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 2020 research activities will focus on the following projects: 

Permian shelf-to-basin stratigraphy of the in the Delaware and Midland Basins

  • Stratigraphic architecture of Wolfcampianto Guadalupianplatforms, shelf margins, slopes and basin fill of the Midland and Delaware Basins
  • Characterization of mixed carbonate-siliciclastic slope to basin deposits in the Permian Basin and outcrop analogs of the Sierra Diablo, Guadalupe Mts., and Ely-Bird Spring (EBS) Basin, SE California
  • Micropetrography and pore network characterization of Wolfcampian, Bone Spring and Avalon intervals in cores

Austin Chalk lithofacies, mechanical and geochemical stratigraphy, fracture and reservoir performance characterization

  • Regional depositional model of the Austin Chalk Group
  • Lithofacies characterization of Austin Chalk in Texas and Louisiana
  • Geochemical and mechanical stratigraphy of the Austin Chalk and transitional Eagle Ford
  • Natural and hydraulic fracture impact on Austin Chalk reservoir performance in south Texas

Mesozoic carbonate reservoir settings, margin variability and pore systems

  • Shelf to basin architecture of Eastern and Central GOM
  • Comparison of Cambrian, late Carboniferous and Cretaceous marine microbiolite and microbial-dominated boundstone development
  • Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous slope and fan in outcrop (SE France, Portugal) and subsurface

Cenozoic carbonate platforms, high-resolution stratigraphy, and structural configuration

  • Mapping and characterization of grainstoneswithin the MIS 5 system, Bahamian Platform to examine faciespatterns and predictive diagenetic evolution
  • Subsidence controls on Miocene carbonate platform in the Mutand Adana Basins, s. Turkey
  • Shelf-to-basin seismic analysis of Tertiary mixed-carbonate siliciclastic depositional systems of Northwest Shelf, Australia

Modeling carbonate systems

  • Improved San Andres flow-unit development using sedimentological elements
  • Fault-related fracture zones of the San Andres-Grayburg, Brokeofff Mountains, NM
  • 3D modeling of slope and basin facies and reservoir and geomechanical properties, Delaware Basin

Database Updates

  • Searchable Catalog of RCRL Presentations and Extended Abstracts (new)
  • Digital Outcrop Catalog (coming in 2020)
  • RCRL Core Workshop Database to ArcGIS (coming in 2020)
  • Austin Chalk Core Properties to ArcGIS (updates)

The 2020 research directions are described in more detail in our 2020 Executive Summary and Prospectus.

2018 Executive Summary and Prospectus

2020 Executive Summary and Prospectus