Current Projects

The integrated research environment at RCP focuses on projects to advance 4D, 9C and associated technologies for seismic reservoir characterization in a variety of geologic settings.  


RCP’s Phase XVII research is focused on the Eagle Ford Project. This project focuses on demonstrating the value of permanent seismic monitoring in understanding reservoir behavior under the dynamic conditions associated with hydraulic fracturing. The data for this project is provided by Devon Energy Corporation. The comprehensive dataset allows for advanced research on reservoir characterization and monitoring techniques. The data include time-lapse, multicomponent surface seismic and VSPs (vertical seismic profiles), microseismic monitoring, and fiber optic DAS (distributed acoustic sensing) and DTS (distributed temperature sensing), among others.

The Eagle Ford Team is working together to demonstrate the value of these various datasets in the integrated characterization of the project area. The main goals of the project are to estimate SRV (stimulated reservoir volume) throughout the life of the field, improve well placement and completion design, assess various methods for reservoir monitoring, and outline a plan for further development of the field. To help achieve these goals, the team seeks to gain an improved understanding of the changes in the reservoir associated with hydraulic fracturing.

Current work in the Eagle Ford Project is focused on developing an initial idea of the reservoir in the study area. The surface seismic data is being analyzed to estimate reservoir properties and geomechanics as an input into a static reservoir model, and the VSP data is being processed to add to this analysis. Work has begun on building a DFN (discrete fracture network) model utilizing information from multiple datasets. Additionally, the microseismic, completion, and production data are being used for hydraulic fracture characterization. Combining these aspects will allow us to make suggestions to address the main objectives of the project.


The Wolfcamp Project began in 2017 as part of RCP Phase XVII and is sponsored by Apache Corporation. This project explores the usefulness of Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) in reservoir and stimulation characterization. The research centers around the analysis of an interstage DAS Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP) dataset, shot in a well located in the Midland Basin, a sub-basin of the Permian Basin, Texas. This unique dataset contains VSP records shot before fracturing and after each of the 78 stages of fracturing. Project goals are to analyze velocity changes and scattering effects caused by each of the 78 stages of hydraulic fracturing and to use modeling to assess the possible mechanisms that could be causing the time-lapse changes. The ultimate goals are finding hydraulic fracture height and designing future optimized DAS acquisition geometries.

WATTENBERG FIELD, COLORADO  - Unconventional Shale Project

The Wattenberg project is the central focus of RCP's Phase XVI research in partnership with our field sponsor, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. The study focuses on integrating static and dynamic characterization of the Niobrara/Codell unconventional reservoir.  The collaborative effort from graduate students across geophysics, geology, petroleum engineering and economics has deepened the understanding of reservoir response to stimulation and production in the Wattenberg field. 

Wattenberg, ColoradoThe key objectives of this integrated research are: characterization of natural faults and induced fractures as drivers of well performance; analysis of stress changes within the reservoir tying to both production and fracture efficiency; and interpretation and assessment of reservoir production through iterative simulations and integrated, multi-scale modeling. To accomplish these particular goals, a comprehensive data set including time-lapse 9C seismic, microseismic, well logs, cores, tracer data, DFIT, completion data and production data were provided. This data spans the main study area of four-square miles within the Wattenberg Field, with coverage emphasized over the central one-square mile Wishbone section containing 11 producing horizontal wells. 

The 4D seismic shows increased gas saturation from pressure depletion which matches the reservoir simulation has validated our multi-scale 3D geologic and rock property models of the reservoir. Geomechanical simulations have shown non-uniform production controlled by vertical and lateral heterogeneities from the reservoir interval. The geomechanical model has not only improved reservoir simulation responses, but also produced evidence of preferential fracture growth downward. These stimulated reservoir volumes correlate with microseismic data, suggesting that geomechanical modeling can assist in optimizing future infill wells. With a new 3D geological discrete fracture model utilizing outcrop, microseismic, and image logs, and stimulated reservoir volume model, this reservoir simulation project should continue to increase the reservoir simulation accuracy correlation with seismic.

With the understanding that productivity is driven by effective fracture length in this unconventional field, current work investigates the mapping of the stress and fracture changes using multicomponent time-lapse seismic. Projects addressing these changes in stress and fractures include PP VVAZ and attenuation studies, as well as PS and SS shear-wave splitting analyses.

Preliminary interpretation of inverted PP impedance seismic data shows amplitude responses tied to the simulated increased gas saturation over time. Furthermore, the extracted impedance amplitude changes show strong correlation to the normalized gas production data at each of the 11 wells. This insight has spurred a joint PP-PS inversion study and AVO/AVAZ analysis to further explore the direct mapping and prediction of well production and change in rock properties using time-lapse, multicomponent seismic data.

The Wattenberg Team's overarching goal is to construct a fully integrated reservoir model to optimize exploitation and exploration initiatives in the Wattenberg Field that will ultimately lead to an increased recovery factor.


The project began in the fall of 2013 as an early stage unconventional project in collaboration with Wintershall in the Vaca Muerta Formation of the Neuquén Basin, Argentina. The primary focus of this study is to understand the factors that control production from the reservoir using an integrated approach with geology, geophysics, geomechanics and engineering.

In unconventional reservoirs where permeability is low, stimulation is required to allow for economic production. The mechanical behavior of the reservoir, as it relates to the ability of natural and induced fractures to sustain hydraulic conductivity pathways, is the primary factor controlling the economics. Characterization of the mechanical properties of the formation, the stress state at the reservoir level, and analysis of the natural fractures is essential for targeting well locations, horizontal well direction, and guiding stimulation programs.

Initial work examined fracture distributions and elastic parameter variability across the study area using cores, seismic inversion, interpretation of image logs, VSP, microseismicity, multi-stage hydraulic stimulation data, and production data into depositional controls on rock properties.

Wintershall acquired a new multi-component seismic survey in 2016 over the northern area of the current 3D survey. Data has been processed by Unified Geosystems and was delivered to RCP early this fall. Current work will use this new 3C seismic survey along with the 3C VSP to determine the value added by multi-component data. The focus will be on characterizing anisotropy to improve the understanding of natural fractures, hydraulic fracture development, and propose new drilling and landing locations. A joint PP-PS inversion is planned along with analysis of anisotropy attribute volumes delivered by Unified Geosystems, and a differential horizontal stress (DHSR) analysis is proposed to study stresses in the reservoir and hydraulic fracture propagation.


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Last Updated: 04/17/2018 14:44:40