Completed Study
Scaling of Fractures in Carbonate Reservoirs and Relations with
Sequence-Stratigraphic Framework
Randall A. Marrett (Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin) and Stephen E. Laubach, principal investigators; assisted by Orlando J. Ortega, Julia F. Gale, and Faustino Monroy
  The goals of this project, funded by the Advanced Research Program of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, included characterization of fracture arrays in carbonate strata and relating the fracture characteristics to fluid-flow observations and bedding architecture of the sedimentary rocks. One study area for this project was in the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains of northeastern Mexico. Two field campaigns were carried out and results of outcrop analyses were compared with analogous work on core extracted from petroleum wells. We obtained core samples, associated oil-production data for several wells from Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), and completed fracture characterization. In addition, a study of fracture scaling in carbonate outcrops of Central Texas was completed. These studies show that fracture apertures in carbonate rocks follow power-law scaling across at least four orders of magnitude. These results have implications for targeting and simulating fractures in carbonate reservoirs.

Laubach, S. E., Marrett, Randall, and Olson, J., 2000, New directions in fracture characterization: The Leading Edge, v. 19, no. 7, p. 704–711.

Marrett, R., Ortega, O., and Kelsey, C., 1999, Extent of power-law scaling for natural fractures in rock: Geology, v. 27, no. 9, p. 799–802.

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