The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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February 2014


Dedication ceremony honoring Paul Knox and Xavier Torres
Just to the east of the Core Research Center, along the north entryway to the PRC, a small bigtooth maple now grows in remembrance of two colleagues who left us too soon. Long-time BEG researcher Paul Knox (below right), and Energy aPaul Knoxnd Earth Resources program graduate student Javier Muñoz Torres (below left), both passed away recently, and the maple tree now stands in their memory. The tree was planted under the auspices of the UT Memorial Tree Program, in an effort led by Ramon Treviño and Vanessa Nuñez, Javier's graduate supervisor. The effort was also financially supported by many, many friends and co-workers.Xavier Torres Director Scott Tinker led a moving tree planting ceremony and remembrance on the brilliant but chilly morning of February 13, which was attended by Paul's wife, Rosemary Wynans, and a large group of Bureau staffers who had come to pay their respects. As Ramon noted, "Bigtooth maples are tenacious survivors that have refused to accept the fact that the Pleistocene (ice age) is over. For those of you who knew Paul or Javier, you know of their personal tenacity and dedication." The young maple tree will always be a perpetual reminder of the lives and contributions of these two remarkable individuals.


from left to right: Xavier Janson, Charles Kerans, Robert Loucks, Hongliu Zeng, Christopher Zahm, Jerry Lucia

According to the latest readership totals, BEG's Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory (RCRL) has three of the top 50 most-read articles in the AAPG bulletin. The numbers are all the more impressive since the figures are based on cumulative totals from the years 2001 through January, 2014. Those papers, in order of readership are:

  • Xavier Janson,  Charles Kerans,  Robert Loucks,  M. Alfredo Marhx, Carlos Reyes,  and Francisco Murguia: Seismic architecture of a Lower Cretaceous platform-to-slope system, Santa Agueda and Poza Rica fields, Mexico, AAPG Bulletin, January 2011, v. 95, p. 105-146.
  • Christopher K. Zahm and Peter H. Hennings: Complex fracture development related to stratigraphic architecture: Challenges for structural deformation prediction, Tensleep Sandstone at the Alcova anticline, Wyoming, AAPG Bulletin, November 2009, v. 93, p. 1427-1446.
  • Hongliu Zeng and Charles Kerans : Seismic frequency control on carbonate seismic stratigraphy: A case study of the Kingdom Abo sequence, west Texas, AAPG Bulletin, February 2003, v. 87, p. 273-293

    logoEqually impressive is a 4th RCRL publication ranked among the most-cited AAPG papers during the same period. Jerry Lucia's seminal paper on rock-fabric classification, Rock-fabric/petrophysical classification of carbonate pore space for reservoir characterization, AAPG Bulletin, September 1995, v. 79, p. 1275-1300, currently ranks number 36 on that list.

    The RCRL is one of the Bureau's most successful Industrial Associates programs. The mission of the RCRL is to use outcrop and subsurface geologic, geophysical, and petrophysical data from carbonate reservoir strata as the basis for development of new and integrated methodologies to better understand and describe the 3-D reservoir environment.


  • 1A multi-disciplinary team led by BEG researchers has published a summary of its findings on the Fayetteville Shale of north-central Arkansas. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and led by co-principal investigators Scott Tinker and Svetlana Ikonnikova, the research effort integrates engineering, geology, and economics in a numerical model that allows for scenario testing on the basis of many input parameters. The summary report on the Fayetteville portion of the study has been peer reviewed and published in the Oil & Gas Journal, and has drawn great interest from media, government agencies, and the public and private sectors. The full study, to be completed soon, will have investigated production from the four major U.S. shale gas plays: Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville, and Marcellus.


    2
    BEG hosted a meeting on January 31 to assist the new Johnson City Hill Country Science Mill, which is scheduled to open in the winter of 2014. After museum Project Manager Holly Barton presented an overview of proposed exhibits, the meeting focused on concepts for exhibits on water resources. And, after a demonstration of BEG's 3D visualization capabilities, the Bureau's Reuben Reyes, Linda Ruiz McCall, Sean Murphy, and Susan Hovorka engaged in brainstorming discussions with members from UTIG, ESI, JSG, TWDB, and the Hill Country Alliance (HCA).

    2Vanessa Nuñez of the Bureau's Gulf Coast Carbon Center is helping to overcome language barriers in technology transfer with a series of Spanish-language webinars exploring Enhanced Oil Recovery and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). As part of the Global CCS Institute's capacity development with Mexico, Vanessa created and delivered a Spanish language series of three CCS- focused webinars directed to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (Mexican Electricity Federal Commission), the Academic Council of Earth Science Schools, and La Secretaría de Energía (Ministry of Energy). Also hosted by the Global CCS institute, Vanessa delivered another webinar covering the Global Status of CCS and outlining the challenges of utilizing CO2 for the development of extra-heavy oils, such as those in the massive Orinoco Belt. This webinar was the first in a three-part series that the Institute will hold in Spanish for Venezuelan stakeholders who are exploring ways to limit the impact of the country's carbon-intensive activities on climate change. The next webinar will focus on immiscible CO2-EOR and associated issues.


    1
    The Bureau's Gulf Coast Carbon Center was co-host to more than 200 international guests at the University of Texas 2nd Conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (UTCCS-2) on January 28-29, 2014. The event featured presentations by researchers and students on the technical and strategic issues of global carbon capture and storage.

    2

    In November, Bureau researchers Jeff Paine, Kutalmis Saylam, Aaron Averett, Ruth Costley, Tiffany Caudle, and John Andrews conducted an airborne lidar survey of the area surrounding the famed Wink sinkholes in West Texas. Data from the survey are being used to identify areas and estimate amounts of land subsidence since the 1960's near Wink Sink 1, which collapsed in June 1980, and the larger Wink Sink 2, which collapsed in May 2002. The sinkholes have been the subject of several Bureau investigations and publications and continue to be among the most fascinating geological features in the state. Current research is supported by industry gifts and the STARR Geohazard program.

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