The University of Utah Research Institute has opened a Center for Dipmeter Research to assist government and industry in the search for new deposits of oil, gas, geothermal heat and a wide range of minerals.
Dr. M. Lee Allison, senior geologist at the institute's Earth Science Laboratory, is director of the center, which is creating a consortium of industry associates.A former employee of Standard Oil of Ohio and of Chevron USA Inc., Allison has an extensive background in processing and interpreting dipmeter data. Dipmeters are one of the most powerful yet poorly understood geophysical logging devices used in borehole studies of the Earth's subsurface strata.
According to Allison, logging devices are tools lowered into wells to record a variety of geophysical measurements of the surrounding rocks. Used extensively in mineral and petroleum exploration, they often provide the only way to determine the presence of a resource and its location in the subsurface.
Dipmeters use micro-resistivity changes in rock layers as thin as one-tenth of an inch to determine the shape of the rocks below the surface.
Other measurements allow scientists to determine the location and orientation of fractures, characteristics that often control accumulations of minerals, oil and gas. Dipmeters are increasingly being used to assess rock fractures in hazardous and nuclear waste repositories that might allow material to leak out.
Under U.S. Department of Energy sponsorship, the center, in cooperation with resource companies throughout the United States, is using dipmeter logs in an effort to understand in-situ stress and fracturing in geothermal fields.
C.A. (Andy) Bengston, who developed statistical curvative analysis techniques, known as SCAT, has joined the center as research associate. SCAT, a revolutionary approach to interpreting dipmeter data, was critical in the discovery of many of the oil fields in the Idaho-Wyoming-Utah thrust belt. A veteran of more than 35 years' experience with dipmeters at Sohio and Chevron, Bengston is an active international dipmeter consultant.
Dr. Ronald Bruhn and Dr. Marjorie A. Chan, members of the University's Department of Geology and Geophysics faculty, are also working with the center. Bruhn is an expert in the geometry, mechanics and fluid-chemical processes of fault and fracture networks. Chan will evaluate the geometry of stratigraphic bodies in subsurface strata.
Other members of the center's staff include: - Dr. Steve Boyer of the University of Washington, a recognized expert in the formation of overthrust belts and extensional regimes. As a research associate, he will model and interpret complex structures from dipmeter logs.
- Dr. Dennis Nelson of UURI, who is studying fractured reservoirs, particularly in geothermal areas. He has also managed international exploration and logging programs.
- Dr. John Stodt of UURI, a specialist in borehole geophysical methods, digital signal processing, numerical modeling, inverse theory and processing for real-time data acquisition.