Achieving a sustainable energy future is a major present-day challenge in which fossil fuels are predicted to play a dominant role over decades. In order to address a sustainable energy supply, developments and targets in the areas of renewable energies and fossil fuels must be coupled and balanced.
Reservoir Engineering is a key discipline to drive advances in subsurface technologies in order to improve the balance between energy production and environment impact through R&D.
In this context, the Reservoir Engineering Group aims to provide best possible education, to further develop the field of reservoir engineering and to tackle the energy-supply challenge and related topics by cooperating with the public sector and energy companies. We focus on economically feasible and environmentally friendly hydrocarbon recovery methods, gas injection for energy storage (power-to-gas) and sequestration (CCS).
Engineering future energy!
Due to the growing global demand for energy and the relatively slow transition to sustainable energy sources, the combustion of carbon-based fuels will remain the world’s major energy source for the coming decades. In order to achieve climate targets, transition technologies are required to reduce CO2 emissions during this period. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is such a technology with a high potential to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and potentially even achieve a negative CO2 footprint. Research in the area of subsurface storage is typically focused on storage capacity and storage safety.
In this context, a currently ongoing PhD project is focused on the coupling of flow and geomechanics. The final goal is to model CO2 injection in fractured reservoirs with pre-existing faults and to estimate the effect of mechanics on flow and on storage capacity as well as estimating the risk of leakage and fault activation.
Despite the challenges and ongoing R&D, current knowledge and capabilities are sufficient to already identify safe subsurface containers in which CO2 can safely be stored. In particular, depleted gas fields and sandstone reservoirs are promising candidates for storage operations. But even in such cases, an elaborate effort of reservoir characterization and reservoir engineering is needed to guarantee safe storage and to optimize injection performance and storage capacity. Further R&D is focused on carbonate reservoirs. Those are more complex due to their multi-scale structural heterogeneities. Also the high reaction rate of carbonates with carbonic acid raises some challenges for predictive reservoir modeling and is hence a rich playground for research.
Geological Hydrogen Storage
Hydrogen is a very valuable source of energy. It can be produced from – e.g. – a surplus of renewable energy production or from heavy-oil production through upgrading. However, the production of large amounts of hydrogen needs the respective storage capacity to meet the demand. This is what we are working on.
The Reservoir Engineering group participates in a pilot project assessing the feasibility of large-scale hydrogen storage in a former gas field in Upper Austria (which should not be confused with – e.g. – the more developed small-scale hydrogen storage devices for – e.g. – transport applications). The target is the temporary surplus of wind and solar energy, which demands for storage capacity in order to cover for seasonal fluctuations of renewable energy production (www.underground-sun-storage.at).
We work on the chemical interaction between the injected hydrogen, the formation rock and the fluids in place. The target is to predict the stability of hydrogen in the reservoir as compared to the intended time scale of storage, which defines the purity and the value of the back-produced gas.
Improved and Enhanced Oil Recovery
A major part of the conventional oil reserves cannot be recovered by primary and secondary recovery methods. Tertiary processes or Enhanced Oil Recovery methods (EOR) have been developed to extract more oil from mature fields and enhancing recovery. However, EOR is typically expensive and is applied at high oil price.
Our aim is to establish the necessary numerical and experimental tools to better understand EOR processes on multiple scales (pore to field) in order to be able to develop low-cost options tailored to individual fields. The focus areas will be on water-based techniques such as alkaline and low-salinity water flooding and on CO2 EOR.
Upscaling of Porous Media Flow
Our primary research interest relates to multiphase flow in complex rock such as multi-porosity and fractured carbonates. Thereby we place emphasis on flow processes that dynamically change rock and fluid properties – i.e. reactive transport, wettability alteration, etc. – and their feedback to flow mechanisms. We aim to address these mechanisms on their natural length and time scales by state-of-the-art laboratory experiments, numerical interpretation and upscaling to the field-relevant scales.
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Phys. Dr.rer.nat.
Head of Chair, University Professor
- Habilitation (Dr. habil.), Geological Institute, RWTH Aachen University, Germany – Venia Legendi in Applied Geosciences 2015
- PhD in Physics (Dr. rer. nat.), Freie Universität Berlin, Germany 2004
- Diploma in Physics (Dipl.-Phys.), Freie Universität Berlin, Germany 1999
- Apprenticeship diploma as Instrument Mechanic, Kautt&Bux KG, Stuttgart, Germany 1988
- Privatdozent (Associate Professor) at RWTH Aachen University, Germany since 2015
- Reader (honorary) at the Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College London, United Kingdom since 2011
- Senior Scientist at Shell Exploration & Production and Shell Global Solutions International B.V., Rijswijk/Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2006-2015
- Doctoral and Postdoctoral Researcher at Berlin University, Germany, University of Tokyo, Japan and University of Cologne, Germany with focus on solid state physics 1999-2006
- Fluid dynamics and reactive transport in porous media in particular on the pore scale and upscaling.
- Imaging of fluid and solute transport in porous media.
- Development of low-cost enhanced and improved oil recovery methods (IOR/EOR) tailored to regions and operations.
- Subsurface energy and waste storage such as large-scale hydrogen storage from excess renewable energy, and subsurface carbon storage for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Former research activities: low dimensional magnetism and coupling of magnetic and electronic structures in correlated and uncorrelated electron systems.
