Vasheghani Farahani, Mehrdad
Project title: Coupled geophysical-geothermal modelling for prediction of the response of gas hydrate-bearing permafrost sediments to global warming Project abstract: The integration of static and dynamic data to further understand fluid flow behaviour in heterogenous carbonate reservoirs. Supervisor(s): Professor Bahman Tohidi and Dr Jinhai Yang Email: Weblinks:


Aghabozorgi Nafchi, Shokoufeh

Project title: Three Phase Relative Permeability Determination by Mechanistic Modelling

Supervisor: Professor Mehran Sohrabi


Ahmadi, Pezhman

Project title: Investigation of the effects of impurities on CO2 rich systems

Supervisors: Professor Bahman Tohidi & Dr Antonin Chapoy



Alabdulwahab, Ibrahim

Project title: Improved Interpretation of Gas-condensate Well Test Transient Data

Project abstract:The scope of this research is to provide a theoretical framework for the improved gas-condensate well test (WT) interpretation including near wellbore rate effects. We incorporate probe radius concept with the analytical calculation of relative permeability and the two-phase pseudo-pressure concept. The end result is to have an improved analysis of WT data that properly represent the multi-phase behaviour on the pressure derivative, which in return removes any condensate banking mask on the data and provide a better estimate of reservoir parameters. Ultimately, the approach might have a practical attractiveness and could be applied to real case scenarios.

Supervisor: Professor Mahmoud Jamiolahmady


Al-Haboobi, Zainab Imad

Project title: Enhanced Oil Recovery

Supervisor: Professor Mike Christie & Dr Dan Arnold


Al-Ibadi, Hasan

Project title: Upscaling of Low Salinity Water Flooding.

Project abstract: Recently, the increase of oil recovery by using low salinity water flooding (LSWF) has been widely investigated. Until now, there remain various arguments about the mechanisms and the factors that control the effect of LSWF on oil recovery and the majority of this kind of research has focused on the lab side. Furthermore, very little has been studied on how to upscale LSWF and initiate the pseudo relative permeability functions that are essential to calculate fluid flow throughout coarsely gridded simulation models. Such coarse grid models are crucial to reduce the running time of simulators due to the computational limitations existing computers. Otherwise fine grid geological models that contain millions of grid cells could be very time consuming and has have high cost. Therefore, this research will focus on how to upscale LSWF with optimum pseudo functions of various flow properties to reduce possible errors that may occur due to coarsening of grids.

Supervisor(s): Dr Karl Stephen and Dr Eric Mackay


Al-Ali, Ali Jameel Hanoon

Project title: Integration of seismic facies classification with dynamic data to estimate fluid saturation change over-time.

Supervisors: Dr Karl Stephen and Dr Asghar Shams



Al Jaberi, Abdulla

Project title: Enhanced Oil Recovery by Low Salinity Water Injection

Project abstract: Reducing the salt content of water injected in oil reservoirs is being considered as a method to increase oil recovery. Numerous laboratory experiments have indicated that injecting low salinity water instead of seawater can lead to incremental oil recoveries in various extent. Although much research has been conducted on the topic, the governing physical and chemical mechanisms for this increase in recovery are not yet agreed upon, but are generally believed to involve some form of interaction between the rock, oil, and brine leading to changes in wettability, oil/water interfacial tension, or both. The focus of this research is to understand the fundamental processes occurring at the interfaces between crude oil, bine and rock; develop a workflow and methodology for modeling low salinity water injection. It will work on predicting the amount and the rate of incremental oil recovery by low salinity water injection.


Alkhazmi, Bashir

Project title: Improved Characterisation of Three-Phase Flow in Porous Media and WAG Injection

Project abstract: In this project the potential of a number of EOR techniques will be investigated, first, by performing experiments under reservoir conditions and then by performing numerical simulation and mathematical modelling.
The main objectives of the project are as follows:
1.Identify the performance of different EOR techniques by quantifying the amount of additional oil recovery;
2.Evaluate the validity of the existing formulation in commercial reservoir simulators; and
3.Develop improved models and methodologies for modelling the tested EOR techniques.

