Gateway to Reservoir Engineering

Our understanding of reservoir performance is increased through the study of fluid flow principles, a clear description of reservoir geology, and the judicious use of appropriate reservoir simulators and models. These allow us to evaluate "what if" production alternatives to produce the reservoir most efficiently and economically.

The high degree of heterogeneity in the reservoir must be carefully accounted for in recovery calculations. Laboratory experiments are generally conducted at too small a scale compared to the reservoir scale, but we must nevertheless be able to translate laboratory results to field-scale calculations.

Another major problem revolves around the inefficient contact of the reservoir fluid with the displacing fluid because of channeling and frontal instabilities known as fingering. We must be able to predict accurately fluid channeling and fingering and develop techniques to alleviate such problems. The recognition and prediction of flow channeling can be accomplished from the analysis of the reservoir rock. fluid properties, water/oil and gas/oil ratios, tracer signature, and pressure-transient response.

Practical reservoir simulators are based on finite-difference and finite-element discretization schemes. I do not anticipate any major changes in these numerical approaches in the foreseeable future. The research in this area must include judicious and efficient use of local mesh refinement to account for reservoir heterogeneities (channels, fractures, vugs, layers, and discontinuities).

Furthermore, we must learn to improve the mathematical implementation of the correct physics in such simulators. Finally, robust and efficient mathematical algorithms (e.g., equation solvers, vapor/Iiquid equilibrium calculations, relative permeability hysteresis tracking) must be developed in anticipation of routinely using very large reservoir models with more than 100,000 nodes.

I like to do research on various aspects of reservoir engineering (especially with a strong emphasis on the physics of flow in porous media), reservoir description, and mathematical modeling (both analytical and numerical). I want to work with students who are bright and perceptive, have strong mathematical backgrounds, work hard, have self-initiative, and can transfer scientific ideas to practical applications.

Current Courses