Below you'll find links to active consortia and research groups studying geology across the world.
E-mail us if you'd like your
research group to be featured.
- Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC) at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin
- From their website: The Advanced Energy Consortium will facilitate pre-competitive research in micro- and nanotechnology materials and sensors that
have the potential to create a positive and disruptive change in the recovery of petroleum and gas from new and existing reservoirs.
The consortium's primary goal is to develop intelligent subsurface micro and nanosensors that can be injected into oil and gas reservoirs to
help characterize the space in three dimensions and improve the recovery of existing and new hydrocarbon resources. By leveraging existing surface
infrastructure, the technology will minimize environmental impact. The consortium also believes that there is near term potential to increase the
recovery rate in existing reservoirs by exploiting the unique chemical and physical properties of materials at the nano scale.
Director: C. Thomas and M. Ahmadian
- Bakken Research Consortium at Colorado School of Mines
- From their website: A research consortium to investigate: Petroleum System Approach, Bakken & Three Forks Facies, Stratigraphy
Mineralogy, Source Rocks, Fracture Analysis and Trends, Petrophysics, Trapping Mechanisms, Field Studies, Geo models, Reservoir Model & RF Studies, and
Director: Dr. Steve Sonnenberg
- Basin and Petroleum System Modeling Group (BPSM) at Stanford University
- From their website: BPSM is a recognized center of excellence for training and research in the geohistories of sedimentary basins and petroleum
systems. The main goal of BPSM is to train the next generation of geoscientists in the latest geochemical, visualization, and quantitative numerical modeling
technologies. BPSM was started in 2008 by a group of experienced geoscientists who recognized the growing demand by industry, the service sector, and academia
for graduates with expertise in this field. The program is based on a comprehensive curriculum designed to enrich the academic experience of our students.
Director: Dr. Stephan A. Graham
- Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory (CSL) at the University of Miami
- From their website: The Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory conducts integrated research in sedimentology, stratigraphy, geochemistry,
and geophysics basic research to better understand the processes controlling carbonate systems and reservoirs. To reach this goal, the CSL is
comparing modern and ancient depositional systems, outcrop and subsurface data (reflection seismic, ground penetrating radar, core and logs), and
theory and experiments. This approach enables us to relate processes and product in the rock record. For example, sedimentologic and hydrodynamic processes in the modern help understand the development of facies, facies belts and their distribution in the ancient strata. Likewise the chemical and physical processes that cause the geophysical properties of subsurface strata are assessed in the laboratory measurements and experiments. Most importantly, the integration of lithologic, seismic, log and geochemical data with sedimentologic, stratigraphic and diagenetic rock attributes provides the base for a comprehensive understanding of the rock record that can be mined to address fundamental scientific questions.
Research at the Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory has three main themes:
- Carbonate Systems and Reservoir Characterization
- Geophysics and Petrophysics of Carbonates
- Geochemistry and Diagenesis of Carbonates
Director: Dr. Gregor P. Eberli
- Exploration Development, Geophysics, Education & Research (EDGER) at the University of Texas at Austin
- From their prospectus:
The UT-Austin EDGER Forum is a consortium of petroleum producing and service companies focused on
educating graduate students and conducting research on development and application of geophysical methods to
support exploration and development of petroleum reserves. The Forum also coordinates education and
technology transfer between producing and service companies and academia.
RESEARCH: Pushing the limits of seismic resolution
In the past decade, efforts have increased to search for hydrocarbons in difficult areas and in unconventional and
fractured reservoirs. This search prompted acquisition of multi-azimuth and wide-azimuth datasets and
development of processing algorithms using more complete physics of wave propagation. Currently the primary
focus of EDGER is on advancement in quantitative seismic interpretation (QSI). This involves development of
advanced techniques for high-resolution estimates of reservoir properties by integrating disparate datasets
observed at multiple scales. The scope of research encompasses three major themes:
- Development of new techniques for seismic imaging and inversion
- Development of new rock physics models and adaptation of existing rock physics models to a particular
field under investigation
- Integration of seismic inversion and rock physics models using novel statistical approaches and validation
with field datasets
Our imaging and inversion efforts include development of new theory and numerical algorithms for forward
seismic modeling that are computationally efficient and accurate. These are used in full waveform imaging and
inversion. Inversion for reservoir parameter estimation will be carried out using hybrid Markov Chain Monte
Carlo methods. Effective medium models are being tested by computing the seismic responses of realistic rock
models based on distributions of rock properties. We are developing new data integration techniques using
geostatistical methods and Bayesian analysis.
