AAPG Academy Webinar:

Understanding the Resource Potential of Natural Subsurface Hydrogen

Published
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

The conversation with Geoffrey S. Ellis, research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, and Avon McIntyre, executive director and CTO of Hyterra Avon, details the origin of geologic hydrogen, reasons for accumulations and effective exploration strategies. It also examines a case study on the Nemaha Ridge in eastern Kansas.

AAPG Academy closed out 2023 with an in-depth discussion on natural subsurface hydrogen, featuring Geoffrey S. Ellis, research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey and Avon McIntyre, executive director and CTO of Australian company Hyterra Avon.
Facilitated by AAPG Director of Innovation, Emerging Science and Technology Susan Nash, the program featured an overview of hydrogen’s behavior and origin, reasons for accumulations and effective exploration strategy led by Ellis, as well as a case study of the Nemaha Ridge led by McIntyre.

Key Takeaways from the Discussion Led by Geoffrey S. Ellis

Ellis highlighted current exploration activities, including work in:

  • Mali, Djibouti, Morrocco and Namibia
  • The Pyranees, the Aquitaine Basin, Corsica and the Alps and Iceland
  • Brazil and Colombia
  • The Amadeus and Perth Basins in Australia
Additional developments in the space that Ellis mentioned were:
  • The first wildcat hydrogen well in the U.S. is being flow tested.
  • A recent hydrogen discovery on the Yorke Peninsula in southern Australia
He then looked ahead to upcoming projects, such as:
  • USGS ‘ plans to create an interactive, web-based map for hydrogen prospectivity in 2024
  • The first pilot project to stimulate hydrogen in a natural setting in Oman in 2024
  • Several wells planned for 2024 in the Nemaha Ridge in Eastern Kansas

“I think there are very large quantities of natural hydrogen in the subsurface,” Ellis says. “The real question is simply: what is the potential for that hydrogen to be in economic accumulations?”

Key Takeaways from the Case Study Led by Avon McIntyre

The second half of the webinar looked at a project attempting to explore answers to Ellis’ question. Avon McIntyre, CTO and executive director of Australian-headquartered Hyterra outlined the project details of the aforementioned drilling for subsurface accumulations of hydrogen in Eastern Kansas. He highlighted that:

  • The scientific community can use the Midwest to test a predictive hydrogen subsurface model
  • Historic hydrogen occurrences fit the hard rock, soft rock and water hypothesis
  • Focusing on ancient rifts as hydrogen factories and reservoirs is favorable.

He said the next step for the space is “Less talking, more drilling.”

Watch other AAPG technical webinars here, and stay tuned for AAPG in-person events that will include technical sessions and engaging discussions with experts working in geologic hydrogen.

 

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