Completed Study
Using Microstructure Observations to Quantify Fracture Properties
and Improve Reservoir Simulations
Stephen E. Laubach, William R. Rossen (Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin), and Randall A. Marrett (Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin), principal investigators; Sigrid J. Clift, Jon E. Olson, and Larry W. Lake (Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin)
  Despite the critical role natural fractures commonly play in governing reservoir fluid flow, fractures are rarely accounted for adequately in reservoir simulations. This oversight results not only from the severe observational challenges that prevent satisfactory fracture characterization, but also the time limitations for discrete fracture simulation. This project, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, and implemented through BDM-Oklahoma, Inc., developed fracture characterization approaches and methods for incorporating this information into fractured reservoir simulators. It was a collaborative project among the Bureau, Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, and Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. The project, which ended in September 1998, resulted in several conceptual and practical breakthroughs in fracture analysis.
The research team successfully integrated fracture characterization and evaluation methods developed during the project in several case studies and presented results in workshops in Austin, Midland, and Denver.  

Rossen, W. R. , Y. Gu, and L. W. Lake, 2000, Connectivity and Permeability in Fracture Networks Obeying Power-Law Statistics, SPE Paper 59720.

Laubach, S. E., Marrett, Randall, Rossen, C., Olson, J., Lake, L. W., Ortega, Orlando, Gu, Yaguang, and Reed, R. M., 1999, Using microstructure observations to quantify fracture properties and improve reservoir simulations: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, final report prepared for U.S. Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, under subcontract no. G4S51732, contract DE-AC22-94-PC91008, 493 p.

For more information, please contact Steve Laubach, principal investigator. Telephone 512-471-6303; e-mail
February 2003