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Petroleum Engineering

Brian Toelle

Brian Toelle

Interim Department Head, Professor of Practice, Petroleum Engineering
Room 4015, Engineering Building

University of Wyoming

College of Engineering and Applied Science

Department of Petroleum Engineering

Dept. 3295
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: 307-766-6780

Research Web Sites:

Seismic-Based Porosity Detection / Characterization
Wyoming Petroleum Systems


  • B.S. Geology - Texas A & M University - 1978
  • M.S. Natural Science (emphasis on Structural Geology) - Stephen F. Austin State University - 1981

Thesis - "The Structural Geology of Persimmon Gap, Big Bend National Park, Brewster County Texas, as Interpreted by Remote Sensing and Conventional Field Methods."

  • Ph.D. Geology (emphasis on Applied Geophysics) - West Virginia University - 2013

Dissertation - "Use of 3D Seismic Azimuthal Iso-Frequency Volumes for the Detection and Characterization of High Porosity/Permeability Zones in Carbonate Reservoirs"


  • Seismic-Based Fracture Detection

Since 2001 Dr. Toelle has investigated the use of various seismic attributes for the detection of open fracture systems. This research was conducted during consulting projects for various Schlumberger clients. As a result of some of this research Dr. Toelle obtained a patent for Schlumberger in 2005 (Patent No. 6,941,228). He is currently continuing his research in this field.

  • 4D Seismic Analysis and Reservoir Monitoring

Dr. Toelle's Ph.D. research included the monitoring of injected CO2 within a subsurface reservoir for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery. During this research Dr. Toelle used 4-D seismic difference mapping to identify where within a carbonate reservoir, Silurian aged pinnacle reef in the northern Michigan basin, CO2 flowed following injection at a particular well location. This research was funded by the US Department of Energy (DE-FC26-04NT15425) and has implications with regard to CO2 sequestration. (DOE brochure, p.18)

  • Azimuthal Seismic

In addition to the enhanced oil recovery project mentioned above Dr. Toelle's PhD research also investigated the interpretation of Azimuthal Seismic volumes for discriminating between matrix porosity and fracture systems within carbonate reservoirs. This on-going research has significant implications with regard to the characterization of reservoirs with respect to their development, particularly during the enhanced oil recovery phase. Additionally, this is proving to be of significance with regard to production from Shale Oil reservoirs as knowing where open, natural fracture systems exist within these reservoirs is important to economic production.

Research Interests:

In addition to those research topics mentioned above Dr. Toelle is currently researching the concept of Tectonic Inheritance.

Academic and Professional Experience:

Advisor, Exploration and Geophysics, Schlumberger PetroTechnical Services (PTS), Denver, Colorado, 2011-2015

Principal Geophysicist and Manager of Geology & Geophysics, Schlumberger Data & Consulting Services, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2002-2011

Lead Geophysicist for Schlumberger Holditch-Reservoir Technologies, Houston, Texas, 2001-2002

Senior Geoscientist, Schlumberger GeoQuest, Houston, Texas, 1997-2001

Geoscientist, Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 1992-1997

Geoscientist, GeoQuest Systems, Inc. Houston, Texas, 1989-1992

Geologist, Texaco USA, Midland, Texas and Denver, Colorado, 1981-1989

Selected Publications:

