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Automated software Tool for Assessing Potential Drilling Sites With Reduced Human Error

  • Automated software that interprets depositional conditions from chemical indices in black shales
  • Faster return of results for assessing potential drilling sites with reduced human error
  • Allows simultaneous analysis of large data sets and visualization of the data


Despite the importance of black shales as source rocks and unconventional reservoirs, the complex controls on the accumulation of organic shales are still poorly understood. The debate about whether anoxia or primary productivity are critical to the burial of organic matter is overly simplistic, as anoxia may result from high productivity, or from stagnation. Likewise, the delivery of nutrients in highly productive settings can result from upwelling or riverine input, the latter of which would also favor the development of stratification and stagnation. The intricate inter-relationship between these factors render the interpretation of the depositional controls difficult. A number of chemical proxies have been devised to infer parameters such as degree of oxygenation and stagnation of bottom waters, and primary productivity. However, the integrated interpretation of chemical proxies in large datasets may be complicated and laborious. Therefore, Researchers at Kansas State have developed a Matlab code to automatically interpret the depositional conditions (primary productivity and anoxia) from chemical indices in black shales.


  • Decreases staff required for interpretation through automation
  • Speeds up test results by automating interpretation process
  • Decreases opportunity for human error through adoption of Matlab process
  • Allows simultaneous analysis of large datasets

Market Application

  • Refined field evaluation for shale, natural gas, and oil companies
  • Enables easier assessment of the viability of energy source
  • Guides exploration of hydrocarbon reserves and optimization of known fields

Additional Details


Kansas State University

Intellectual Property Protection


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