Assessing REE Concentrations in Geothermal and Oil and Gas Produced Waters: A Potential Domestic Source of Strategic Mineral Commodities


The project team collected and analyzed 224 water samples and 101 matching rock samples. INL's improved method of measuring aqueous REEs allows study of samples previously thought too volume limited to measure.

The study found that aqueous REEs occur at trace levels in all analyzed samples, and sometimes exceed ocean REE concentrations by a factor of 1,000. No significant predictive relationship to lithology, reservoir temperature, nor salinity was discovered, but aqueous REE concentration appears spatially controlled.

Future work is needed to find the spatially-dependent variable that controls aqueous REE concentration.

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DOE Project Name: Assessing rare earth element concentrations in geothermal and oil and gas produced waters: A potential domestic source of strategic mineral commodities
DOE Project Number: EE0007603
DOE Project Lead: Josh Mengers
Last Updated: over a year ago
Data from March, 2019
Submitted Mar 8, 2019


University of Wyoming



Publicly accessible License 


Scott Quillinan
University of Wyoming
Charles Nye
University of Wyoming
Mark Engle
United States Geological Survey
Timothy Bartos
United States Geological Survey
Ghanashyam 'Hari' Neupane
Idaho National Laboratory
Jonathan Brant
University of Wyoming
Davin Bagdonas
University of Wyoming
Travis McLing
Idaho National Laboratory
J. Fred McLaughlin
University of Wyoming


geothermal, energy, REE, oil and gas, geochemistry, rare earth elements, produced water, trace, recovery, resource, commodity, mineral, aqueous, concentration, spatial, spatially-dependent, variable, chemistry, sampling, coproduced, produced fluid


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