Supervisor: Professor Mehran Sohrabi


Al Maqbali, Adnan

Project title: Numerical simulation and upscaling of EOR processes in fractured carbonate reservoirs, including miscible and immiscible WAG and foam flooding

Project abstract: The aim is to compare different EOR methods with foam and show how numerically modelling foam injection and its impacts in enhancing oil recovery utilizing currently available commercial reservoir simulators.

Supervisors: Professor Sebastian Geiger & Professor Eric Mackay


Al-Kabbawi, Firas

Project title: Modelling the performance of infill-drilled horizontal wells in recovering passed oil in mature
oil and gas fields

Project abstract: Significant amounts of hydrocarbon are known being left unrecovered in mature oil and gas fields which have first been developed in the 1960s to 1980s. If these remaining resources could be recovered, they can help alleviate shortage of world energy supply and consequently address many related issues. There is an international effort underway to redevelop mature fields. The success of mature field redevelopment relies heavily on infill drilling technology which enables the access previously bypassed hydrocarbon. However, there is a lack of modelling techniques for predicting the performance of horizontal wells efficiently without resorting to complicated full-scale reservoir modelling. The efficiency is a key element to the success of any redevelopment project that is more than likely to be under investment. In this project, the PhD candidate will expand his analytical horizontal well models and develop new semi-analytical models for this purpose. The models will be validated against numerical models and applied to a field in the North Sea. Suitable training in subject field and transfer skills will be provided to the candidate.

Supervisors: Dr. Jingsheng Ma


Al-Nuaimi, Latifa

Project title: Improved Characterization of Two- and Three-Phase Flow for Reliable Reservoir Performance Prediction
(Including Water Flooding, Gas Injection, and WAG Injection)

Project abstract: My research area about improved characterization of two and three phase flow for reliable reservoir performance prediction (Including Water Flooding, Gas Injection, and WAG Injection).
Three phase relative permeability (3pkr) models are used widely by Reservoir Engineers to predict the performance of petroleum reservoirs. However, there are concerns about the validity of the existing models and the reliability of predictions made by these models. My PhD objective is evaluated and improved the performance of three phase relative permeability models for carbonate rocks systems by comparing the prediction of the models with the experimental results performed under reservoir temperature and pressure.

Supervisor: Professor Mehran Sohrabi


Alzayer, Hassan

Project title: Water-Alternating-Gas Simulation

Project abstract: The key challenge for the oil industry in terms of EOR simulation is not the technology itself but the understanding of the process to be modelled. Therefore, in my research I will focus on modelling process, which means the initialisation and calibration of reservoir simulation models. The aim is to come up with a unique process yielding more accurate and fit-for-purpose models suitable for WAG projects, in particular for fractured carbonate reservoirs. Significant amounts of oil reserves worldwide are discovered in naturally fractured reservoirs. The complexity of fluid flow physics in fractured carbonate reservoirs is yet to be understood. Hence the deeper understanding of capillary and gravity forces interaction that will be generated in this project will lead to better modelling and improved prediction accuracy in fractured carbonate reservoirs.

Supervisor: Professor Mehran Sohrabi



Aminnaji, Morteza

Project title: Gas hydrates and flow assurance

Project abstract: I'm involved in several projects within the Gas Hydrate, Flow Assurance and Phase Equilibria Research Group. I've done different experimental works, including;
• Investigating the effect of specially designed IL in hydrate inhibition
• Heat transfer control on hydrate formation
• Hydrate safety margins in the presence of Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitors
• Identifying suitable hydrate inhibitor(s) for removing hydrate blockage within the wellbore

Supervisor: Professor Bahman Tohidi



Anderson, Iain

Project title: Analysis of shale mineralogy and fabric and its induced anisotropic seismic response for hydrocarbon exploration and production

Project abstract: With a principal focus on the Bowland Shale in northern England, this project aims to:
• Generate new data on the rock properties and heterogeneity of the system (relating to shale composition, geochemistry and fabric).
• Develop novel techniques for modelling the seismic response.
• Create forward-looking models to analyse seismic response during and after the fracking process.
This will apply fundamental science to the problems of shale gas exploration and production, with a view to provide a better economic production strategy together with improved environmental understanding.
The project is an alliance between British Geological Survey and Heriot Watt University.

