Field Projects are a part of every phase of research at RCP. Integrated teams of geophysics, geology, and petroleum engineering students focus on solving a real-world business problem utilizing datasets provided by our industry sponsors. This research provides valuable insights to industry and lessons learned from this work include: optimal well spacing, lateral and vertical dimensions of created fractures, understanding best zones to fracture from seismic inversion parameters, and the value of time-lapse seismic when gas comes out of solution to map depleted zones. Our current field projects include:
Fasken Oil and Ranch, Permian Basin, Texas
The Fasken Oil and Ranch dataset ranges from the Central Basin Platform into the Midland Basin with 278 square miles of 3D seismic, an inset area of 9C3D seismic, 3 9C3D VSPs, well log data, core data, production data, and the opportunity to acquire DAS for fracture and/or production evaluation. Initially, the RCP integrated team will research regional CBM to basin depositional reconstruction, PP-PS inversion attribute potential and mapping of fluid distribution, AVO and AVA learnings, and VSP facies identification/machine learning. Additional project foci will be added as new students join the team.
Bakken Mariner, North Dakota
The Mariner project investigates the dynamics of hydraulic fracture closure and the variation in drainage volume during unconventional well production — key factors for optimizing unconventional reservoir development. Featuring two dedicated monitor wells equipped with strain-sensing cables and borehole pressure gauge arrays, this study offers insights into the shrinkage of conductive fracture length throughout production. The high-resolution distributed strain sensing (DSS) measurements captured conductive fractures during both stimulation and production phases, allowing an in-depth evaluation of time-lapse fracture connectivity on individual levels. This research aims to provide a detailed understanding of the fracture closure process using a real field dataset.
Liang, Yueming, Holger Meier, Karthik Srinivasan, Hussain Tahir, Alberto Ortega, Kelvin Amalokwu, James Friedrich, et al. 2022. “Accelerating Development Optimization in the Bakken Using an Integrated Fracture Diagnostic Pilot.” In Proceedings of the 10th Unconventional Resources Technology Conference. Tulsa, OK, USA: American Association of Petroleum Geologists. https://doi.org/10.15530/urtec-2022-3719696.
The DJ-Postle Project is RCP’s primary field project for Phase XIX research. A comprehensive dataset acquired by Great Western Petroleum during the completion and production of 13 horizontal wells between 2020 and 2022 will be used to evaluate completion efficiency and well communication in the DJ basin. We plan to fully evaluate the effectiveness of various types of completion designs. 3D P-wave seismic data together with DAS stimulation records will be used to investigate the production driver in the DJ basin. These findings, integrated with data from previous projects in the nearby regions will yield a comprehensive understanding of production drivers in these unconventional reservoirs. Expected learnings from this integrated field project will include measurement-based recommendations for completion design optimization in the DJ basin, identification of geological features and engineering parameters that are associated with better production performance, and workflows and learnings for completion optimization pilot projects.
Compressive Sensing, PRB, Wyoming
TGS has provided RCP with data from the Powder River basin, Wyoming. This data uses high fold with CS (Compressive Sensing) technology acquisition. This field project will study inversion and reservoir characterization. Utilizing Compressive Sensing in reservoir characterization will highlight the value of inversion products to identify sweet spots. This dataset is currently being processed at RCP.
CCUS Evaluation Workflow, PRB, Wyoming
The Powder River Basin (PRB) offers significant carbon geosequestration potential through deep saline aquifer storage, enhanced oil and gas recovery, and storage in depleted fields. The Dakota and Lakota formations were identified as potential deep saline aquifer storage candidates. Additionally, carbon geosequestration necessitates coupled flow and geomechanical simulations due to the intricate interplay between fluid flow and rock deformation. Conventional reservoir simulations do not account for geomechanical effects in systems experiencing substantial pressure changes, which can result in principal stress variations, fault activation, and microseismicity. This research documents a workflow coupling two commercial simulators FLAC3D and TOUGH3 improving the accuracy of geomechanical modeling in CCUS project areas.
Of the 6 available carbon storage options, our project will be focusing on types 1,2,3; depleted oil/gas reservoirs, enhanced oil recovery, and deep saline aquifers.
