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Texas-focused geothermal trade group launches with big energy backers -Breaking


© Reuters.

By Liz Hampton

(Reuters) – A trade group promoting geothermal energy will be launched in Texas on Thursday, with support from major oil and utility companies looking to improve their business.

Texas Geothermal Energy Alliance, or TxGEA for short, was established by many big fossil fuel companies and startups looking to switch to low-carbon oil and gas energy. This group also includes Repsol (OTC) and Halliburton, (NYSE:). Chevron Corp (NYSE;), Baker Hughes CenterPoint Energy, GeothermEx and CenterPoint Energy (NYSE.:) are all companies that belong to the Schlumberger group (NYSE.:).

Barry Smitherman (ex-chairman of state’s utility regulatory and energy boards), was instrumental in the creation of the group. Texas is the most prolific oil-and-gas-producing state.

Smitherman said that thought leaders and decision-makers are keen to find a resource that’s clean, reliable and dispatchable. Smitherman said that education and advocacy will be the short-term goals of the group.

Although the wells in geothermal technology are constructed differently, they use many of the same drilling techniques as the oil and natural gas industry. Nabors Industries (NYSE : ), a drilling company, has already begun to explore geothermal business opportunities.

Smitherman stated that service businesses see it as an opportunity to leverage their workforce, technology and skills.

Numerous geothermal developments are underway in the United States. This could lead to greater scale in an industry that is not yet able to compete with cheap oil and natural gas.

TxGEA member Sage Geosystems claims that geothermal is less than 1 percent of the global electricity production.

The United States currently has approximately 3.5 gigawatts in geothermal capacities.



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