A new five year, £1.1m funding package from CMG Reservoir Simulation Foundation will establish a world leading Reservoir Simulation Group in Carbonate Reservoirs at Heriot-Watt University’s Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE), and will form the basis of a £5m world class cradle of innovation in the field.
More than 60% (around 3 trillion barrels) of the world’s oil reserves are contained in carbonate reservoirs, which tend to have significantly lower oil recoveries than sandstone reservoirs. The nature of the limestone and dolomite rocks of which they are formed means that oil flow can be affected by a wide range of fractures in the rock, from small ones to others which can be several kilometres long. The computer simulations, which oil companies use to calculate how to extract the maximum reserves from reservoirs, need to reflect this complexity of scale, providing unique challenges.
The new Foundation CMG funding support through a Chair in Carbonate Reservoir Simulation to be held by Sebastian Geiger, and a Chair in Reactive Flow Simulation to be held by Eric Mackay, will therefore address a unique combination of an important research area with major outstanding research questions and one which has huge implications for the oil and gas extraction industry.
Professor Patrick Corbett, Total Professor of Petroleum Geoengineering at Heriot-Watt, said “The new Chairs will help Heriot-Watt raise Matching Funding totalling £5m over the five year period in conjunction with industry and government. This will be used to establish a team and computing support around the Chairs, a grouping sufficient to make a real difference to a topic of major interest to the industry.
“Worldwide, the recovery factor in Carbonate reservoirs is probably less than 20%, way behind recoveries in sandstone reservoirs, which are at more than 35%. Due to the size of the hydrocarbon resource in carbonates, every additional percentage increase extends the hydrocarbon reserve base for a period of years. There is a significant role for advanced reservoir simulation in improving oil recovery in carbonates.
“We are delighted that Foundation CMG has decided to come on board with IPE, and believe the new Carbonate Reservoir Simulation group can build successfully on IPE’s ability to tackle and solve challenging research problems with industrial relevance.”
Duke Anderson, the President & CEO of Foundation CMG, says “Heriot-Watt University is an outstanding university and IPE is a world class research institute. Their proposal to undertake very important research to better model carbonate reservoirs has the potential to provide far-reaching break-through technology for the oil industry worldwide. It is expected that better computer modelling technology will enable economic recovery of significant oil otherwise being left behind in the ground. Foundation CMG, with its fruitful history of funding leading edge research in ‘advanced recovery processes’ for oil and gas, is very enthusiastic to join and participate with Professors Corbett, Christie, Sorbie and Couples at Heriot-Watt University. We encourage oil companies worldwide to contact IPE to collaborate and participate and provide important field data for this very important research.”
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Tel: 0131-451 3443
Carbonate Reservoir Simulation
Carbonate reservoirs contain fractures and vugs and these discontinuities require special attention when modelling and simulating.
Reactive Flow Simulation
Carbonate reservoirs have reactive matrices which might either dissolve or attract deposition during production and therefore require special attention.
In both the new positions, developments in computer hardware and associated software advances mean that problems that once would have been impossible are now achievable given the right scientific vision, hardware and resources.
Heriot-Watt University, Institute of Petroleum Engineering
Heriot-Watt University has a track record of tackling difficult scientific and engineering problems that have high importance to industry. This is particularly strong in Petroleum Engineering where we are recognised as being one of the top Institutes in the world. We have a wide range of Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) which are supported by many oil companies and software vendors. These projects cover a wide range of subjects within petroleum engineering, including hydrates, seismic, CO2, geomechanics, uncertainty, simulation, geochemistry and mineral scale.
The final Carbonate Reservoir Simulation team will comprise the Chair holders, two Senior Lecturers, four Postdoctoral Research Associates, up to six PhDs and 25 MSc students, as well as IPE’s wider multi-disciplinary team of reservoir engineers, geologists and geophysicists, including industry interest and participation. They will have access to modern computer facilities and leading edge software.
Founded in 1978, Foundation CMG (original name Computer Modeling Group) was founded at the University of Calgary, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department. CMG Reservoir Simulation Foundation (Foundation CMG) promotes and financially supports research & development and students through research grants at universities. This is in regards to the technology of fluid flow and biochemical reactions in porous media, particularly oil & gas reservoirs. Foundation CMG has a rich history of over 30 years working in 25 countries around the world.
Sebastian earned a PhD at the ETH Zurich in 2004 in Computational Geology. Since that time he has developed a reservoir simulator, jointly with the Montan University of Leoben and ETH Zurich, that combines engineering accuracy with geological complexity to analyse the most-complex reservoir simulation challenges. He is part of the ExxonMobil research alliance “Fundamental Controls of Flow in Carbonates (FC)2” which involves nine international universities. Through this promotion, Sebastian has become the youngest-ever Professor in this world-class institute. In 2012, he’ll be co-chairing a prestigious AAPG-SPE Hedberg Conference “Fundamental Controls of Flow in Carbonate Reservoirs”.
Eric received his PhD in Petroleum Engineering from Heriot-Watt University in 2005. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2007-8. He is widely recognised as an industry leader in reactive flow simulation, having been Chair of the SPE International Symposium on Oilfield Scale, and regularly delivering SPE Short Courses on this topic. He is also Deputy Director of the Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage (SCCS) at Heriot-Watt University. The Chair will afford Eric the opportunity to extend his research into the simulation of carbonate reservoirs.