KGS Home General Info Index Page News Releases

News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, June 28, 2000

Energy Researchers Receive Major Grant

LAWRENCE--Energy researchers at the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, have received a $754,000 grant over three years from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The funding will be used to develop computer models of the rock formations that produce petroleum, and to distribute that software over the internet.

Survey geologists, engineers, and computer specialists will develop new software that can be used to better estimate the amount of oil and natural gas remaining in petroleum reservoirs. Those software packages will then be made available electronically, along with other currently existing software, at no charge.

"Small, independent oil companies, like those who do most of the exploration and production in Kansas, will be able to use these packages," said Survey geologist Lynn Watney, leader of the project.

"The software will help companies characterize the reservoirs that hold oil, and help them come up with the best strategies for producing additional oil and gas."

The Survey will also provide tutorial support to help companies and consultants use the site and apply the software.

The project is being conducted in conjunction with five private companies that will help test and evaluate the software. Those companies include Mull Drilling Co., Wichita; Murfin Drilling Co., Wichita; Phillips Petroleum Corp., Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Irving, Texas; and Vastar Resources, Inc., Houston, Texas.

Watney said that the work is based on previous Survey efforts in making petroleum data available electronically. With funding from the Department of Energy (DOE), the Survey has developed a Digital Petroleum Atlas (, an ongoing effort at providing oil and gas information over the internet. Through prior support from DOE, the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., and the petroleum industry, the Survey has also developed relatively inexpensive software ( that is used in the petroleum industry to evaluate rock formations encountered in individual wells and the ability of those rocks to produce oil and natural gas.

"This new project will help companies gain access to electronic information related to oil and gas that is available today, and will become available in the future," said Watney. "The goal of this project is to keep Kansas competitive in the global petroleum market and to help sustain our petroleum production."

The new project is called GEMINI (Geo-engineering Modeling through Internet Informatics) and early versions of the website are expected to be on-line in the coming year.

"Kansas is a mature oil and gas producing area, one where large amounts of information are already available," said Survey director Lee Allison. "Access to public domain data and analytical tools--through projects like this--may be the best practical way of aiding geologic and engineering analyses in the state."

Story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-2106
For more information, contact Lynn Watney, 785-864-2184
Kansas Geological Survey, Publications and Public Affairs