Supervisors: Dr. Jingsheng Ma, Dr. Xiaoyang Wu (BGS) & Professor Dorrik Stow


Araibi, Abdulati

Project title: The Various Types of Unconformities and their Relationship with the Fluid Flow

Project abstract: Because unconformities are created by different processes with different morphologies and their physical properties will be variable as well. With respect to fluid flow, unconformities may act as either conduits or barriers to fluid flow. Therefore it is important to know the characteristics of these unconformities and the relation between them and their original formation processes. How that can be related to the fluid flow in the basins? We also need to know are the unconformities work as channels and permeable area to the fluid or as seals and barrier to the fluid? How we can predict and confirm that? And how we know if the properties of these unconformities are uniform over the whole basin or not? Is this effect of the unconformities will be constant over time or it may change and how we can predict that? Is it possible for the unconformities to work as accumulation space for the hydrocarbon?

Supervisors: Dr Helen Lever & Dr Dorrik Stow


Bankole, Shereef Adebayo

Project title: Microfabric of deepwater fine grained sediments

Project abstract: In the deep-sea setting, there are three principal mechanisms by which fine-grained sediments are normally deposited: fall-out from suspension (hemipelagite and pelagite), bottom currents (contourites) and turbidity currents (turbidites). There is a process continuum between these mechanisms as well as common process interaction, so that identification of end-member types can be challenging. One important sediment attribute that can be studied in very small samples is that of microfabric. This attribute is controlled in part by the depositional style, and affected by post-depositional processes. It is also of great interest in understanding the nature of fluid flow through fine-grained sediments. Owing to the advancement in electron microscopy and other technologies, my research involves studying in detail the microfabric of the process laden sediments within the deepwater setting using electron microscopy and other relevant techniques.

Supervisors: Professor Dorrik Stow, Dr Helen Lever & Dr Jim Buckman


Chan Chang, Shing Cheng

Project title: Data-driven reservoir management using deep learning techniques

Project abstract: Development of unconventional resources is faced with many challenges due to the lack of reliable numerical/physical models. However, the low cost of monitoring sensors enables the collection of large amounts of real time data that can be analysed or interrogated to extract valuable knowledge about subsurface reservoir within a data-driven framework. The success of this data-driven model relies on utilising a set of signal/image processing tools to capture useful signal-level attributes, referred to as features. However, crafting good features is a particularly challenging process underpinning the success of the entire framework. In the current project, recent advances in deep learning algorithms will be applied for automatic feature discovery for subsurface reservoir.

Supervisors: Dr Ahmed Elsheikh & Professor Mike Christie


Corte, Gustavo Araujo

Project title: Pressure and Saturation inversion from 4D seismic data and reservoir simulation

Project abstract: One of the most efficient ways to introduce seismic data constraints into the history matching process is having a trustworthy seismic estimation of the pressures and saturations across the reservoir. This brings seismic data directly into the reservoir engineering domain, making its use in history matching more comprehensive and straight forward.
The current challenge in this analysis is the fact that the seismic domains carry uncertainty and non-uniqueness, the petro-elastic model that links seismic properties to engineering properties is uncertain and ill-defined, and the simulation model has a high number of unknowns. This project intends to bring together data from the wells, multiple reservoir simulations and 4D seismic in a holistic approach for the inversion of pressure and saturation changes. It will result in a workflow that will assess the uncertainties on each set of input in order to create a quantitative estimation of pressures and saturations and their related uncertainties.

Supervisors: Professor Colin MacBeth & Dr Hamed Amini


Cortes, Victor Gutierrez

Project title: Modelling the effect of dual-wettability of mixed organic and inorganic pores on shale gas and coal bed methane recovery.

Project abstract: Unlike conventional clastic deposits, gas shales and coal bed seams contain a high proportion of mostly localised organic matters and diverse inorganic materials. Pores in organic matters are often too small to be efficient flow paths, whereas much larger pores, which have been observed between organic and inorganic materials and might result from their differential shrinkage, are believed to be main conducts from which gas in organic matters can flow out. Organic matters are known to attract gas rather than formation brines and injected water, but the vice versa is true for inorganic materials. Giving rise to a dual-wettability condition. However, little is known about or done to assess the significance of this dual-wettability of mixed pores on gas and water flow, due mainly to the difficulty in characterising mixed pores at appropriate scales and the lack of suitable and efficient multiscale models for simulating two-phase flow in complex systems.

