University of Southern California Global Energy Network The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering USC

USC Reservoir Development and Monitoring Systems


The vision of the USC Center for Reservoir Development and Monitoring Systems (RDMS) is to focus on multi-disciplinary research.  RDMS will emphasize a systems approach to develop, produce and monitor oil and gas reservoirs ensuing efficiency of the operation and environmental safety and economic viability.  The use of a system concept here is necessitated by the fact that any meaningful and credible treatment of different interconnected aspects of hydraulic fracturing requires a system approach.  The strength USC enjoys in informatics, smart oil field technology, earth sciences and environmental engineering will be a tremendous asset for the Center.

Many of the current USC programs and industry supported consortia (ISC, RMC and CGS) and many new programs will be an integral part of RDMS.  One of the programs to be launched by RDMS is to create several test-beds for assessing the risk of induced seismicity and water contamination of hydraulic fracturing and other subsurface fluid injection and production (SFIP).  It will include the design and implementation of a robust monitoring system in existing, operational oil and gas fields in at least three different types of shale.  As a starting point, this will include extensive research on proper design of operation and monitoring in Marcellus, Bakken and Monterey shale.  Other shale fields will also be considered.  

The byproduct of RDMS will be improvements in the operational procedures in the oil and gas, both conventional and unconventional resources, as well as deep water and geothermal, fields.  Additionally, it will help identify and mitigate risk factors of hydraulic fracturing and other well drilling, stimulation and production for hydrocarbon and geothermal resources.  The RDMS Center will concentrate on developing advanced technologies these specific areas and other new research directions proposed by the sponsors of RDMS:


·   High resolution imaging and monitoring subsurface changes from microseismic data

·   Laboratory experiments to assess induced seismicity for shale and HF parameters

·   Geomechanical analysis of to enhance effectiveness of well stimulation

·   Exposure pathways and well Integrity monitoring of possible groundwater contamination

·   Assessment of water usage for fracturing, as well as potential for its reuse

·   Detection and monitoring  of fugitive gas and mitigating the risk of methane emission

·   Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing for different geologies and reservoirs

·   A system approach for reservoir characterization and monitoring through data integration

·   Distinguishing between Induced seismicity and tectonic/triggered seismicity

·   Neural networks, pattern recognition and artificial intelligence for oil and gas E&P

·   Intelligent CO2 Monitoring System for the enhanced oil recovery

·   In-Situ Stress and geo-mechanical analysis in hydraulic fracturing

·   Transferring oil and gas technologies for economical geothermal reservoir development

·   Real time monitoring and detection of drilling kick and abnormal reservoir pressure

·   Subsalt imaging and  remote operation of deep water fields

·   Next Generation Visualization in oil and gas operations from the micro to macro levels