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Developing the Next Generation Fracture Detection and Prediction Technology
Project Number

To improve characterization of natural gas reservoir flow properties leading to more cost-effective exploration and production strategies.


Advanced Resources International, Inc

Arlington, Virginia 22201


This project will develop an integrated suite of tools and techniques to serve as the next generation technology for the projection and modeling of low permeability fractured reservoirs. The suite incorporates geologic and reservoir engineering tools designed around principals of geomechanics, discrete natural fracture generation, and numerical simulation into a Windows™ based program. The suite integrates geologic setting, seismic fault data, and discrete natural fracture simulation and production data into a reservoir model.

Initially, geologic and seismic information will be used to develop a geomechanical model to predict stress distribution in the sub-surface. Predicted stress information will then be combined with statistical data derived from outcrop studies, borehole imagery, well analogs, and failure criteria to produce a stochastic, discrete natural fracture model for select reservoirs. Finally, the statistical fracture descriptions and predicted stress conditions are integrated into a dual permeability numerical simulation model. The process will yield a reservoir model which provides data for optimal well locations, production forecasting and economic projection. The model will be field tested in an active basin area.


The expected impact of this project is the development of an integrated approach to natural fracture detection and prediction that permits the quantitative description of natural fracture properties and ultimately leads to an improved characterization of (natural gas) reservoir flow properties. Successful demonstration in earlier work on this subject in the Piceance and Greater Green River Basin (GGRB) suggests that other methodologies may be possible to delineate natural fracture systems and further reduce exploration and development costs for low-permeability natural gas. Industry end-users include oil and gas industry throughout the Rocky Mountain Region and potential extrapolated benefits to the Midcontinent and Appalachian areas as well.

ARI has developed and validated the integrated software code using actual geologic and production data. A CD-ROM “Enhancing the Geomechanical Approach” has been produced. Field testing of the software at Piceance Basin, Colorado is complete and a final version is now available.

Current Status

and Remaining Tasks:
All phase I and phase II tasks are complete and final reports are completed. It has been decided that phase III of the project will not be continued due to unavailability of a suitable field site for testing, The Phase III report is also completed.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

Phase I – $274,674; Phase II – $479,072; Phase III – $299,731

Performer Contribution

Phase I – $243,320; Phase II – $1,632,000; Phase III – $2,358,000

Contact Information

NETL - William Gwilliam (304-285-4401 or
ARI – Randy Billingsly (303-295-2722 or

Pertinent Publications:
Billingsley, Randal L; Progress Towards an Integrated Approach to Understand Naturally Fractured Reservoirs; oral presentation at 2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Energy Technology Conference- Denver, CO, April 2003

Billingsley, Randal L., Eugene Williams, Vello Kuuskraa and William Gwilliam; Next Generation Integrated Natural Fracture Reservoir Prediction and Modeling Tools; Poster Session Presentation, AAPG Annual Meeting - Salt Lake City, UT, May 2003.