Tibet Geothermal Resources

Tibet is located in the eastern section of the global Mediterranean-Himalaya geothermal zone. High temperature geothermal resources are distributed throughout the region.

Current Situation 

There are many large geothermal reserves and resource exploitation potential in Tibet. The only drawback is the scattered geothermal resources, which increases the difficulties in exploitation. In order to assess the geothermal and ground water storage capacity, and the amount of exploitable heat and water, the former investigation on geothermal wells, springs and geothermal field shall be used. The amount of geothermal water in Tibet is calculated by natural heat flux method (SPA). The exploited amount of geothermal fluid (SPA) in Tibet mountainous area is 7.65 × 107 m3/a, and the exploitable geothermal resources (SPA) are 1700.77 × 1013 J/a, equivalent to 51.1 × 104 T of standard coal.

Development Prospect

The natural heat flow (SPA) is indicated that there is a huge potential for the development and utilization of geothermal resources in Tibet mountainous areas. The statistics are indicated that the base temperature in the region is more than 150℃. And 19 zones are found with surface thermal fluid above boiling point. It is calculated that the thermal reserve 3–5 km below amounts to 145,367.93 × 1015 J, equivalent to 49.68 × 108 tons of standard coal. In south Tibet, the currently developed and utilized geothermal resources are mainly from Yangbajain(羊八井) thermal field. Early exploited amount of shallow geothermal resources amounts to 1512 t/h. Other geothermal active areas are basically unexploited. In middle Tibet, the geothermal active zones are still in natural forms without any exploitation. The total amount of geothermal liquid resources in north Tibet is 8.3 × 104 m3/a. East Tibet area’s geothermal resources are basically unexploited. The total amount of geothermal liquid resources is 3.77 × 105 m3/a. According to the results of geothermal resources evaluation in each area of Tibet, most geothermal active zones are in their natural state and not utilized, and are exploitation zones with high potential, especially in south and east Tibet uplifted zones.