The comprehensive characterization of caprock integrity in the development of unconventional reservoirs became a critical phase that comprise to two main processes, the horizontal well hydraulic fracturing and the flowback disposal injection. The analysis of the caprock effectivity as a seal/barrier is crucial to define the optimal locations for the flowback disposal injection wells, and define the parameters for the flowback injection, and the hydraulic fracturing process.

This project is part of a larger effort designed by Ecopetrol to generate a robust understanding of the subsurface and reduce the uncertainties regarding the unconventional reservoir exploitation processes. The objectives proposed are: 1) to define, map, and characterize the petrophysical and geomechanical properties of the regional geological units that could constitute effective caprocks seals associated with flowback disposal and the geological units that could constitute containment/seal barriers of the hydraulic fractured zones. 2) to integrate the 1D petrophysical and geomechanical characterization into a 3D geocellular (DFN), and 3D geomechanical model. The result of this work will be part of a second phase of this project that will focus on the dynamic and geomechanical simulations of the flowback disposal injection and the hydraulic fracturing.

This study provides the opportunity to better define the caprock seal properties that will impact unconventional reservoir development and will reduce the uncertainty of the potential migration of fluids to the above formations.


The development of conventional and unconventional oil reservoirs has become crucial to sustain nations energy self-sufficiency in the current global process of energy transition and decarbonization. Colombia is not the exception, and Ecopetrol is in the process of proving the potential of the unconventional reservoirs through the implementation of two investigation pilot projects in the Colombian Middle Magdalena Valley Basin. However, in contrast to the conventional reservoir projects, the government's normative in Colombia for the research, exploration and exploitation of unconventional reservoirs requires an exhaustive assessment of the different elements and factors involved in these types of projects.

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