Advanced science.  Applied technology.


3DStress® offers hydraulic fracturing operators robust simulation tools

For immediate release

San Antonio — March 31, 2017 — Energy professionals attending the AAPG conference in Houston next week will get a sneak peek at the latest version of Southwest Research Institute’s 3DStress® software. The program helps the energy industry analyze seismic data prior to conducting hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas wells. Attendees can visit Booth No. 1506 on April 2-5 to learn more and get a live demo.

3DStress 5.1, scheduled for release this summer, offers improved stress inversion tools with uncertainty measures as well as new injection and production simulators to evaluate changes in fluid pressure and induced seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing.

“We can take microseismic data and turn that around into stress estimates, stage-by-stage for a horizontal well,” said Alan Morris, a staff scientist at SwRI. “Some modern horizontal wells are 2 miles long with more than 20 stages, so there is a lot that can go wrong, especially if your well is near a fault.”

3DStress compares ambient stress states to microseismic events from hydraulic fracturing to help predict how subsurface geologic stress conditions might affect the flow of hydrocarbons. The software can also help operators identify fault zones where disposal of wastewater into deep injection wells can trigger “manmade earthquakes.”

“We want to help the energy industry better understand stress and microseismic data so operators can improve production and decrease the impacts felt by local communities,” Morris said.

User-friendly simulation tools include Mohr circle plots with Hoek-Brown failure criteria, stress-ratio plots, stereonet, 3-D visualization tools, and a patented stress inversion algorithm that does not require slip direction information. Multiple injection and production wells can be simulated to evaluate interaction and interference between wells.

SwRI geologists used 3DStress to analyze the seismicity induced by a waste water injection well near Youngstown, Ohio, between 2011 and 2012. The results of this study will be published in the Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering in the coming months.

Geologists, nuclear regulators, oil and gas companies, and geothermal energy producers have used the interactive program for more than 20 years to investigate geologic stress states and their effects on developing and reactivating faults and fractures.

For more information, visit or contact Robert Crowe, (210) 522-4630, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.