An In-depth Look into the Geneva Basin: the Project GEothermie 2020 Running with Full Speed

The University of Geneva established a coherent 3D subsurface geological model of the Geneva basin. Over the past four years, the research group Reservoir Geology and Sedimentary Basin Analysis was collecting all existing data (e.g. seismic, well and reservoir data) relevant to characterize the geothermal potential of the area. Their findings are an important contribution to GEothermie 2020, a project aiming to explore and use geothermal energy in the Geneva basin.

In the second phase of the SCCER-SoE, the team of the University of Geneva will continuously improve and update the 3D model any time new data and knowledge is available. A future source of data is the planned series of shallow wells, which will be serving two aims. One is to test the reservoir deliverability and to improve the understanding of the subsurface. The other is to get familiar with the drilling and logging technology of the local industry. In addition, new gravity surveys are scheduled, targeting areas, where medium depth boreholes are planned (800 to 1500 m). Several seismic stations have already been installed across the Geneva Basin to capture and monitor passive seismic signals in order to establish a baseline prior to production and injection operations.

In addition, a new geophysical acquisition program is developed, integrating densely spaced 2D reflection seismic measurements, the aforementioned shallow borehole drilling data and 3D vertical seismic profiles (VSP). The goal is to establish an effective site characterization for the first heat storage project in the Canton of Geneva. The project aspires to capture the 100 GWth of heat (105 °C) generated every year by the incineration plant in Cheneviers, to store it into shallow Cretaceous carbonate rocks.

Additional work will be focusing on more detailed modeling at different scales, ranging from fluid-rock interaction (e.g. scaling and other reservoir impairments processes at micro- and well-scale in collaboration with the University of Berne), fracture and facies modeling to fluid dynamics at reservoir and basin scale. GEothermie 2020 is promoted by SIG (Services Industriels de Genève) and the Canton of Geneva.