University of Texas at Austin

Research Plans



A hallmark of the RCRL research program is its unique combination of recognizing subsurface characterization challenges that can be improved by the use of well-defined outcrop analogs and a breadth of subsurface characterization experience that is brought to bear on problems important to sponsors of the program. In the 30 years of RCRL research on carbonate systems, technical methods have been developed that populate the sequence stratigraphic framework with reservoir-flow properties so as to improve hydrocarbon recovery. Yet many challenges still exist within carbonate reservoirs, especially in the area of integration of nonmatrix pore systems (e.g., fractures and karst), pore-network-related diagenesis (e.g., micropores/tight carbonate reservoirs), and the realistic three-dimensional variability of lithofacies distribution. 

The RCRL research program consist of the five broad research areas and it’s 2016 research activities will focus on the following projects: 

Permian shelf‐to‐basin syntectonic to early post‐tectonic stratigraphy of the in the Delaware and Midland Basins
•    Stratigraphic Architecture of Wolfcampian to Guadalupian Platforms, Delaware Basin
•    Slope Stratal Architecture and Depositional Processes, Delaware and Midland Basins
•    Shelf‐to‐Basin Framework and Analogs of the Midland Basin and Central Basin Platform, Fasken Ranch area
•    3D Fault Framework within the Northern Midland and Delaware Basins and Implications for Early Permian Synorogenic Deformation and Deposition
•    Improved San Andres Flow‐Unit Development using Sedimentological Elements
•    Pore Network Characterization of Wolfbone, Wolfberry and Avalon
•    Mesozoic tectonics and impact on Mesozoic and Paleozoic sections

Gulf of Mexico Carbonate Reservoir Settings, Pore Systems, Fracture Character, and Margin Variability 
•    Regional Synthesis of Lower Cretaceous Platform Architecture around the GOM
•    Ramp Crest to Intrashelf Basin Facies Distribution and Stratigraphic Architecture of the Fort Stockton Embayment, Maverick Basin
•    Documentation of Lower Cretaceous (Albian) Large‐Scale Microbial Mounds and Associated Rudist Mounds
•    Upper Cretaceous Buda and Austin Chalks Regional Study

Fractured Carbonate Reservoir Characterization in Outcrop and Subsurface Analogs
•    Critical Stress State of Faults within the Permian Basin 
•    Finite‐element numerical modeling of early formed fractures in carbonates
•    Laramide Tectonic Reactivation of Pre‐existing Paleozoic Structures and the Impact on Cretaceous Fault Systems 
•    Fault‐Related Fractures in Carbonate Systems 
•    3D Multibeam Imaging Along the Leeward Margin of the Caicos Platform

Cenozoic Carbonate Platforms Systems, High‐Resolution Stratigraphy, and Structural Configuration of Shelf Margins
•    Miocene Carbonate Platform in the Mut and Adana Basins, south Turkey 
•    Shelf to Basin Analysis of Tertiary Mixed‐Carbonate Siliciclastic Depositional Systems of Northwest Shelf, Australia 
•    3D Multibeam Imaging Along the Leeward Margin of the Caicos Platform

Fundamental Overarching Research Projects within RCRL
•    Reservoir Properties Digital Database of GOM carbonates
•    Origin and Petrophysics of Tight Limestone and Dolomite Reservoirs
•    Carbonate Rock Mechanics and Acoustic Properties Research

The 2018 research directions are described in more detail in our 2018 Executive Summary and Prospectus.

2018 Executive Summary and Prospectus

2018 Executive Summary and Prospectus