Director: M. Sen, K. Spikes, and R. Tatham
- Gulf of Mexico Basin Depositional Synthesis at the University of Texas at Austin
- From their website: The UT Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis Project (GBDS) is an ongoing, industry-supported, comprehensive
synthesis of Cenozoic and Mesozoic fill of the entire Gulf of Mexico basin. The results are distributed as a digital data base that
is updated regularly. The project has led to major new contributions to the understanding of the depositional history and framework
of the Gulf of Mexico Basin (see bibliography below). The project has focused on refining sequence correlations between the continental
margin and deep basin stratigraphies, mapping sedimentary transport axes and paleogeographies through time, defining the evolving roles
of submarine canyons, retrogradational margins, and shelf-margin delta systems in localizing in time and space sand transport to the slope
and abyssal plain, and better understanding regional controls on reservoir facies and their deposition.
Principal Investigators: William E. Galloway & John Snedden
Project Coordinator: Patricia E. Ganey-Curry
- Mudrock Systems Research Laboratory (MSRL) at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University
of Texas at Austin
- From their website: Devted to integrated, multidisciplinary research in mudrock systems. Key research elements include:
Sedimentology: facies character, distribution and their controls
Stratigraphy: regional and reservoir-scale facies architecture
Diagenesis: clay and silica diagenesis, compaction, cementation, and fracturing
Pore systems: imaging, size, abundance, and distribution
Petrophysics: wireline log calibration and upscaling
Organic geochemistry: kerogen type and distribution
Inorganic geochemistry: chemostratigraphy, depositional and diagenetic controls on elemental composition
Hydrocarbon chemistry: origin, storage, distribution, saturation, and flow
Fluid flow: measurement and modeling of nano-scale permeability and flow
Rock physics: controls on variations in rock strength
Engineering: analysis of completion practices, and their relation to rock attributes
Senior Research Scientists: Dr. Stephen Ruppel, Dr. Kitty L. Milliken, & Dr. Robert G. Loucks
- Niobrara Consortium at Colorado School of Mines
- From their website:
A research consortium to investigate:
Petroleum System Approach, Niobrara Facies and Structure, Ichnology, Rock Properties, Mineralogy, Source Rocks, Fracture Analysis and Trends,
Petrophysics, Trapping Mechanisms, Field Studies (Silo, Buck Peak), Geo models, Reservoir Model, 3-D Seismic
Director: Dr. Steve Sonnenberg
- PLATES Project at the University of Texas at Austin
- From their website: A program of research into plate tectonics and geologic reconstructions, the PLATES Project is
supported by an industry consortium. Our primary objectives are: to model past and present plate movement by constructing accurate, high resolution global,
regional or local plate models; to compile comprehensive databases by applying geographical, geological and geophysical data to plate models;
to develop plate motion computer software used to manipulate and display plate models, reconstructions, and databases; and to apply plate motion model used
to examine geological problems of global and regional extent.
PLATES Scientists: Dr. Lawrence Lawver, Dr. Ian Dalziel, & Dr. Ian Norton
- Reservoir Distribution and Characterization of Mid-continent Mississippian Carbonates: A Major Unconventional Resource Play at Oklahoma State University
- From their abstract: Carbonate reservoirs are characterized by significant heterogeneity at a number of scales, ranging from exploration to production and enhanced
production scale. An understanding of how primary depositional facies, diagenesis, and the sequence stratigraphic framework control the
development of pores in carbonate rocks, and how the variation in pore architecture influences reservoir permeability is a fundamental process
in the accurate characterization of carbonate reservoirs. In addition, with the ubiquitous use of geostatistical models to define and predict 3-D
reservoir architecture in the subsurface, it has become increasingly important to accurately define the probable geometric distribution of
potential reservoirs and seals at multiple scales to provide geologically-based, three dimensional reservoir models that can be used to develop
dynamic reservoir simulation and flow models. To effectively do this, the challenge is to integrate data on the primary depositional
environment (facies, probable geometry, and susceptibility to diagenetic modification), the sequence stratigraphic framework, and the
petrophysical characteristics of carbonates at multiple scales utilizing a combination of core, wireline logs, 3D seismic and the incorporation of
both modern and ancient analogs.
Mississippian carbonates of the Mid-Continent have been highly productive for several decades but with a move towards horizontal rather than
vertical drilling, the internal heterogeneity of the unit has become even more apparent. A combination of outcrop and core work illustrates a
distinct hierarchy in shallowing upward packages within most Mississippian reservoir units, with cycles ranging from a few meters thick, to
10's of meters, and larger. Understanding the sequence stratigraphic framework at the meter and tens of meter scale will aid the producer in
identifying key producing intervals and also enhance the prediction of internal flow units and seals.
