world. Innovative technology dramatically reduced genuine environmental pollution in prosperous countries.
University of Padova, Italy
Time : 11:35-12:15
Giuseppe Gambolati graduated with honors in Mechanical Engineering at the Polytechnic of Turin. After a brief stint as assistant of Applied Mechanics, was hired by IBM Research Center in Venice therein completing a scientific career to senior researcher. There he developed, among many other activities, the first model of anthropogenic land subsidence in Venice (1973). In 1980 he became Professor of Numerical Methods in Engineering at the University of Padua. In 2008 he received the Excellent Contributions Award of IACMAG (International Association for Computers Methods and Advances in Geomechanics) for “significant contributions in research, academic activities and professional service in different regions of the globe ”. In 2011 he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union for “his unique and seminal contributions to geomechanical aspects of subsurface fluid flow”.
Underground gas storage (UGS) represents an increasingly widespread approach to cope with the need for a concentrated energy demand in many countries worldwide. Gas is injected in depleted deep reservoirs during the hot season when consumption is limited and withdrawn in the cold season mainly for heating. The UGS operations involve a gas pore pressure fluctuation between a maximum close to the value pi prior to field development and a minimum usually larger than the lowest pore pressure experienced by the field during its primary production life. The risk of a possible seismicity of anthropogenic origin is connected with the likely reactivation of existing faults in the reservoir and its surroundings. The high (i.e. yearly) frequency variation of the pore pressure generally confines the volume where changes occur to the reservoir volume without importantly affecting the formations closest to the hydrocarbon field, i.e. the upper caprock and the lateral/bottom aquifers (the so called waterdrive).The risk of inducing seismicity is therefore restricted to those cases where existing faults/thrusts cross or bound the gas bearing strata. The prospective fault reactivation caused by UGS activity is herein investigated by an advanced 3-D transversally isotropic Finite Element (FE) – Interface Element (IE) elasto-plastic geomechanical model implemented into the Emilia reservoir, Italy, which is used as a representative test case. The gas field was developed during the 1960s and later converted to UGS from the mid 1970s. Two reversed faults cross the field and confine the aquifers hydraulically connected to the reservoir. Gas storage/withdrawal is ongoing with pressure p ranging approximately between pi in October/November and 60%pi in April/May with a p fluctuation on the order of 50 bars. The FE-IE model is quite successfully calibrated using the vertical and west-east land displacements measured by advanced persistent scatterer interferometry over the period 2003-2010 with a most realistic evaluation of the shear modulus G of the rock hosting the activated portion of the faults. It is shown that the rock stress variations are basically confined within the gas field and negligibly propagate into the caprock and the waterdrive. Based on the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion, IEs allow for the prediction of the fault activated area A, located at the reservoir depth, as expected, and slip displacement d. A few parametric scenarios are investigated to address the major uncertainties of the geomechanical fault properties, i.e. cohesion c and friction angle Φ of the fault materials, and the initial stress regime (passive or compressive basin). The magnitude M of the prospective seismic events induced/triggered by the fault reactivation is assessed by an empirical relation derived from seismological theories and used worldwide. M turns out to be correlated to the activated volume A·d and the shear modulus G. With G = 3.9·104 bar, as provided by the calibration of the geomechanical model, the prediction points out that M does not exceed 1 in the most conservative scenario, namely c = 0 bar and Φ = 30°, entirely instantaneous slip and a passive stress basin. With c = 10 bar and a compressive stress regime, both most plausible conditions for the investigated reservoir, the fault practically does not activate with M decreasing to negative values. Consistent with the records from a local micros seismic network, the study provides conclusive evidence that the UGS activity for the case addressed herein is not a matter of concern in relation to the risk of induced anthropogenic seismicity.