Completed Study



Final Report (PDF)

Multidisciplinary Imaging Rock Properties in Carbonate Reservoirs for Flow Unit Targeting

Stephen C. Ruppel, principal investigator; James W. Jennings, Jr., Rebecca H. Jones, Jeff A. Kane, Charles Kerans, F. Jerry Lucia, Fred P. Wang, Hongliu Zeng, Dallas B. Dunlap, and Joseph S. Yeh; assisted by Shawn Fullmer and Liying Xu


The goals of this project, which was funded by the Department of Energy and completed in 2004, were to develop new, more cost-effective ways to define and recover oil remaining in existing carbonate reservoirs in the United States. Specific objectives were to develop and test new methodologies for improving imaging, measuring, modeling, and predicting reservoir properties in carbonate oil reservoirs. The focus of the project was the Fullerton Clear Fork (Permian) oil reservoir in the Permian Basin, which, like many carbonate reservoirs in the United States, exhibits low oil recovery efficiency despite more than 60 years of production activity.

Significant research accomplishments include (1) development of improved techniques for defining inter- and extrawell porosity distribution using 3-D seismic impedance inversion models, (2) application of geostatistical methods for distributing wireline porosity in 3-D space, (3) utilization of a high-resolution geological cycle framework in construction of a full-field reservoir model, and (4) depiction of remaining oil distribution based on 60-year flow simulation of water and oil movement in the reservoir.

Results of the study have already been applied in the Fullerton reservoir to define optimal drilling locations for incremental oil recovery; 14 new wells are currently being drilled on the basis of combined geological, geophysical, and engineering analysis of the reservoir conducted during the project. Study findings are also being used by the field operator, ExxonMobil, as a basis for examining the feasibility of CO2 injection for improved recovery. The products of this research also have immediate potential application to improving approaches to imaging and recovering remaining oil in other Clear Fork reservoirs in the Permian: a total resource target of more than 10 billion barrels.


Contact Stephen C. Ruppel at 512-471-2965 or e-mail him at for information.

July 2005