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9:00 am - BEG Friday Seminar Series

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 9, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 9, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Bruce Cutright
Project Manager, STARR Geothermal Research Program
Bureau of Economic Geology

The Bureau of Economic Geology was at the forefront of geothermal research in deep sediments throughout the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Lower oil prices and a national emphasis on wind and solar energy led to a decline in interest in geothermal research at the Bureau. Nationally and internationally, however, there continued to be dynamic programs for development of high temperature magmatic sources of geothermal energy so that today, there are over 3,400 MWs of installed geothermal generating capacity in the United States, and over 13,000 MWs of installed capacity worldwide. The SMU Geothermal Lab led by David Blackwell maintained an active and productive research program during the interim period of the 1990s to 2008 and fortunately, beginning in 2009, the Bureau joined with SMU and with the Arizona State Geological Survey to revive and expand geothermal research at the Bureau. What has been accomplished over the last six years? Most importantly, with funding provided by the US Department of Energy, the Bureau of Economic Geology participated in populating the National Geothermal Data System (http://geothermaldata.org/). This is a catalog of documents and datasets that provide information nationwide on geothermal energy resources. SMU also maintains a data access node that can be found at (http://geothermal.smu.edu/gtda/). The purposes of developing the data sets were to assist private developers in reducing risk at the exploration stage of geothermal energy projects. SMU and The Bureau together provided the largest contribution of geothermal information to this national program, more than any other state.

Continuing research at the Bureau has focused on analyzing the information contained in the newly accessible electronic files and in understanding the trends and anomalies that are beginning to reveal themselves using computer-aided statistical analysis. Further, and building on reservoir analysis methodologies from the petroleum industry, we are assembling information on formation thicknesses and projected yields for those zones that contain fluids sufficient for geothermal energy production. The bottom hole temperature dataset has also proved valuable to other researchers at the Bureau and in particular, has assisted in the analyses ongoing within the Sloan Shale Gas project. In cooperation with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories we have completed a project looking at the efficiencies of using supercritical carbon dioxide as a heat extraction fluid. The proposed climate mitigation program, of carbon sequestration in deep geological repositories, is a costly but may be a viable program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, but if these same volumes of carbon dioxide are compressed into a supercritical state, and used as a heat extraction fluid, the efficiency of the production of geothermal energy can be increased by over 50 percent while at the same time permanently sequestrating large volumes of carbon dioxide. The economics of this approach may be sufficiently attractive to overcome the added cost of carbon capture; this is an active area of research now, both here at the Bureau and in the UT Petroleum Engineering Department.

The Bureau is also engaged in assessing the economic competitiveness of geothermal energy in the State with support from the STARR program. Geothermal energy production has several advantages over wind and solar as geothermal is not intermittent in nature and can serve as base load power supply. Further, land use per installed megawatt is significantly less with geothermal and there are no carbon emissions. Capital costs per installed megawatt are generally higher for geothermal per name plate installed megawatt when compared with solar and wind while the Levelized cost of energy is generally less for geothermal. Solar and wind power generation LCOE do not include the cost of system integration or the additional costs to address the intermittency of the source. Coal and natural gas are still less costly in cents per kilowatt-hour, but if the additional cost of carbon capture or carbon sequestration are included, geothermal energy production then becomes the most cost effective method of power generation of renewable or conventional energy sources.

The following have provided substantial contribution to this presentation:

William Ambrose, PI for STARR Oil and Gas and a source of Reservoir Information and Parameters
Svetlana Ikonnikova, PI Sloan Project and a source of economic insight
Bob Hardage, Geophysics applied to thermal boundaries
Daniel Zafar, Research Assistant
Tracy Terrall, Research Assistant
Harold Rogers, GIS
Dave Blackwell, Maria Richards and Cathy Chickering at SMU Geothermal Lab

9:00 am - BEG Friday Seminar Series

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 16, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 16, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Marianne C. Walck, Ph.D.
Director - Geoscience, Climate, and Consequence Effects Center
Sandia National Laboratories

Marianne will present an overview of the SubTER Crosscutting Initiative currently being developed by the Department of Energy. The Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration (SubTER) Crosscut addresses major technical and socio-political issues regarding energy production and storage and the management of energy waste streams in the subsurface. The Energy Department supports interagency crosscutting initiatives like SubTER to facilitate R&D and policy activities and enable programs with common technical challenges to work together toward solutions.

