Geothermal energy potential of Medjimurje County

Date: 21.12.2023

Medjimurje is a small region located in the far North of the Republic of Croatia, with great entrepreneurial, transport and natural importance. Due to its geographical location and natural resources, Medjimurje County is a region with high energy potential, whereby there is great possibility of using renewable energy sources.

In the recent years, an exploration cycle of geothermal energy has been launched in several exploitation fields where the possibility for the construction of a geothermal power plant is considered. In addition to the existing, active wells named Draškovec, Kotoriba, Medjimurje – 5 and Merhatovec, the geothermal energy potential could be explored on several other sites as well.  

Apart from the significant use of non-conventional energy obtained from water and the sun, Medjimurje, also, exploits conventional resources such as oil and natural gas for more than 30 years. The territory of the County counts around 50 deep wells out of which some are liquidated and abandoned, and others are located within the exploitation fields of oil in Mihovljan and natural gas in Vučkovec, Vukanovec and Zebanec. Given that in some mature fields the production of hydrocarbons is nearing economic cost-effectiveness, there is a high possibility for starting an exploration process for the eventual utilization of the geothermal energy potential in brine aquifers beneath the oil and natural gas layers.

Pilot site Mihovljan within the TRANSGEO project

The Mihovljan oil field has been in production since 1988 and is owned by INA Corp. For the purposes of the exploitation of oil, 11 wells with a depth from 1.600 to 3.000 meters have been drilled.

Considering that the remaining economic hydrocarbon reserves are approaching their depletion, it is predicted that the field will soon be abandoned, which opens a possibility for the use of the geothermal energy potential from the site.

The TRANSGEO project aims to revitalize the current operational, as well as the existing abandoned wells and its activities are directed to the evaluation of the mentioned geothermal energy potential in accordance with the research work related to all aspects of the geothermal field. To fully explore the abandoned wells and their geothermal energy potential, the TRANSGEO assessment studies and tools will show the possible actions and feasibility of the revitalization of an oil field into a geothermal one.

The mentioned project activities should significantly shorten the exploration and administrative procedures of using the geothermal energy potential for heat production after the end of the oil exploitation.

An overview of the existing and potential exploration fields, as well as the pilot location in Mihovljan are presented in the following pictures (pdf).