Welcome to our fracture studies website. This site details our decades of work with natural fractures and their implications to production. Enjoy and please contact us for additional information.


Atlas of Natural and Induced Fractures in Core

FractureStudies LLC has submitted the manuscript for this volume. The Atlas will be available this Fall (2017) through Wiley Blackwell and AAPG.

The atlas contains approximately 650 color photographs and figures, with complete detailed descriptions that illustrate the multitude of natural and induced fractures in core. The atlas is divided into three main sections: 1) Natural Fractures, 2) Induced Fractures, and 3) Artifacts. The natural fractures section highlights extension and shear fractures and various other natural fracture types plus the mineralization (real and false) or dissolution that may alter the surface of these fractures. The induced fractures section details the wide-variety of fractures that can be formed during the drilling and handling processes. This section includes the all-important discussion on how to differentiate natural from induced fractures in core and what induced fractures can be useful for like determining the orientation of the in situ principal stresses. The last section describes the fascinating artifacts you may come across during a lifetime of logging core.


Publically offered courses are listed below. In-house courses focusing on your company's specific needs and proprietary data are available upon request.

Petroleum Field Camp
Organization: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Black Hills Natural Sciences Field Station
Date: July 10-26, 2017
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota, with four to five nights camping in Colorado, Wyoming or North Dakota
Instructors: Various, with Scott Cooper along for four days of lecture, core and in-the-field exercises
Registration: http://geologyfieldcamp.sdsmt.edu or phone 1-605-431-1275 or e-mail Dr. Nuri Uzunlar, nuri.uzunlar@sdsmt.edu

Characterization of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs
Organization: Subsurface Consultants and Associates LLC (SCA)
Date: September 5-8, 2017
Location: Houston, Tx
Instructors: John C. Lorenz and Scott P. Cooper, FractureStudies LLC
Registration: http://www.scacompanies.com or phone 1-713-789-2444

Natural Fractures and Production in Different Reservoir Lithologies, Examples and Analogs from the San Juan Basin (New Mexico and Colorado, USA) (N371)
Organization: Nautilus World
Date: September 20-25, 2017
Location: New Mexico and Colorado
Instructors: Bruce Hart, Statoil, John Lorenz and Scott Cooper, FractureStudies LLC
Registration: https://www.nautilusworld.com/ or phone 1-832-255-1600

Fracture Studies done by John C. Lorenz and Scott P. Cooper provide insight and solutions for:

  • Fracture-controlled reservoir flow dynamics
  • Fracture-controlled production behavior
  • Better well placement
  • Better completion techniques
  • EOR activities
  • Directional drilling
  • Structural interpretations and tectonic histories
  • Increased ultimate recovery

Why do fracture analyses?

1. The advantages and importance of knowledgeable fracture analysis:
Fractures are easy to count and to measure for dip and strike, but that does not make them simple, easy to understand, or interpret. Unless the fracture types are understood, statistical analyses of fractures are meaningless. There are many types of fractures, and each has different effects on reservoirs. Fractures vary by lithology and by stress regime, and can either enhance or degrade reservoir permeability. Many types of fracture permeability can change during production.

2. Why this fracture-analysis team is unique:
Fracture analysis requires insight into fracture type and origin in order to make valid three-dimensional assessments of fracture-related reservoir plumbing, and to reconstruct structural/tectonic histories. We offer more than the measurement and counting of cracks. Our long history of helping to develop the science of natural and induced fracture interpretation and analysis (see publications list), and our experience in a diverse array of fractured reservoir plays and formations, allow us unique insights into fractured-reservoir characterizations and problems.

3. Multidisciplinary interactions:
We have a proven record of providing useful, applied geological data and concepts to multidisciplinary teams--please note the themes of our published papers and the different expertise of the various co-authors. We have interacted successfully and productively with engineers, geophysicists, petrophysicists, rock mechanicists, and other experts.

Ten (+) reasons to take core and do all that geology stuff

  1. Fracture signatures on image logs must be calibrated with core.  Image logs commonly image less than half of the fractures in a formation.  They do not capture bed-parallel and low-angle fractures or short fractures, and they do not accurately represent fracture apertures.
  2. Image logs commonly misinterpret vertical natural fractures as induced fractures, and may capture only the set of fractures that strikes parallel to maximum horizontal stress.
  3. Once an image log is calibrated across the cored interval, the rest of the image log as well as image logs in adjacent wells become significantly more valuable.
  4. Cores allow direct measurement of reservoir matrix permeabilities.  Cannot distinguish KV from KH from Kh in logs.
  5. Cores allow direct measurement of geomechanical rock properties.
  6. Characterizations of the interactions between natural fractures and induced centerline fractures in cores provide direct evidence for the interaction of natural fractures with hydraulic stimulation fractures.
  7. Coring-induced petal and centerline fractures provide information on the in situ stress orientations.
  8. Cores show the distribution of natural fractures relative to lithology.
  9. All fractures are not equal; cores show the range of fracture sizes and types, allowing a determination of which fracture population controls reservoir permeability.
  10. Fracture faces cannot be seen in image logs, yet these surfaces that distinctions to be made between shear fractures, which form intersecting permeability networks and provide good drainage, and extension fractures, which form as parallel sets and create highly anisotropic drainage.
  11. Measured matrix permeability can be compared to reservoir system permeability calculated from well tests to indicate the contribution of fractures to reservoir permeability system.