Supervisors: Professor Jingsheng Ma & Professor Steve McDougall


Costa Gomes, Jorge

Project title: A hierarchical carbonate reservoir benchmarking case study for reservoir characterization, uncertainty quantification and history matching.

Project abstract: The integration of static and dynamic data to further understand fluid flow behaviour in heterogeneous carbonate reservoirs.

Supervisors: Professor Sebastian Geiger and Dr Dan Arnold


Egya, David

Project title: Characterisation of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs

Project abstract: I am a PhD student working, together with Carbonate Reservoir Group, on characterisation of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs (NFRs). My research work involves applying geoengineering workflow in conjunction with Discrete Fracture Modelling (DFM) techniques and unstructured grids reservoir simulations to modelling and analysing NFRs.
The objective is to quantify limitations of existing well-test analysis techniques for NFRs, systematically analyse alternative interpretation methods to understand which features of a NFRs can be detected from well-tests and to utilise well-test analysis to develop flow diagnostics that help to analyse the success of EOR methods (e.g. polymer flooding to divert flow in fractures).
My research interests involve fracture modelling, unstructured grids, well test analysis, flow diagnostics.

Supervisors: Professor Sebastian Geiger & Professor Patrick Corbett


Weblinks: Research Group: Carbonate Reservoir Group

Geng, Chong

Project title: Proxy model based seismic history matching

Project abstract:
• Seismic history matching
• Stochastic optimization
• Proxy based seismic forward modelling

Supervisors: Professor Colin MacBeth & Dr Romain Chassagne


Ghaderi Zefreh, Masoud

Project title: Fit-for-purpose Simulator for Scale Management at Production Wells

Project abstract: Analysis of wave structure of reactive transport consisting of ion-exchange, precipitation, dissolution and multiphase flow using methods from the theory of hyperbolic partial differential equations.

Supervisors: Dr Florian Doster & Professor Eric Mackay


Gray, Amanda

Project title: Internal architecture and external geometry of sand waves and contourite-influenced deposits offshore Senegal

Project abstract: The aim of this study is to examine the genesis and architectures of sand wave and contourite-influenced deposits offshore Senegal. This project will help understand the impact of sand wave architecture on both reservoir properties and prospectivity of these deposits across the West African margin. The focus of the project is two recent high-profile discoveries by Cairn Energy and partners, where the reservoirs appear to have been affected by bottom currents. A wide range of data will be studied including 3D seismic, core, well logs, drill stem tests and outcrop analogues.

Outputs of this project aim to include:

  1. a review of studies on sand wave deposits;
  2. understanding of formation processes of sand wave deposits based on new data;
  3. observations of internal and external architecture of sand waves;
  4. static and dynamic models of save wave reservoirs; and
  5. context on exploration potential of sand wave deposits.

Supervisors: Dr Uisdean Nicholson, Professor Dorrik Stow, Dr John Clayburn (Cairn Energy)



Guariguata Rojas, Gustavo Jose

Project title: Use of 3D seismic volumes to evaluate the nature, timing and implications of structural deformation in the Inner Moray Firth.

Project abstract: The project is evaluating the the nature, timing and effects of fault activity in the Inner Moray Firth Basin (IMF). The IMF forms the exhumed western arm of the Late Jurassic Trilete North Sea rift system and is a part of the Moray Firth Basin. The project uses previously unreleased high fidelity 3D seismic volumes to gain a fuller understanding of the tectonic control on the basin's geological development and evolution. The study will discriminate between the Late Jurassic structures (syn-rift), Jurassic structures reactivated during the Tertiary as well as newly formed structures, and thereby aim towards the establishment of the basins fault activity history.

