Texas Tech University

UpTec Leadership

Chemistry, Materials and Technological Developments

Overarching Goal:

Comprehensive understanding of the chemistry and physics of the fracturing processes, from the behavior of pre-fracturing chemical and particle additives, to site-specific drilling, fracturing, and production operations, to management of the post-fracturing chemical by-products.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Assessment and improvement of currently used chemical and particle additives in hydraulic fracturing.
  2. Computational modeling of fluid flow and thermodynamic behavior in hydraulic fracturing processes.
  3. Process chemistry and modeling for removal of chemicals and salts from produced and flowback waters to allow recycling in further fracturing or alternative non-potable water usage.
  4. Remote sensing, data visualization, and mechanistic modeling of drilling, fracturing, and gas/oil production operations.
The Lifecycle of Water

Overarching Goal:

Conduct research on innovative water treatment technologies, water resources development, and reuse and management to reduce water footprint in hydraulic fracturing operations.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Evaluate the feasibility of using brackish groundwater resources for hydraulic fracturing operations.
  2. Map water resources availability and fracturing water needs to minimize the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing operations.
  3. Understand the solution chemistry of produced and flowback waters associated with West Texas shale plays and barriers to reuse these waters.
  4. Develop new water treatment models (modules) to assess technologies for treating produced and flowback water.
Public Engagement and Education

Overarching Goal:

Examine public understanding of hydraulic fracturing and its processes.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Design and implement effective hydraulic fracturing communication and education efforts.
  2. Examine media coverage of hydraulic fracturing.
  3. Explore the broader social issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing within the water scarce region of West Texas.
Subsurface Processes and Technology

Overarching Goal:

Conduct research in areas of hydraulic fracture propagation, analysis and simulation. Research will be also conducted on impact of hydraulic fracturing on productivity of wells.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Develop techniques to design and optimize placement of hydraulic fractures based on geomechanical, petrophysical and geochemical aspects of unconventional formation.
  2. Develop simulator(s) to study fracture propagation in the presence of natural fractures and other special circumstances.
  3. Conduct research on the impact of hydraulic fractures on hydrocarbon production in the presence of natural fractures both using analytical and numerical solutions.
  4. Conduct research on analysis of fracturing data to predict/optimize fracture treatment including proppant transport in wells.
  5. Conduct research on methods to enhance far field complexity.