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Oklahoma State University

OSU researchers team up with Continental Resources on $19.9M grant to study improved petroleum recovery from the Caney Shale in southwestern Oklahoma

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Top row (L to R): Drs. Mileva Radonjic, Jim Puckette and Geir Hareland Bottom row (L to R): Drs. Michael Grammer, Jack Pashin and Prem Bikkina

A group led by Oklahoma State University (OSU) researchers and consisting of academic and industry partners have received a $19.9 million grant, to conduct research on the Caney Shale, a potential petroleum resource in south western Oklahoma. The award includes money from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and cost share from Continental Resources, the principal industry partner in the study. 

The four-year study will involve multiple faculty, students and national lab personnel and will be tasked with investigating and understanding the ductile type shale rock found in the Caney Shale resource. 

The research conducted will focus on the mineral composition of the Caney Shale and how the formation reacts, physically and chemically, with fracturing materials. A truer understanding of this interaction could provide industry with a more efficient means to extract petroleum from shale resources. 

Current methods for the fracturing of shale resources have been found to be largely inefficient, leaving larger amounts of resources below ground than desirable. The team hopes that their research will increase knowledge of the mineralogy of the Caney Shale allowing for the development of different methods of fracturing that would yield a higher percentage of extraction than those methods used currently. 

Dr. Mileva Radonjic, the principal investigator on the project, sees the study as “a perfect example of a successful partnership between academia and industry.” 

Radonjic’s team from OSU includes Dr. Geir Hareland, Head of Chemical Engineering at OSU, Dr. Jim Puckette, from the School of Geology, Dr. Prem Bikkina, School of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Michael Grammer, School of Geology and Dr. Jack Pashin, also from the School of Geology. 

They are teamed with industry personnel from Continental Resources, the principal partner in the project, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oklahoma Geological Survey and the University of Pittsburgh. “Without our partner, Continental Resources, the teamwork between petroleum engineering and the geology department, and the support of leadership and administration in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, we would not have been able to secure this prestigious grant,” Radonjic said.

The project is a perfect example of OSU’s concerted effort to increase interdisciplinary collaborations and to focus on efforts that have a direct impact on the state and region. “We hope that the grant will provide an opportunity for economic growth for Oklahoma,” Radonjic said.

The team will also have students involved in the project which “will contribute to the training of future workforce and adding knowledge and expertise on petroleum-bearing shale rocks for our nation,” Radonjic said. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Hopper | CEAT Marketing | 405-744-2745 | jeff.hopper@okstate.edu

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