Supervisor(s): Professor John Underhill and Dr Rachel Jamieson


Heidari, Mohammad Amir

Project title: Maximising Oil Recovery by Gas and Water Injection

Project abstract: Water and gas injection are two widely used oil recovery techniques. It has been recently shown that the performance of these techniques could be significantly enhanced by engineering the right water composition as well as combining both techniques and use a hybrid of the two. In this project, experimental data will be generated under true reservoir conditions to investigate the mechanisms of oil recovery by gas and water injection at both micro (pore) and macro (core) scales. The impact of various oil recovery mechanisms will be investigated as well as various injection strategies for combined gas and water injection. The data will then be used for modelling and numerical simulation of these oil recovery processes in order to develop guidelines for field application.

Supervisors: Dr Amir Farzaneh & Professor Mehran Sohrabi



Hernandez Casado, Juame

Project title: Geophysical detection of dyke and sill complexes, and the implications for prospectivity

Project abstract: It has long been recognised that the complex overburden affects the propagation of the seismic signal and hence, the imaging of prospective sub-salt Upper Palaeozoic and Carboniferous reservoirs in the SNS. The complexity has consequent impact for structural mapping and depth conversion through a combination of factors, including the presence of a thick salt layer in the Upper Permian and Tertiary igneous intrusions. Nevertheless, our understanding of the effects of the igneous bodies have, until recently, suffered from a lack of well data calibration, so the recently acquired sonic and density logs obtained in well 44/24-6 have afforded us the rare opportunity to model, tie, and map the intrusions. We present the results of research that aims to show the interactions between salt and the intrusions and then to map, quantify, model and understand the implications for the regional overburden and its consequences for sub-salt, sub-basalt exploration of the Carboniferous.

Supervisors: Professor John Underhill & Dr Rachel Jamieson


Hoopanah, Mohsen

Project title: Novel techniques in evaluating flow assurance (WAX and Asphaltene)

Supervisors: Professor Bahman Tohidi & Dr Rod Burgass


Hunter, Rachael

Project title: Investigating the Role of Structural Inheritance and Crustal Heterogeneity in the Evolution of the Northern North Sea – project undertaken as part of the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas

Project abstract: Structural inheritance and crustal heterogeneity, where pre-existing lineaments/weaknesses are exploited during successive phases of tectonic deformation, are considered to exert a primary control during basin evolution. However many structural models, largely due to insufficient early seismic resolution, still invoke substrate homogeneity and consequently the effects on fault geometry, sedimentation and hydrocarbon systems remain incompletely understood. This research aims to investigate these controls during sedimentary basin evolution utilizing the Northern North Sea(NNS) as a test-bed. Both its multi-phased tectonic evolution and extensive subsurface data library from decades of hydrocarbon exploration, including modern high resolution seismic volumes, combine to make this an ideal laboratory for this study. Results of this research will contribute to the NERC CDT ‘Extending the Life of Mature Basins' research theme advancing our understanding of these controls during NNS evolution and the implications for prospectivity, and also further our understanding of these controls during rift transection and subsequent deformation.

Supervisors: Professor John Underhill & Dr Rachel Jamieson


Jaramillo Ruales, Alejandro

Project title: Reservoir Shale Characterisation from Seismic Attributes

Project abstract: Shales play an important role within the sedimentary record; for instance, they act as unconventional source rocks or even barriers that significantly retard the fluid flow from the reservoir. Nowadays, it is acknowledged that the conception of shale cap rocks as static bodies of rock with negligible rock-fluid interaction is far from reality, in fact the interaction between geomechanical processes (e.g. overburden) and pore fluids affects both the reservoir and cap rocks. To better understand the role exerted by shales in reservoirs, this research aims to design and apply a methodology focused on the time-lapse seismic signal from shales, establishing a relationship between the time-lapse amplitude along with a set of time-shift attributes and variations in geomechanical properties, which will help build a library with a detailed description of shales behaviour subjected to changes due to production-induced compaction in the reservoir.

