University of Texas at Austin

Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory

Welcome to the RCRL Website!

The Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory (RCRL) for carbonate studies is an industrial research consortium run by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) and the Department of Geological Sciences of the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (UT). RCRL's mission is to use outcrop and subsurface geologic, geophysical, 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. 

If you are interested in becoming an RCRL Industrial Associate, please contact Charles Kerans or Bob Loucks and see our2016 Research Directions.

2016 Executive Summary and Prospectus (PDF)

2016 Executive Summary and Prospectus (PDF)

RCRL Summary and Directions 2016 (PowerPoint)

RCRL Summary and Directions 2016 (PowerPoint)

2016 RCRL Spring Workshop

The 2016 RCRL Spring Workshop will be held May 9th through May 13th at the Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin and will be a series of modules covering carbonate systems as they relate to reservoir characterization. For early years professionals or those that need to brush up on carbonate concepts, we will start on Day 1 with a short course on “Introduction to carbonates and principles of carbonate exploration and exploitation” followed by a series of four, one-day stand-alone seminars. The stand-alone seminars include:


  • Seismic characterization of carbonate systems
  • Use of core, log, and seismic data in construction of high-resolution sequence frameworks for reservoir characterization and modeling
  • Principles of carbonate karst and associated reservoirs
  • 3D fracture modeling using carbonate rock properties and mechanical stratigraphy

We hope that participants will attend all the topical seminars, but each module is designed to be “stand alone” to enable participation for a single day. We recognize that these are challenging times for industry and we hope you and members of your company can attend. The best part? No enrollment fees! Join us in Austin for a day or the week.

A more detailed description of the seminars can be found in the RCRL Events Webpage:

Please let us know if you would like to send more than two participants from your company as we would like to ensure a fair opportunity to all our members.

If you have further questions, please contact Stephaine Lane ( for assistance.

2015 RCRL Annual Field Trip and Meeting 
The Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory (RCRL) group recently held its annual research review, which consisted of a one-day core workshop, two days of technical presentations, and a post-meeting field trip to the Guadalupe Mountains.

This year’s core workshop, partially presented by RCRL students mentored by Dr. Charles Kerans, featured parts of a long research core, on loan from Chevron, from the Guadalupe Mountains. Other core showed Lower Permian outer-shelf deposits and organic-rich Lower Cretaceous sediment accumulating in a salt-withdrawn, related intra-shelf basin.

2015 RCRL Annual Field Trip and Meeting

The technical presentations were attended by 49 representatives of sponsoring companies. A new feature and highlight of the technical review this year was the poster session, where sponsors and RCRL staff and students could informally discuss and interact around 18 posters, 15 created by students.

Attendees of the post-meeting field trip to the Guadalupe Mountains visited limestone and sand outcrops of the updip section of the Avalon shale (led by RCRL PhD candidate Greg Hurd) and the most restricted part of the Permian shelf (led by Alton Brown and Dr. Bob Loucks). These outcrops provided an excellent opportunity to review regional‐scale evaporite dissolution and associated megascale deformation associated with the dissolution front, as well as mixed siliciclastic and carbonate restricted- shelf interior depositional model and facies.

2015 RCRL Annual Meeting

2015 RCRL Annual Meeting: September 27 – October 2, 2015

Hello Everyone! We would like to invite you to the 2015 RCRL Annual meeting. The core workshop & technical presentations are held at the UT PRC campus and the fieldtrip will be between El Paso, Texas and Carlsbad, NM.

Please do not hesitate to contact Stephaine Lane with any questions you might have.

For meeting details, please visit the RCRL’s Events Page

Highlights of the meeting include:

September 27 Core Workshop at PRC Campus
September 28 Technical Presentations and Ice Breaker at PRC Campus
September 29 Technical Presentations at PRC Campus; Fieldtrip participants fly to El Paso, TX
September 30 Fieldtrip – around Carlsbad, NM area
October 1 Fieldtrip – around Carlsbad, NM area
October 2 Fieldtrip – around Carlsbad, NM area

Please do not hesitate to contact Stephaine Lane with any questions you might have.

Stephaine Lane 

We look forward to seeing you in October.

The RCRL Group

2015 RCRL Annual Spring Field Course – Del Rio, Texas

The RCRL group ran the Annual Spring Fieldtrip to the Cretaceous outcrops in southwest Texas from May 3rd to 5th. The fieldtrip consisted of two parts and was led by Bob Loucks, Greg Frebourg, and Peter Soto Kerans. During the first part of the trip we visited the high-energy facies of the uppermost Lower Cretaceous Devils River Trend. This section exposes excellent examples of rudist reefs and large bulbous microbialites, which are reservoirs elsewhere in the world. The second part of the trip reviewed Upper Cretaceous deeper water, drowned platform carbonate systems. The area west of Del Rio has long roadcuts through the Buda Limestone, Eagle Ford Group, and Austin Chalk sections. Each of these units are active hydrocarbon plays in south Texas. Depositional processes and reservoir heterogeneity were emphasized.

De Rio Field trip

De Rio Field trip



Stratigraphic and Reservoir Architecture


Petrophysics and Diagenesis


Fractures and Non Matrix Porosity


Seismic Imaging


Subsurface Studies


Outcrop Studies


Graduate Student Studies

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