The Bureau of Economic Geology conducts research on subjects of high interest to the energy industry and environmental firms, and a broad spectrum of companies actively participate in its industry consortia. These unique industry partnerships study research subjects as diverse as salt tectonics, carbonate reservoir characterization, natural fractures and geophysics, carbon storage, nanotechnology, quantitative clastics, computational seismology, mudrock reservoirs, and energy economics.
Collectively, these consortia enjoy the support of over 70 companies globally, with some companies participating in as many as 9 separate programs. Each industry consortium was designed to complement industry efforts to understand a key exploration, production, and/or environmental or economic problem.
Participation is on a subscription basis. Member benefits vary, but generally include first-look privileges to research outcomes, access to research teams, invitations to annual review meetings, and office visits by researchers for presentation and interaction. Members also benefit from interactions with counterparts in fellow sponsoring companies. Each Bureau research consortium has a dedicated team of full-time researchers,including postdocs. Many host talented graduate students. The teams combine seasoned experts with early-career specialists. A number of researchers have industry backgrounds, and all share a passion for university-based research.
The primary goal of the Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC) is to develop intelligent subsurface micro and nanosensors that can be injected into oil and gas reservoirs to help characterize the space in three dimensions and improve the recovery of existing and new hydrocarbon resources. The consortium also believes that there is near term potential to increase the recovery rate in existing reservoirs by exploiting the unique chemical and physical properties of materials at the nano scale.
The Applied Geodynamics Laboratory (AGL) is dedicated to producing innovative new concepts in salt tectonics. This research comprises a mix of physical and mathematical modeling and seismic-based mapping and structural-stratigraphic analysis of some of the world's most spectacular salt basins.
The Center for Energy Economics (CEE) seeks to educate stakeholders on energy economics and commercial frameworks using comparative research to facilitate energy development. Research focus is on frameworks for commercially viable energy projects and the business-government interface. CEE works to help prepare energy industry managers and their legal advisors, and government policy makers and regulators, for more competitive global energy markets.
The Deep Reservoir Quality project provides concepts and data that can be used to forecast reservoir quality, reservoir architecture, and associated risk factors when drilling deep to ultradeep (15,000–35,000 ft) targets beneath the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) shelf and deep water. The study adds valuable updip regional knowledge for companies focused on downdip deep-water exploration.
The Exploration Geophysics Laboratory (EGL) develops a wide range of technologies using all components of the seismic wavefield, including seismic field-recording techniques, data-processing and data-interpretation procedures, for improved reservoir characterization and prospect evaluation.
The Fracture Research and Application Consortium (FRAC) is an alliance of scientists from the Bureau and the departments of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering and Geological Sciences that seeks fundamental understanding of fractures and fracture processes dedicated to conquering the challenges of reservoir fractures.
The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) seeks to apply its technical and educational resources to implement geologic storage of anthropogenic carbon dioxide on an aggressive time scale with a focus in a region where large-scale reduction of atmospheric releases is needed and short term action is possible.
The Mudrock Systems Research Laboratory (MSRL) is dedicated to the twin goals of unraveling fundamental scientific aspects of the most common sedimentary rock type and devising applications of this understanding to the characterization of an important and growing unconventional resource.
The Quantitative Clastics Laboratory (QCL) carries out geologic studies of the processes, tectonics, and quantitative morphology of basins around the world, with research that emphasizes the use of mega-merged 3D seismic data sets for quantitative seismic geomorphologic study of the basin fill, evaluation of source-to-sink relationships between the shelf, slope and deep basin and analyses of the influence of tectonics and fluids on the evolution of these complex continental margin settings.
The Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory (RCRL) seeks to use outcrop and subsurface geologic and petrophysical data from carbonate reservoir strata as the basis for developing new and integrated methodologies to better understand and describe the 3-D reservoir environment.
The mission of the Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology (TCCS) is to address the most important and challenging research problems in computational geophysics as experienced by the energy industry while educating the next generation of research geophysicists and computational scientists.