Supervisors: Dr Maria-Daphne Mangriotis & Professor Colin MacBeth


Jurrahian, Khosro

Project title: Mechanistic Study of Scale Inhibitors' Retention in Carbonate Reservoirs

Project abstract: One of the most effective measures for avoiding the formation of mineral scale is to prevent its deposition by the use of chemical scale inhibitors (SI). These inhibitors are usually applied in the near-well formation by means of a "squeeze" treatment. Once these SI chemicals are placed into the formation, they may interact with the formation minerals through some processes, such as adsorption or precipitation. It is these interactions that affect the SI retention within the reservoir and the subsequent release of SI in the squeeze treatment. As about 50% of the world's oil production takes place from carbonate formations, especially in the Middle East, understanding the chemistry behind the mode of retention of the inhibitors within carbonate formations is an important issue. Our experimental results show that different adsorption/precipitation (/) regimes are clearly demonstrated in carbonate mineral substrates for the scale inhibitors, the rather different behaviour of Scale Inhibitors may be ascribed to different functional groups having different strengths of SI – Ca binding.

Supervisors: Professor Ken Sorbie, Mike Singleton and Dr. Lorraine Boak



Johnson, Caroline

Project title: Production Data Analysis of Unconventional Gas and Gas-Condensate Reservoirs

Project abstract: Proposing a practical framework for estimation of flow and in-place-related parameters using modern production data analysis techniques in tight gas and gas condensate reservoirs.

Supervisor: Professor Mahmoud Jamiolahmady


Kubeyev, Amanzhol

Project title: Hydro-mechanical modelling of Explicit Fractures in Porous Media/p>

Project abstract: Most numerical CO2 poromechanical studies are done by using a continuum approach. In these studies, fractures and faults are usually modelled implicitly by superimposing failure criteria. It is assumed that once criteria are reached, CO2 would escape from the storage. However, what happens to the fractures after the failure is often not investigated. Potentially, after rock failed, open fractures may close back sealing the caprock because of the stress and pressure reconfiguration.

In this project, we plan to develop a novel numerical simulator for modelling explicit underground fractures that captures the interaction of the fluid flow and rock mechanics in porous media. The tool will capture complex fracture deformation process where fractures open, close and slip due to injection or production of the fluids in the subsurface. The expectation is that this work will lead to a method that can be used for a variety of explicit fracturing problems.

Supervisors: Dr Florian Doster and Dr Andreas Busch.


Kuznetsova, Alexandra

Project title: Geological Realism for reliable Reservoir Predictions

Project abstract: The project is focused on the integration of geological knowledge into subsurface reservoir models; including data from different natural analogues and geological surveys.
The project entails eliciting prior knowledge and complex dependencies hidden in data which are the subject of vast uncertainties. It involves development of novel approaches for justified and realistic forecasting of petroleum reservoir performance based on quantifying uncertainty along the modelling workflow.
The project wraps together contemporary machine learning algorithms, geological knowledge and engineering practice within a Bayesian inverse modelling framework.

Supervisors: Dr Vasily Demyanov & Professor Mike Christie



Libby, Simon

Project title: Structural Development of the Levantine Basin and Cyprus Arc

Project abstract: The Eastern Mediterranean region includes a number of diverse tectonic domains. The timing and nature of the interaction between these settings, however, has not been definitively established.
A regional seismic data set with locally detailed sections permits observations on the subsurface geology offshore Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. New (to the scientific community) seismic data over the Cyprus Arcs affords an exclusive opportunity for new insights.

Imaging of the features of the Levantine and Heredotus Basins, Eratosthenes ‘Seamount' and Cyprus Arc subduction/collision zone has been used to construct an updated and more detailed understanding of the tectonic evolution of the area. Focus includes the nature of convergence at the Cyprus Arc since the Late Cretaceous, basin extension during the Miocene and the movement of Messinian salt since its deposition.

Supervisors: Professor John Underhill & Dr Rachel Jamieson


March, Rafael

Project title: CO2 Storage Potential in Naturally-Fractured Reservoirs

Project abstract: My research aims at studying the viability of injecting greenhouse gases, such as CO2, in fractured subsurface geological formations. I study the physical processes that take place during CO2 injection and implement the physical models in an open-source numerical simulator called MRST (developed in Matlab). All my computational models are available to the scientific community as an extension of this simulator, and the toolbox I have developed from scratch is currently being distributed with MRST.

