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SwRI consortium planned to develop technique for predicting fault block deformation

San Antonio, Texas -- May 3, 2002 -- Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®)) seeks members to join a two-year research consortium to develop efficient methods for predicting the occurrence of small-scale faults and fractures within oil and gas fields and reservoirs.

"We will use data readily available from mapping of 3D seismic surveys to make predictions that will aid in the exploration, evaluation, and recovery of oil from fractured reservoirs," said David Ferrill, a structural geologist and principal scientist on the project.

Scientists will refine SwRI's current methodology for predicting fault block deformation by comparing predictions with field observations of fault block deformation. Investigators will then apply the technique to subsurface examples that are supplied by consortium members to illustrate the new approach.

"Using this approach, seismic interpreters will be able to rapidly estimate fault block deformation, including sub-seismic deformation, during the mapping process," Ferrill said. "In addition, our methodology will result in better interpretations by identifying problem areas early."

The proposed consortium is planned for two years beginning Jan. 1, 2003. Cost to join is $25,000 per member per year.

An oil industry representative who was among those who gave Ferrill input on setting up the consortium said he believes the group's work will be important and timely.

"The petroleum industry lacks predictive ability for interpreting small-scale features in normal fault systems," said Dr. Peter H. Hennings, structural geology technology leader for Phillips Petroleum Corp. "This research project would provide valuable tools for predicting the subseismic character of hydrocarbon reservoirs."

For more information about the consortium, contact Ferrill at (210) 522-6082 or

For more information about this release, contact Joe Fohn at (210) 522-4630, Communications Department, Fax (210) 522-3547, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

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