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 28 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: 

Platform Scale Stratigraphy and  Geomorphology

  • Platform-to-Basin Architecture of Lower Permian Carbonates in the Glass Mountains
  • Morphometric Analysis of Carbonate Slope Deposits
  • Cretaceous Carbonate Platform – Regional Framework and Link to Aptian Ramp and Albian Intrashelf Basin
  • Miocene Carbonate Platform in the Mut and Adana Basins, South Turkey
  • Tertiary Temperate to Tropical Platform of the NW Shelf of Australia

Reservoir Architecture and Intra-Play Evolution

  • Integrated Stratigraphic/Structural Framework of the Guadalupe Mountains
  • Syndepositional Faulting and Stratigraphic Architecture, Seven Rivers and Yates Formations
  • Seismic and Stratigraphic Architecture of Leonardian Prograding Margin and Slope
  • West Caicos - Strandplain Grainstone Depositional Patterns
  • Geomodeling of Karst-Collapse Systems
  • Reservoir characterization of the Clear Fork, Goldsmith Field, C Basin Platform
  • Lower Cretaceous large-scale microbial mounds, Segovia
  • Shelf interior mixed evaporite-carbonate-siliciclastic system of the Permian Seven Rivers

Pore Network Characterization

  • Origin and petrophysics of tight limestone and dolomite reservoirs
  • Micro CT Scan and other ultra high-resolution imaging of micropores in carbonates
  • Dual pore network research and NMR analysis

Structural and Geomechanical Characterization

  • Rock Properties Evolution in Carbonate Systems (SACROC, West Caicos, others)
  • Fracture modeling  and collapse in steep margin systems
  • Quantify effect of cementation (amount and style) on mechanical property of early lithified grainstone
  • Compare pore type effect on dynamic and static mechanical moduli

Geochemical/Chemostratigraphic Analysis of Carbonate Systems

  • Chemolithostratigraphy of the Upper Cret Buda and Austin Chalk
  • Reservoir quality, chemostrat of OAE-1B
  • Research in carbonate chemofacies
  • Age constraints of modern facies West Caicos

The 2017 research directions are described in more details in our 2017 Executive Summary and Prospectus.

2017 Executive Summary and Prospectus

2017 Executive Summary and Prospectus