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Abstract: Collaboration Between the Stanford Rock Fracture Project and the Petroleum Industry: A Mutually Beneficial Enterprise Resulting from Global Necessities

Atilla Aydin, David D. Pollard

The collaboration between the Stanford Rock Fracture Project (RFP) and industrial affiliates stems from RFP's need to obtain support for its research activities and access to unpublished data and facilities owned by the affiliates, and from industry's need to keep up with recent advances in the science and technology of predicting and characterizing fractures and faults in reservoirs and their flow properties with the lowest possible investment. It appears that a concerted effort by the US Government to encourage the application of results from ever decreasing federally-funded research to societal problems is the driving force for the former, and a desire to leverage and outsource research is behind the latter. Indeed, industry support provides a stabile funding to RFP, a d in turn, the RFP provides a work force of 2 professors, 4 postdoctoral scientists and 14 graduate students along with state-of-the art educational and research facilities for an investment with a leverage ratio of better than 25 to 1. Other tangible advantages are: the ability of RFP to stay in touch with problems of societal importance and to position itself to address to these problems in a timely manner, and the ability of industry to influence the research and technology produced by RFP.

We present three different interaction schemes with examples that have proved to be workable for university-industry collaboration within the framework of RFP: (1) University personnel using data and facilities from industrial affiliates; (2) industry personnel bringing themselves up to date in university workshops and facilities; and (3) joint team from industry and university working on an actual fractured reservoir characterization problem.

Global conditions related to changing government finding patterns and to changing strategy for in-house research in industry have motivated us to build this university-industry collaboration which, in turn, made it possible to assemble a team of scientists of unprecedented size and expertise dedicated to research in rock fracturing and its impact on reservoir performance. However, we still have a way to go to maximize the potential mutual benefits from such collaboration. To this end, industrial affiliates' willingness to accept each other as partners, and various programs within a university or different universities to cooperate in the spirit of a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving will be helpful.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France