Aerial photography, and geology of production and analog areas:
John Lorenz, as a licensed pilot and flight instructor, can provide aerial images from overflights of your producing areas or analog site, field scale and aerial scale geologic assessments, or teach you how to fly. Contact John for further information.

List of publications:

A partial list of our publications is attached here as a PDF.

Two papers published in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin (one on fractures within the Spraberry Formation the second on a fracture model based on Teapot Dome) are provided here with permission from AAPG as locked PDFs. Additional publications are available through the AAPG at www.aapg.org.

Our publications with the Department of Energy are available through the DOE’s Information Bridge website at www.osti.gov/bridge/. This site provides free public access to all of the DOE’s Scientific and Technical publications.

We provide several of our public-domain reports including nine Multiwell Experiment Project Reports as PDFs in our Fracture Studies/Clients page. We can provide additional articles, papers and reports on request.

Free public access to our DOE reports through:

Information Bridge: Department of Energy Scientific and Technical Information

Recent and Ongoing Fractured Reservoir Analyses

Public and Private Investor Reports - previously published public papers/reports provided through links on the Case Studies/clients webpage. Private reports are available as appropriate through direct contact.

Kurdistan, Iraq – An AAPG presentation on "Fractured Reservoirs of the Shaikan Anticline, Northern Iraq" is a summary of field and core work and is available as a pdf within our FractureStudies database Shaikan Anticline. This is a singular example of some of our work done over multiple years in the Kurdistan region. Additional descriptions and photographs can be found on our FutureStudies/Contact page.

Niobrara Formation: Fracture Types and Distributions – A private-investor report in the development phase – interested and current research participants please coordinate with Dr. Lorenz on project specifics (photos).

Tensleep Formation Fracture Study Compendium – A summary of three and a half years (2007-2010) of field, outcrop and core studies on the Tensleep Formation for the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute at the University of Wyoming.  The report is available by request at www.eori.uwyo.edu or as a pdf within our FractureStudies database Tensleep Formation Fracture Study Compendium.


Strategic Partners

Dr. Ahmed Ouenes

FractureStudies fore several years has co-taught classes on fractured-reservoirs and worked joint projects with Dr. Ahmed Ouenes of FracGeo (www.fracgeo.com). Dr. Ouenes and FracGeo have unique capabilities in fractured-reservoir modeling using Continuous Fracture Networks and are currently breaking new ground in the understanding of the interactions between natural fractures and hydraulic stimulation fractures.


FracGeo LLC, The Woodlands, TX

Deformation Research group at the University of Leeds, Leeds, UK www.rdr.leeds.ac.uk

Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute at the University of Wyoming

Petroleum Professional Development Center of Midland College

Professional affiliations

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG)

Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

Wyoming Geological Association (WGA)



Scott P. Cooper
Phone: (505) 286-1462

Mailing Address:
99 Rainbow Road Suite 4-5 Edgewood, NM 87015-2348

John C. Lorenz
Phone: (505) 281-9321
Fax: (505) 286-9467

Mailing Address:
99 Rainbow Road Suite 4-5 Edgewood, NM 87015-2348


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Atlas of Natural and Induced Fractures in Core (Lorenz and Cooper, 2017).

Dueling photographers: John C. Lorenz along the Hogback monocline, northwestern San Juan basin (Lorenz and Cooper).

Creating extension fractures: Scott P. Cooper, Fort Hayes Limestone Member of the Niobrara Formation, Raton basin, Colorado (Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, Lorenz and Cooper, 2004).

The difference between looking at slabbed core (left) and whole core (right) for fracture studies

Natural fractures account for the difference between actual well productive capacities and matrix deliverability in low-permeability sandstones of the Mesaverde Formation in the Piceance basin of Colorado (from Warpinski and Lorenz, 2007).

phto Let us provide you the courses, field trips, (all guaranteed to include lunch stops at fall aspen groves) data and/or interpretations to help analyze and produce your teams’ reservoir.