- PhD, Dept. of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen, Norway 2008
- MSc Petroleum Technology, University of Bergen, Norway 2005
- BSc Physics, University of Bergen, Norway 2003
- Professor, Dept. of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen, Norway since 2016
- Invited Professor, Université Bordeaux 1, Département de Fluides et Transferts (TREFLE), France 2015
- Scientific Advisor, Christian Michelsen Research, Norway 2013-2016
- Visiting Researcher, Dept. of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, USA 2010
Study capillary phenomena and flow in porous media such as foam generation, spontaneous imbibition, and CO2 injection. In situ imaging of multiphase flow in heterogeneous porous media using PET/CT MRI/NMR, and CT. Apply mobility control during CO2 injection for oil recovery and associated CO2 storage in mature oil reservoirs. Special interest in flow mechanisms in fractured reservoirs and how to improve sweep efficiency.
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria 2009-2012
- PhD Chemical Engineering, Tehran Polytechnic, Iran 2005
- MS Chemical Engineering, Tehran Polytechnic, Iran 1996
- BS Chemical Engineering, Tehran Polytechnic, Iran 1993
- Senior Lecturer, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria since 2015
- Senior Researcher, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria 2012-2015
- Senior Advisor, Petropars Oil and Gas Institute (POGI), Tehran, Iran 2008-2009
- Lecturer, Tehran Polytechnic, Iran 2006-2007
- Senior Reservoir Engineer, Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), Tehran, Iran 2005-2009
- Reservoir Engineer, Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), Tehran, Iran 2000-2005
My research interests are mainly focused on different aspects of “upscaling”, which is my most favorite topic. Following are research topics and projects that I have been working over the past few years:
- Two-phase flow upscaling
- Efficient upscaling method for naturally fractured reservoirs (NFRs)
- Smart upscaling technique for structured/unstructured grids
- Modeling and analysis of multiscale phenomena in porous media
- Underground Hydrogen Storage (UHS)
- Reactive transport modeling
- PhD Geophysics, Stanford University 1998
- MSc Geophysics, Stanford University 1994
- Senior Research Scientist, Ali Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology since 2016
- Senior Geomechanics Expert, OMV E&P 2013-2015
- Global Geomechanics Advisor, Baker Hughes Reservoir Development Services 2009-2013
- Director Europe-Africa-Middle East, GeoMechanics International, Inc. 1998-2008
- Mechanical response of reservoirs to pore pressure changes in fields/reservoirs (i.e., injection, stimulation, or depletion) and how this impacts fluid flow (e.g., production).
- Monitoring, laboratory testing, as well as numerical modeling to improve understanding and enhanced predictive capabilities for above phenomena for a variety of reservoir types such as fractured reservoirs (in particular carbonates), unconventional reservoirs, and so-called brown fields (that are produced using improved and enhanced recovery methods).
- Wellbore stability (i.e., mechanical integrity of boreholes both during drilling and production/injection) and real-time data acquisition including risk mitigation.
- PhD Geology, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria since 2003
- MSc Applied Geosciences, Geophysics, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria since 1998
- Lecturer, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria since 2013
- Principal Geoscientist, HOT Engineering GmbH, Austria since 2005
- Geophysicist, Joanneum Research, Austria 1999-2005
- Research Associate, Department of Geology, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria 1997-1999
All aspects of reservoir characterization and modeling.
- PhD candidate Reservoir Engineering, Montanuniversität Leoben since 2018
- MSc in Petroleum Engineering, Reservoir Engineering Module, Montanuniversität Leoben 2015-2017
- BSc Mining Engineering (Exploration), Polytechnic University of Tehran, Iran 2001-2006
- University Assistant, Montanuniversität Leoben since 2018
- Teaching Assistant, Montanuniversität Leoben 2016-2017
- Mining Engineer (Field Engineer), Koosha Co.,Tehran, Iran 2013-2014
- Mining Engineer (Ore Deposit Simulation), Koosha Co, Tehran, Iran 2010-2013
- Project Control Engineer, Rastin Company, Tehran, Iran 2009
- Investigation of Pore Level EOR Processes Using Microfluidic Devices and Micro-CT
- Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods
- Digital Image Processing
- PhD candidate, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria since 2016
- MSc Reservoir Engineering, Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine (INPL), École Nationale Supérieure de Géologie, Nancy, France 2010-2012
- BSc Petroleum Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran 2006-2010
- Research Associate at Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria since 2014
- Petroleum Engineer at North Drilling Company, Tehran, Iran 2013-2014
- Reservoir Engineer Trainee at TOTAL, Paris, France 2012
Geological hydrogen storage, geochemical modelling, experimental studies of multiphase flow using microfluidic devices, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).
- PhD candidate Reservoir Engineering, University of Leoben since 2016
- MSc International Studies in Petroleum Engineering, Reservoir Engineering Module, University of Leoben 2013-2015
- BSc Earth Science Engineer, Petroleum Engineering Module, University of Miskolc 2009-2013
- Teaching Assistant, Chair of Reservoir Engineering, University of Leoben since 2016
- Project employee, Chair of Reservoir Engineering, University of Leoben 2015
- Student Assistant, Chair of Reservoir Engineering, University of Leoben 2014-2015
- Water-based IOR/EOR
- Low salinity water flooding
- Alkaline flooding
- CO2 sequestration
- Continuum scale physics in porous media flow
- Numerical software development
Ahmad Kharrat, BSc
Andreas Rath, BSc