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Dr. Toelle's research is focused on the interpretation of seismic attributes extracted from 3D surface p-wave seismic volumes for the detection of zones of high porosity and permeability within reservoirs. These zones may be composed of matrix porosity / permeability or aligned, open natural fractures. These interpretation methodologies attempt to identify isotropic and anisotropic (HTI) zones within a reservoir. When successfully applied these may have a significant impact on many types of projects, including oil and gas field development, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), CO2 sequestrations, and Underground Gas Storage (UGS) projects.
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 as well
as Enhanced Oil Recovery projects. He is continuing his research into using 4D surface
seismic to monitor CO2 injected into subsurface reservoirs.
Additionally, Dr. Toelle is researching the petroleum systems of various basins in Wyoming. During his employment with Texaco he performed a number of basin analyses which, at the time were primarily limited to maturity studies. Currently he is investigating the use of full 3D Petroleum Systems Modeling in various basins to reveal not only areas where various stratigraphic intervals are thermally mature but also identifying migration pathways and calculating transformation ratios associated with shale reservoirs.