Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resources Program)
Evaluation of Fracture Systems and Stress Fields within the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale and Characterization of Associated Water-Disposal Reservoirs: Appalachian Basin
Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin
University of Pittsburgh, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Jeter Field Service, RARE Technology, AscendGeo, AOA Geophysics, Inc., Austin Powder Company, Seismic Source
The Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Pittsburgh, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Jeter Field Service, RARE Technology, AscendGeo, AOA Geophysics Inc., Austin Powder Company, and Seismic Source will form an industry-university team to show how multicomponent seismic data acquired with emerging cableless data-acquisition technology and with new accelerated-weight impactors and vector-explosive seismic sources can be used to evaluate fracture systems that control production of shale gas systems, quantify stress fields and elastic moduli that influence hydrofrac performance in shale reservoirs, and measure the capacity of porous sandstone units to accept flow-back water produced during hydrofrac operations. Industry cost sharing will be provided by each of the industry team members. The study will focus on the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin and on younger Pennsylvanian and Mississippian sandstones and conglomerates that are potential water-disposal reservoirs. Rock physics concepts will be combined with compressional-wave (P-wave) and shear-wave (S-wave) seismic attributes to determine fracture and stress properties of producing shales and to characterize the capacity of targeted sandstone and conglomerate intervals to accept and retain produced waters.
Multicomponent seismic data will be acquired using both cable-based and cableless data-acquisition technologies to confirm that cableless operations simplify seismic data acquisition and produce optimal-quality seismic data at reduced cost. Seismic data will be acquired with conventional vertical vibrators and with two new seismic source technologies: an accelerated-weight inclined impactor and a shot hole explosive that generates an oriented horizontal force vector. A key research objective will be to evaluate the quality of S-wave data produced by these new source concepts relative to the converted-shear mode produced by a vertical vibrator. One or more wells will be drilled to obtain subsurface calibration data and to confirm research findings. The key deliverable will be documentation of the value of multicomponent seismic technology for exploiting shale-gas systems. This documentation will be distributed through a Technology Transfer Workshop at The University of Pittsburgh, as well as through publications, Web sites, and technical reports. The study should impact shale-gas operations across the entire Appalachian Basin.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Bob A. Hardage