  • June 2, 2016 - European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers -78th EAGE Conference & Exhibition - Vienna, Austria - "Developing a Naturally Fractured Reservoir for Underground Gas Storage".
  • August 2015 - Society of Exploration Geophysicists (Peer Reviewed Journal) "Interpretation" - Rank exploration of selected European shale plays - Volume 3, Issue 3.
  • December 10, 2013 - European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers - Second EAGE Workshop on Naturally Fractured Reservoirs - Muscat, Oman - "Subtle Structure Detection Using Spectral Decomposition for Fracture Mapping".
  • WVU Ph.D. dissertation "Use of 3D Seismic Azimuthal Iso-Frequency Volumes for the Detection and Characterization of High Porosity/Permeability Zones in Carbonate Reservoirs".
  • Summer, 2012 - Oilfield Review - "Seismic Detection of Subtle Fractures".
  • Autumn, 2011 – Oilfield Review - "Shale Gas Revolution".
  • November 4, 2009 – New York Independent Oil and Gas Association – “Geological Considerations for Gas Shale Plays”.
  • April 19–23, 2008 - SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A. - "EOR Potential of the Michigan Silurian Reefs Using CO2" - SPE 113843-PP.
  • February 5, 2008 – West Virginia IOGA – “ShaleMAP & FractureMAP: Understanding Shale Reservoir Heterogeneity”.
  • November 27, 2007 - Appalachian Geological Society - "Porosity Detection in Carbonate with Seismic Attributes".
  • November 5, 2007 - Wright State University - "Basin Modeling as a Hydrocarbon Exploration Tool".
  • September 17, 2007 - American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Eastern Regional - "CO2 Sequestration Potential of the North Michigan Silurian Reef Trend". This paper received the "2007 Eastern Section Division of Environmental Geosciences Award for Best Paper".
  • September 25, 2007 - Society of Exploration Geophysicists - "Interpretation of Parallel 2D Seismic as a Psuedo-3D for Reservoir Characterization of a Proposed Offshore Gas Storage Field Conversion".
  • October 18, 2007 - SPE Eastern Regional - "Pseudo-3D Seismic Use for Development of First US Offshore Gas Storage Facility" - SPE 111224-PP.
  • October 19, 2007 - SPE Eastern Regional - "CO2 EOR From a North Michigan Silurian Reef" - SPE-111223-PP.
  • March 21, 2006 - Berkeley CO2SC Symposium - "Use of Instantaneous Frequency to Map Porosity in a Silurian Age Reef in Northern Michigan Basin in Preparation for CO2 Injection".
  • February 28, 2005 - Houston Geological Society - North American Exploration Dinner - Houston, Texas - "An Overview of the Trenton–Black River Play".
  • October, 2004 - Society of Exploration Geophysicists Annual Convention - Denver, Colorado - "2-D Variance and Blended Attribute Analysis of Deep Structures in Lincoln, Co., West Virginia".
  • October, 2004 - Joint Association of Petroleum Geologists - Society of Petroleum Engineers Regional Conference - Columbus, Ohio - "Improved Interpretation of Deep Structures in Southern West Virginia through 2-D Variance and Blended Attribute Analysis".
  • October 28, 2003 - Appalachian Geological Society - "An Overview of Basic and Advanced Seismic Exploration Methods In The Appalachian Basin".
  • October 2, 2003 - Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, Appalachian Region - "E & P Enhanced Knowledge Management Systems".
  • March, 2003 - Joint Pittsburgh Association of Petroleum Geologists - Appalachian Geological Society Meeting - Morgantown, West Virginia - "Advanced Seismic Evaluation and Visualization Methods".
  • February 2003 - Pittsburgh Society of Petroleum Engineers Meeting - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - "Advanced Seismic Evaluation and Visualization Methods".
  • December, 2002 - Joint Canadian Exploration Geophysical Society and Ontario Exploration & Geoscience Symposium - Toronto, Ontario - "Blended Seismic Attributes and Volume Visualization".
  • May, 2002 - Joint SPE/AAPG conference in Anchorage, Alaska - "Rapid Seismic Screening and Probabilistic Economic Methodologies for Prioritization of Targets" - SPE Paper 76741.
  • September 15, 2001 - Alaska Oil & Gas Reporter - "Unique problem, a unique approach".
  • September, 2001 - Leading Edge - "E & P Knowledge Management Systems and their support of the G & G process".
  • July, 2001 - The American Oil & Gas Reporter - "Knowledge Sharing Systems Create Long-Term Capabilities".
  • June, 2001 - American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) annual convention - "Complex Structural Mapping without 3D Seismic Data" Poster Session.
  • May 2001 - World Oil - "Managing Knowledge as a Company Asset".
  • January 25, 2001 - The Oil and Gas Executive Report "Knowledge Management - Key to Enhanced Productivity".
  • July, 1999 - The American Oil & Gas Reporter - "Visualization Unravels Complex Field”.
  • September, 1996 – First Break – “Integrated Reservoir Characterization Process Model: a planning and scheduling tool for E&P organization”.
  • Summer, 1995 – Saudi Aramco Journal of Technology – “Integrated Reservoir Characterization Process Model: a planning and scheduling tool for E&P”.
Contact Us

Petroleum Engineering

EN 4015

Dept. 3295

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4258


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