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Oklahoma State University

Oil, gas companies join forces with OSU geologists

Thu, December 13, 2012

Eleven domestic and international oil and gas companies have joined with the Boone Pickens School of Geology to better understand the resource potential of unconventional reservoirs in Mississippian carbonates of the Midcontinent.

Over the next two years, a team of Oklahoma State University faculty and graduate students will define how best to develop the resource through an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach, says Michael Grammer, OSU geology professor and project director.

For more than 40 years, the Mississippian of the Midcontinent has been a prolific producer of hydrocarbons in the region with more than 14,000 vertical wells drilled.

"Recently, it has become apparent that low-porosity limestones, or so-called unconventional reservoirs, may be significant producers in this interval and that a detailed understanding of the geology will enhance horizontal drilling applications in this unit," Grammer says.

Grammer estimates that hydrocarbons in the interval vary from about 5 billion to 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent in place and adds, "This is a huge domestic resource for hydrocarbons centered here virtually in our own backyard."

OSU researchers will research key areas that include: characterizing reservoir types; developing depositional models and a regional stratigraphic framework to correlate key units across the Midcontinent; defining reservoir geometry at regional and field scales; defining petrophysical aspects of the reservoir for better reservoir development; and analyzing geofluids to determine the origin and distribution of porosity and the migration of hydrocarbons through the interval.

The researchers include OSU geology professors Darwin Boardman, Jay Gregg, Priyank Jaiswal, Jim Puckette and Grammer.

"This is very much an integrated approach, and our strength at OSU is that we bring a wealth of expertise to this type of problem," Grammer says.

"Drs. Boardman and Puckette have been working on the regional stratigraphy of this unit for a number of years now, and integrating their work with geofluids analysis by Dr. Gregg, seismic and rock mechanics analysis by Dr. Jaiswal, and the high-resolution reservoir characterization done by my group should lead to a very valuable integrated understanding of these units," Grammer says.

To learn more about the project, contact Michael Grammer, professor and Chesapeake Energy Chair of Petroleum Geology, at 405-744-6185 or

The Boone Pickens School of Geology is one of 24 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University.