Join   |   Events   |   Publications   |   Meetings   |   Staff   |   Sponsors   |   Maps    |    Discussion

The University of Texas at Austin's Fracture Research and Application Consortium (FRAC) is dedicated to conquering the challenges of reservoir fractures.

Geological, Geophysical, and Engineering Studies
of Fractures in Reservoirs and Reservoir Analogs

Finding new methods to understand and successfully predict, characterize, and simulate reservoir-scale structures is the aim of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium.

Fractures and faults have worldwide importance because of their influence on successful extraction of resources. Many faults and fractures are difficult or impossible to characterize adequately using currently available technology. Consequently, reservoirs that contain fractures have been intractable to describe and interpret effectively, posing serious challenges for exploration, development, and accurate reservoir simulation and reservoir management. Characterization and accurate prediction of reservoir fractures hold great potential for improving production by increasing the efficiency of exploration and recovery processes.

The Fracture Research and Application Consortium seeks fundamental understanding of fractures and fracture processes with the aim of improved prediction and diagnosis of fracture attributes in the subsurface.


Accurate, Site-Specific Fracture Prediction and Characterization
New methods to obtain accurate, site-specific information on fracture attributes are extremely important because inadequate fracture sampling is a problem in virtually all reservoirs. Lack of reliable ground truth also places limitations on the testing of pre-drill predictive models and indirect fracture sensing methods such as seismic.

Consortium research is exploring the hypothesis that understanding the links among mechanical and chemical processes is a key to more accurate predictions and characterizations of the attributes of large fractures.   We have obtained accurate predictions of fracture clustering and length distribution and reliable measurements of fracture strike, fracture intensity, and degree of porosity preservation using approaches that circumvent the limitations of conventional log or core-based sampling.   A key advantage of this approach is that it provides site-specific fracture information reliably and at any user-specified level of completeness. Therefore, our methods can work even without measuring elusive, difficult-to-sample large fractures. These methods have been used to calibrate seismic fracture detection methods and to incorporate fractures in fluid flow simulations.

Our current research is exploiting this breakthrough in several ways:

  • Perfecting rapid fracture diagnostic methods that can aid in completion and stimulation decisions.
  • Testing quantitative scaling and fracture quality information for development mapping and horizontal well and hydraulic fracture orientation, placement, and length.
  • Calibrating seismic response to extract more information on fracture attributes.
  • Constraining and validating linked structural, diagenetic, and fracture mechanics-based predictive models.
  • Reliable extrapolation of fracture attributes into the interwellbore region.
  • Improving fractured reservoir simulation.

This research involves case studies in a wide range of formations worldwide.

Contact Information

Dr. Stephen E. Laubach
Bureau of Economic Geology
The University of Texas at Austin
University Station, Box X
Austin, TX 78713-8924 U.S.A.
Phone: (512) 471-6303,
Fax: (512) 471-0140

Dr. Jon Olson

Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering

Dr. Randy Marrett

Geological Sciences