4:00 am - Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Elizabeth Catlos

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Elizabeth Catlos

  Start: January 22, 2015 at 4:00 am     End: January 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

9:00 am - BEG Friday Seminar Series

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 23, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 23, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Tim Dixon
Manager of Technical Programme and Manager CCS and Regulatory Affairs
IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG)

The way that Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) is viewed is changing. The recent IPCC AR5 report’s analysis provides strong justification for the role of CCS, in addition to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) assessments of low carbon technologies in future energy systems. It seems CCS is becoming increasingly important to the finance sector also. The investment in and value of fossil energy reserves and resources appears to be of increasing concern to stakeholders, with the Bank of England launching a review on this topic in the perspective of stranded assets and risks to financial stability. All of this comes together under the UNFCCC and the work for a future climate agreement in Paris in 2015. IEA has also looked at how different UNFCCC mechanisms and funds could support CCS activities. Scientific research at BEG and elsewhere has played a role in this evolution of CCS’s role in climate change. With ambitions for a new climate agreement in Paris in 2015, future emissions mitigation and climate adaptation needs along with funding mechanisms will utilize such scientific information increasingly into the future. An update on CCS and science in this wide perspective of the UNFCCC will be presented.

10:30 am - UTIG Seminar Series: Joel Le Calvez, Schlumberger

UTIG Seminar Series: Joel Le Calvez, Schlumberger

  Start: January 23, 2015 at 10:30 am     End: January 23, 2015 at 11:30 am
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Jamie Austin, jamie@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0450
 URL:Event Link
"Applications of Real-Time Microseismic Monitoring – Intregration of Various Technologies to Improve Stimulation Treatments?"


Predictive models commonly used by reservoir and production engineers to estimate recovery in stimulated wells are based on assumptions that naturally lead to oversimplified fracture geometry. Borehole-based and surface-based real-time hydraulic fracture monitoring using induced microseismicity are well established techniques. Among other things, these techniques are used to map developing hydraulically-induced fracture networks during stimulation campaigns and allows engineers to calibrate, with improved accuracy, various production models. Following a basic review of the microseismic monitoring technologies and the need for high-quality geophysics when acquiring and processing data, we highlight the pros and cons of one vs. several monitoring arrays and discuss the notions of sensitivity and vector fidelity as well as accelerometers vs. geophones. We present the results of a few microseismic monitoring campaigns performed in various environments highlighting the variability of the induced fracture systems to be expected during a stimulation or a re-stimulation program. We document how local stress field can vary along a wellbore trajectory, how perforation strategies can be developed to maximize production or well placement be impacted by microseismic observations. We also illustrate that it is critical to integrate surface seismic data and microseismic data to detect potential geo-hazards unresolved by surface seismic data. These techniques are also used to confirm interpreted fault geometries and allow on-the-fly changes in fracture stimulation design to maximize the reservoir volume effectively contacted by the stimulation treatment. Finally we will discuss leading-edge approaches involving downhole, surface microseismic and cross-well data that have been applied to improve our understanding of velocity modeling, anisotropy, attenuation as well as analyze fracture network development and proppant placement.

12:00 pm - Soft Rock Seminar - Dr. Jon Blundy, University of Bristol

Soft Rock Seminar - Dr. Jon Blundy, University of Bristol

  Start: January 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm     End: January 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm
 Location:JGB 3.222

4:00 pm - Tech Sessions Speaker Series: PhD Talk

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: PhD Talk

  Start: January 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm     End: January 27, 2015 at 5:00 pm

12:00 pm - UTIG Seminar: Arthur Weglein, University of Houston

UTIG Seminar: Arthur Weglein, University of Houston

  Start: January 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm     End: January 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Ian Dalziel, ian@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0431
"Identifying and responding to prioritized and pressing challenges in exploration seismology"

The current frontier drilling success rate in the deep water Gulf of Mexico, of one in ten, at upwards of 250 million dollars per drill, reflects and exemplifies the magnitude and significance of the challenges we face in exploration seismology. The GOM deep water drilling success rate points to the gap between our collective seismic capability today, and the level of increased effectiveness that will be needed to respond to that challenge and to move towards significantly reducing, and filling that gap.

All scientific methods and algorithms have assumptions and prerequisites. Methods are effective when their assumptions are satisfied. Challenges arise in exploration seismology when the prerequisites and assumptions behind seismic methods are not satisfied, and that can contribute to dry hole exploration drilling or locating suboptimal development wells. To our thinking, there are two ways to respond to that challenge: (1) find new and more effective ways to satisfy the requirements of current methods, and (2) develop fundamentally new methods that can deliver ( and to go beyond) what current seismic methods can provide, without requiring, for example, the prerequisites, and subsurface information that current methods frequently require to be effective. We adopt one or the other of these two approaches for different links and steps in the seismic processing chain.

Many seismic methods require subsurface information to be effective. As the industry trend moves to more remote and complex and complicated off-shore and on-shore plays that requirement for accurate subsurface information can become increasing difficult , or impossible, to satisfy. We have produced the only comprehensive and consistent strategy where every single step in the seismic processing chain, and every single seismic goal and objective, can be achieved directly and without subsurface information. Among seismic processing objectives are identifying and utilizing the reference wave-field, de-ghosting, multiple removal, depth imaging, target identification and target changes, in a static or time lapse sense, , and Q compensation without needing or knowing Q. The projects within our program address off-shore and on-shore seismic E&P processing, for marine towed streamer, OBS, and on-shore surface and subsurface( buried) measurements.

