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Reservoir-scale Geology

Question: How do reservoir-scale geologic features relate to geomechanical and seismic properties of rocks?

Robert W. Ritzi Question Leader:
Dustin Sweet, PhD
Texas Tech University

Dr. Dustin E. Sweet holds a PhD (2009) in Geology from the University of Oklahoma and a MSc (2003) and a BSc (2000) in Geology from Boise State University. Upon completion of his PhD, Dr. Sweet worked as an exploration geologist at Chevron Energy Technology Company until he joined the faculty at Texas Tech University in the fall of 2011. During his time at Chevron, Dr. Sweet’s chief role was developing new plays and prospects in new venture opportunities, largely in West Africa. Dr. Sweet’s areas of expertise include process sedimentology, chemical weathering in soil profiles, and stratigraphy. He uses those skills to unravel climatic and tectonic history from the sedimentary record, predominantly within late Paleozoic basins in the United States and Quaternary strata on the Southern High Plains. He currently serves as leader of the Geology Theme for the Center for Geologic Storage of CO2, where he brings his sedimentologic and weathering skills to bear on understanding the character of the interval near the great unconformity in the mid-continent. He enjoys camping with his wife and three boys wherever late Paleozoic strata are exposed.


Hypothesis Statement: A nexus of new research on geologic architecture, new approaches for relating geomechanical properties and seismic velocities to geologic facies, and new research on depositional-based approaches to simulating geologic facies will lead to significant advances in modeling three-dimensional (3D) spatial variation in geomechanical properties and seismic velocities.

Reservoir geology will be related to geomechanical properties through novel studies and quantitative analysis of combined borehole data sets (i.e., study and analyses of one-dimensional vertical co-located sets of combined geologic, petrophysical, and geomechanical data). In this facet of the project, the contribution of geologic factors, across scales, to the variance in geomechanical and petrophysical properties will be quantified. The results will be expanded to plausible scenarios for 3D sedimentary architecture and geologic structure, based on combined sedimentological inferences from the depositional facies. The 3D models for geomechanical properties and seismic velocities that result from this work will be incorporated into plausible geologic models and used in interpretive forward modeling of seismic velocities.

New geologic research is required to answer questions concerning the mechanisms of injection-induced microseismicity in order to control and predict its occurrence. Advances in addressing problems presented by geologic heterogeneity will come from primarily new approaches to the geologic aspects of simulating reservoir architecture, rather than from advances in the mathematical approaches underpinning such
simulation methods.

Calvin Barnes

Calvin Barnes, PhD
Texas Tech University

Dr. Calvin G. Barnes holds an MS and PhD from the University of Oregon (1978, 1982) and a BS from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1975). He has taught at Texas Tech University since 1982, where he is Professor of Geology. Other work experiences include Texaco Corp., Anaconda, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Dr. Barnes’ primary research area is study of magmatic processes, with a focus on plutonic rocks. This research also involves study of crustal melting and relationships between high-temperature processes and tectonics. His geographic research areas include California, Oregon, northeastern Nevada, far west Texas and adjacent New Mexico, north-central Norway, and southern Finland. In recent years, many of Dr. Barnes’ research projects have utilized in situ analysis of trace element compositions of, and zoning patterns in, rock-forming minerals, to provide detailed information on petrologic processes that are obscured in bulk-rock analyses.

Melanie Barnes

Melanie Barnes, PhD
Texas Tech University

Dr. Barnes is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Geosciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and Director of the GeoAnalytical Laboratory. Dr. Barnes’ research experience includes studies on the character of the buried Precambrian crystalline rock in eastern New Mexico and West Texas and the nature of the granite-rhyolite province throughout the mid-continent. Her GSCO2 research focuses on characterizing the surface of the Precambrian basement and the nature of weathered surfaces and deposits.

Bettina Goertz-Allmann

Bettina Goertz-Allmann, PhD

Bettina Goertz-Allmann is a senior research scientist in the microseismic monitoring group at NORSAR, Norway, since fall 2012. She earned her PhD in 2008 with a focus on earthquake source physics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. After earning her PhD, she spent several years at the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich, first as a postdoctoral researcher and later as a senior assistant. Her research interests are earthquake scaling relations, source parameter estimation, and earthquake rupture imaging. Her current research focuses on analysis of induced microseismicity in geothermal and CO2 storage environments.

Stephen Marshak

Stephen Marshak, PhD
Texas Tech University

Dr. Stephen Marshak is the Director of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment and a professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Marshak specializes in structural geology and tectonics. He will be collaborating with GSCO2 researchers who are focusing on understanding how structural features, such as joints and faults, are related to the distribution of microseismicity and may affect basement topography and the distribution of facies. Dr. Marshak has carried out studies of continental-interior deformation for many years, most recently in the context of the EarthScope OIINK array project, which involved installing a seismometer array spanning the Ozark Plateau and the southern Illinois Basin. He has also been involved in producing digital maps displaying subsurface geologic features of the Illinois Basin and its margins.

Volker Oye

Volker Oye, PhD

Dr. Volker Oye graduated Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany in 2000 (Diploma thesis on true amplitude migration) and made a PhD at University of Oslo and NORSAR in 2004 on Observation and Analysis of Microearthquakes. In the following years Oye worked on induced and triggered microseismicity in various environments such as mines, hydrocarbon reservoirs, geothermal reservoirs, CO<sub>2</sub> storage and also on lab-scale acoustic emissions. Since 2013 Oye is head of the Department on “Earthquakes and the Environment” at NORSAR.

Paul Sylvester

Paul Sylvester, PhD
Texas Tech University

Paul Sylvester is the Endowed Pevehouse Chair Professor of Geosciences at Texas Tech University. He has held research and teaching positions at NASA Johnson Space Center, The University of Chicago, Australian National University, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. His research interests are focused on mineral geochemistry and geochronology using microbeam instruments, particularly LA-ICP-MS. He holds a BSc degree from Purdue University and a PhD degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and Mineralogical Society of America; Editor-in-Chief of Minerals; and Joint-Editor-in Chief of Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research.

Steve Whittaker

Steve Whittaker, PhD
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Steve Whittaker is the Director of Energy Research & Development at the Illinois State Geological Survey, which is a part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. He leads a team with wide-ranging research interests in efficiencies around subsurface resources, including carbon capture and storage. He was previously based in Perth, Australia, where he was Research Group Leader for Reservoir Dynamics with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), working on deploying carbon storage technology at the industrial scale in Australia and globally. Steve also serves as Chair of the TC265 committee developing ISO 27914, an international standard for geological storage of CO2. Previously, he was Principal Manager for Geologic Storage of CO2 at the Global CCS Institute in Canberra, Australia, and Chief Technology Manager at the Petroleum Technology Research Centre in Canada. In the latter position, he managed a program studying storage and monitoring of CO2 injected into a depleting oil field for enhanced oil recovery at Weyburn, Saskatchewan, which is among the world’s largest monitored CO2 injection sites. Steve is a geologist with a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and has worked in petroleum and carbon storage related fields for more than 20 years.

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