There's Gas in Them Thar Hills
W. Tinker and Dr. Eugene M. Kim
Gas resources in the Rocky Mountain region will play a significant role in satisfying the future U.S. gas demand. Conventional associated gas will remain important, but an ever-increasing percentage of natural gas production will come from unconventional sources such as coalbed methane, tight gas, and deep gas. Data indicate that research and incentives have paid off in terms of unconventional gas resource creation, and continued research funding will be critical in order to develop and exploit these unconventional sources. For Rocky Mountain gas, advances in fracture and seismic understanding will be crucial. Numerical and geomechanical modeling and flow simulation of fractures, and direct field and laboratory observation methods such as cathodoluminescent scanning electron microscopy will provide critical input to describe and predict fracture aperture, orientation, spacing, clustering, geometry, relation to lithology, and cementation. Key areas for collaborative seismic research include rock physics, high-frequency sequence stratigraphy, nine-component three-dimensional (9C/3D) and four-component three-dimensional (4C/3D) seismic acquisition, processing, and analysis, air- and land-based remote sensing, and continued advancements in seismic inversion, seismic attribute, and amplitude versus offset (AVO) analysis.