MIDDLE EAST PROJECT, Kuwait
Imaging the deep Jurassic shale and carbonate reservoirs below salt and anhydrite layers is a well-known imaging challenge addressed in this research. This fractured reservoir characterization study is a collaboration with Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) to enhance sub-surface understanding for improved reservoir development and management of deep Jurassic age fractured carbonate play. Available data includes well logs, VSP and seismic data. Initial work concentrated on improving the characterization of the resource play of the Najmah formation.
The primary focus of this research phase is reservoir characterization of the Marrat formation. Research will incorporate advanced synthetic modeling and field data application. The goals include the development of an optimized workflow to attenuate multiples, and a calibrated and quantitative anisotropic mapping technique for reservoir development and sweet spot identification.
Project results will aid in the development of new technologies for similar resource areas throughout the Middle East.
Field and synthetic data highlighting multiples suppression using Marchenko-based methodology
PP/PS Inversion 4D time-lapse, North Sea
RCP initiated a new research project in the spring of 2019 with a dataset provided by oil field operator Aker BP (formely Lundin Norway). The Edvard Grieg oil field was discovered in 2007 in the Norwegian North Sea and is operated as a conventional oil field since 2015. The reservoir lies in a half graben in Haugaland High, composed of multi-source sediment accumulation bounded by unconformities. The late Triassic to early Cretaceous reservoir is composed of aeolian sands, alluvial sands, conglomerate, and shallow marine sands. Imaging challenges arise from the depositional complexity of the field and detailed analysis must be done to plan for future development.
RCP recently performed joint PP-PS pre-stack inversion of the Baseline (2016) and Monitor 1 (2018) (Daneshvar, 2020) and Monitor 2 (2020) (Held, 2023) OBC surveys to separate saturation and pressure changes. The inversion result shows the correlation between the production and injection data allowing pressure and saturation maps to be generated. These maps are valuable for separating the effects of pressure and saturation from development in the field. Having three 4-D datasets provides the opportunity to further monitor 4-D pressure and saturation changes, as well as compare time-lapse processing products from two seismic processing vendors. The project continues with incorporation of Monitor 3 acquired during 2022. The eFWI technology applied recently to update velocity model of the oil field gives opportunity to achieve even better results in reservoir characterization.
Cross plotted P- and S-impedances results from joint PP-PS pre-stack inversion for Baseline to Monitor 2.
Multiple DAS VSP datasets, GOM
Multiple high-repeat time-lapse DAS VSP surveys will be used to improve data quality, test processing flows, and to extract converted waves. The use of offshore DAS VSP is becoming more common place to understand reservoir behavior near wells in between expensive OBC/OBN surveys. Joint inversion using PP and PS (converted) waves is a research area for such data. If shown to be successful, we can improve S-impedance and thereby measure changes in reservoir pressure and saturation discrimination.
GOM DAS VSP data acquisition (from Kiyashchenko et al., 2020.
Ultra-wide offset 3D OBN, GOM
Ultra-wide offset 3D OBN data (maximum offsets in the inline and crossline directions are 65 km and 40 km, respectively) have been acquired in the GOM (that covers the prior 4D DAS VSP project area). To date, these data have been used by commercial vendors for Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) and imaging (hydrophone component only). RCP will examine the 3C geophone components as well. Given the structural complexity of this region of the GOM at these large offsets, the vertical component will also measure S-waves and the horizontal component will also measure P-waves. RCP will analyze the data to understand mode mixing and how to efficiently use this new data type. We will also examine the potential utility of converted waves for reservoir characterization in mini-basins using joint PP-PS prestack inversion. This field research project utilizing extracted data modes will improve FWI application. Further, larger offsets can be used for better S-impedance and density inversion to improve reservoir characterization.
GORGON PROJECT, Offshore Australia
A 3D OBN data have been acquired in NW off-shore Australia over the Gorgon Field. Similar to other OBN surveys, these data have been used by commercial vendors for Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) and imaging (hydrophone component only). RCP will analyze all 3 components of the full azimuth data toward improving imaging and interpretation of the structurally complex subsurface. Research will encompass FWI approaches (acoustic and elastic) with an emphasis on using the multi-component (vertical and horizontal) and multi-mode (PP and PS) datasets.