Director: G.M. Grammer
- Sedimentary Basins Research Group at the University of Utah
- From their website: The Sedimentary Basins Research Group investigates the sedimentary record as
it relates to basin evolution. We focus on questions related to
sedimentation, tectonics, climate, as well as energy and petroleum
Director: Dr. Cari Johnson
- Seismology and Active Tectonics Research Group at the University of Utah
- From their website: The University of Utah seismology and active tectonics research group (SATRG) focuses
on studies of earthquakes and volcanoes, including serving as the Base of Operations for the Yellowstone Volcano
Observatory seismic and GPS array under the direction Professor Robert B. Smith. Our program is a partner with
EarthScope of the special EarthScope Magmatic and Crustal Extension GPS and borehole strainmeter arrays focused
on the Yellowstone magmatic and tectonic field. Our program integrates topics in earthquake seismology, crustal
deformation and earthquake hazards using modern seismic data and GPS instrumentation. Our group also operates
the University of Utah GPS array on the Wasatch Front, UT, used to study active normal faults in conjunction
with EarthScope. Our group typically consists of 2 Post Doctoral Associates, 2-3 graduate students. The University
of Utah Seismograph Stations supports the operation the Yellowstone earthquake and GPS networks and the Wasatch
Front GPS array. SATRG began as a the Integrative Seismology and Tectonics Research group in 1985 and has
evolved into a broadly focused research and operations group that continues to integrate geophysical and
geological methods on common earth problems.
Director: Dr. Robert B. Smith
- Shell SUTUR Program for Unconventional Oil and Gas Research
- From their website: In September 2011, Shell and The University of Texas at Austin signed a 5-year agreement to invest $7.5 million to
address short- and long-term challenges facing the growing worldwide unconventional oil and gas industry. The Bureau will manage the new Shell-UT
Program on Unconventional Resources (SUTUR)with participation across the campus, including geoscience, engineering, economics, business, environmental,
and regulatory affairs. "This agreement marks an important milestone in Shell's commitment to continually research and develop innovative technology
that will help to meet global demands by bringing more energy resources to market," said Shell President Marvin Odum. "We chose to collaborate with
UT because it brings together an extraordinary amount of talent from both organizations that will push the technological envelope in the field of
developing even the most challenging hydrocarbons safely and responsibly." Bureau Director Scott Tinker thinks that the program will have a
far-reaching impact. "Increased production of shale gas and other unconventional hydrocarbons could significantly enhance U.S. energy security,"
Tinker said, "since these are largely available, affordable, and reliable domestic energy sources that contribute directly to the U.S. and global
economy." For more information, read the press release and stories in the Austin American-Statesman and Houston Chronicle. For information please
contact Scott Tinker, Michael Young or Eric Potter.
Director: Dr. Scott Tinker
- Stable Isotope Laboratory (SIL) at the University of Miami
- From their website: Research in the Stable Isotope Laboratory at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
centers on the application of stable isotopic tracers to geologic, biologic, and environmental problems. Projects range from paleo-oceanographic
studies of climate change in the Holocene to modern-day analyses of pollution impacts on corals and coastal resources of Florida. Faculty, staff,
and students are conducting research on a global scale including extensive research in the Florida Everglades and Florida Bay, The Bahamas, The
Dominican Republic, Africa, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Australia, and Europe. In addition to measuring the stables isotopes of H,C,N, and O we have
ICP-OES, XRD, IC, and GC-MS equipment.
Director: Peter K. Stewart
- Utah Tomography & Modeling/Migration Consortium (UTAM) at the University of Utah
- From their website: The mission of the Utah Tomography and Modeling/Migration (UTAM) consortium is to develop innovative tomography, modeling and migration methods for exploration geophysics. The consortium started in 1987
and consists of graduate students, research scientists, and faculty members.
Director: Dr. Gerard T. Schuster
- Vaca Muerta Research Consortium at Colorado School of Mines
- From their website: The Vaca Muerta Formation in the Neuquén Basin is a world class source rock. This integrated project proposes to characterize the source rock potential of the basin, characterize conventional and unconventional accumulations in terms of porosity, permeability and pressure, map fracture systems, create drilling, completion and fracture stimulation models for the basin, and develop geologic, petrophysical, and reservoir models.
The total organic carbon content of the Vaca Muerta ranges from 2 – 6 wt.% and the type of kerogen is Type I and II (sapropelic – oil prone). The shale interval ranges in thickness from 300 to 1300 ft. A part of the shale interval is present in the oil window and in deeper parts of the basin the shale is in the gas window.
The Neuquén Basin has been producing for over 100 years and is currently being explored for unconventional resources.
Director: Dr. Steve Sonnenberg
- Volcanic Margins Research Consortium at Durham University
- From their website: The Volcanic Margins Research Consortium (VMRC) provides the petroleum industry with training and research expertise in volcanology,
sedimentology and structural geology of volcanic margins. The consortium comprises academic staff at the universities of Durham, Glasgow
and Birmingham, and industry partners involved in the development of hydrocarbon prospects in the North Atlantic Igneous Province and the Faroes-Shetland Basin. Training takes place during workshops, in the laboratory and on field courses and each industrial partner has the
opportunity to fund PhD projects through the member universities.
Project Leader: Richard Davies