In this presentation , we will describe that overall strategy, and will present what has been delivered with stand-alone capability to-date, methods that were originally considered radical and greeted with widespread skepticism, and are now considered mainstream and conventional within the seismic processing tool-box. Equally , if not more important, we will describe significant fundamental and high priority open issues, and research opportunities, and our plans going forward.



4:00 pm - Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Peter Flemings

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Peter Flemings

  Start: January 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm     End: January 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm

9:00 am - BEG Friday Seminar Series

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 30, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 30, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Patrick J. Mickler
Research Associate
Bureau of Economic Geology

An important side effect of hydraulic fracturing (HF) in shale gas wells is the production of saline flow-back water. This water often contains total dissolved solid (TDS) concentrations ?100,000 ppm which requires expensive treatment and disposal of the produced water. Possible origins of the high TDS content include: 1) Mixing of fresh HF-fluids with highly saline pore fluids in the targeted shale. 2) Migration and mixing of saline brines by newly-formed fractures into the HF-water from neighboring formations. 3) Water rock interactions between the targeted shale and HF-water that include mineral dissolution, pyrite oxidation buffered by carbonate dissolution and cation exchange in newly hydrated clay minerals. These possibilities are not mutually exclusive and all may be operating to alter flow-back water chemistry. This study will examine geochemical reactions between shale and manufactured HF-waters using sealed bench top experiments and high temperature/high pressure autoclave experiments. The manufactured HF-waters were produced by mixing NaCl, KCl and CaCl2 salts with De-ionized water. During experiments, elements that show large increases in aqueous concentrations are Na, Cl, Ca and SO4. Simultaneous increases in Na and Cl, coupled with high Cl/Br ratios, suggest halite dissolution rather than pore space brine is responsible for Na and Cl concentrations. Simultaneous increase in Ca and SO4 suggest anhydrite dissolution. SEM imaging shows that anhydrite crystals are usually embedded with the framework mineral grains. Molar comparisons between Na-Cl and Ca-SO4 suggest Ca is preferentially removed from solution and Na is added to solution through interactions with clay minerals. Cation exchange and desorption during clay hydration likely has a secondary effect on the observed geochemical trend. Ca is sorbed and Na is released preferentially resulting in a Ca depletion seen on the Ca vs. SO4 plot and a Na excess seen in the Na vs. Cl plot. Although this study does not consider mixing of HF-water with formation brines, the identified water-rock reactions may provide insights into observed flow-back water chemistry. Overall the addition of friction reducers did not have a significant effect on elemental release amounts. The only exception is the polyacrylamide additive (PAM2) which has a high NH4+ blank that enhanced cation exchange in the clay minerals.

10:30 am - UTIG Seminar Series: Walter Roest, Ifremer

UTIG Seminar Series: Walter Roest, Ifremer

  Start: January 30, 2015 at 10:30 am     End: January 30, 2015 at 11:30 am
 Location:PRC, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196, Rm 1.603, Austin, TX 78758
 Contact:Larry Lawver, lawver@ig.utexas.edu, 512-471-0433
 URL:Event Link
"Combining Extended Continental Shelf Exploration and Scientific Interests: The Case of the Demarara Plateau Offshore French Guiana"


The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea allows coastal states to obtain sovereign rights over the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin. The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf established under the Convention examines submissions made by coastal States. The French national program established to make those submissions, EXTRAPLAC, started in 2002 with funding from the French Government. The program is let by Ifremer, with as principle partners the SHOM (Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Navy), IPEV (French Polar Institute) and IFP Energies Nouvelles. Seven submissions, of which 3 are joint with neighboring states, have been made thus far, concerning areas off metropolitan France and its overseas territories. In total, over 360 days of ship time was needed to explore these vast and dispersed areas, in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The data collected include multibeam bathymetry, seismic reflection and some rock sampling. In this presentation we will describe how the EXTRAPLAC cruise offshore French Guiana (GUYAPLAC, R/V L’Atalante, 2003) let to new scientific results for this transform type margin, in particular in the area of the Demerara Plateau. Results include the discovery of gigantic submarine land slides in the subsurface, and associated fluid escape features on the seafloor. A scientific collaboration between the EXTRAPLAC team and academia let to a follow-up cruise proposal to further explore this unique continental margin: The IGUANES cruise, let by Lies Loncke of the University of Perpignan, took place in April/May 2013 on the same research vessel, using a higher resolution multibeam echosounder, high resolution seismic reflection and sediment cores. In particular, we were able to confirm and better map significant submarine landslide scarps, aligned pockmark fields and sediment waves that are likely associated with strong bottom currents and/or the submarine landslides. We will also briefly describe some of the highlight results of other EXTRAPLAC related cruises to show how the EXTRAPLAC program has resulted in new knowledge in remote frontier areas that had very little modern data coverage.