Supervisors: Professor Sebastian Geiger & Professor Florian Doster



Mehraban, Mohammad Fattahi

Project title: Low Salinity Water Injection

Project abstract: Fundamental study of crude oil/brine interactions and their impacts on oil recovery by waterflood

Although waterflood has been used extensively for a long time for marinating pressure of oil reservoirs and improving recovery factor, only recently it has been identified that the type and amount of minerals and salts available in the flood water can have a significant impact on the outcome of a waterflood project. Several factors and mechanisms have been proposed as the possible underlying causes of the observed changes in oil recovery by waterflood. The proposed mechanisms are mainly linked to brine/rock interactions. Very recently, it has been shown that crucial fluid/fluid (brine/oil) interactions also take place during waterflood that can potentially be the dominant factors affecting waterflood recovery factor. These integration are still not fully understood and therefore cannot be properly modelled mathematically. There is therefore a need to investigate fundamental chemical and physical interactions that take place during water flood in an oil reservoir.

This knowledge is vital for the development of reliable predictive models and is urgently required as oil companies are increasingly moving toward large-scale field application of new generation of water flood projects often referred to as "designer" or "smart" water flood. The work requires details characterisation of crude oil samples with different characteristics and physical properties and the study of crude oil/brine interactions and possible new phases and components that may form. A model will then have to be proposed and developed capable of capturing the observed interactions and be included in flow models used for reservoir performance prediction.

Supervisors: Dr Amir Farzaneh & Professor Mehran Sohrabi


Nezhad Karim Nobakht, Behzad

Project title: Uncertainty Quantification in Bayesian Calibration of Multivariate Models

Project abstract: Simulators, however good, cannot thoroughly reproduce the correct model. It may be that some observations can never be desirably matched due to the fact that the model itself is inaccurate and inadequate. The model inadequacy is always expected in mathematical modelling even if no uncertainty in parameters applies. Disregarding any source of errors can lead to biased parameters estimation in a calibration progress which may cause further poor decisions at the top-level problem.
I attempt to evolve all available information and sources of uncertainty into the ongoing calibration progress to reduce bias estimation of model parameters and correct for the model inadequacy.

Supervisor: Professor Mike Christie


Nikjoo, Ehsan

Project title: Dynamic Modelling and Real-time Monitoring in Intelligent Wells

Project abstract: Intelligent wells are equipped with permanent gauges and sensors to monitor the condition of completion and reservoir. With ever increasing attention to these devices the need for transferring the huge collected data to useful information, in order to justify the installation cost, is highly appreciated.
Real-time monitoring is a continuous process starting from early life of well toward reservoir depletion stage. In addition, based on the data used for the analysis and the methods selected for interpretation, information about just a centimeter near the wellbore up to the boundary of the reservoir can be revealed.
The aim of this project is mainly to illustrate a bigger picture about the application of real-time monitoring in intelligent wells. In order to do this, the required algorithms and workflows to separately or simultaneously analyzing the measured data including Pressure, Temperature and Flow Rate in intelligent wells are developed. In addition, a dynamic modelling workflow for clean-up process in advanced well completion, which can result in improving measurement and sampling quality, is also presented.

Supervisors: Dr. Khafiz Muradov & Professor David Davies


Nobakht, Behzad

Project title: Uncertainty Quantification in Bayesian Calibration of Computer Models

Project abstract: In a Bayesian framework, the objective is to capture the true model parameters distribution via an iterative process of model calibration. The solutions to this iterative process are later ranked based on their quality, such that the models with lower misfit values gain a higher rank. The choice of the misfit function is highly linked with the underlying assumption on the likelihood of the models being calibrated. Our research aims to examine qualitatively as well as quantitatively a new likelihood function by accounting for all traceable sources of errors such as model inadequacy.

Supervisors: Prof. Mike Christie & Dr. Vasily Demyanov


Onugha, Ifeyinwa Ngozi

Project title: The Impact of Production Data Uncertainty on Assisted History Matching and Performance Prediction

Project abstract: In assisted history matching, the focus is usually to generate multiple fitting models to the observed production data for the purpose of forecasting the future performance of the reservoir. The historical production data is often considered as being the truth case and is used as the basis to match these models. In reality, these data are prone to measurement error. Measurement error in recorded production data are often due to well mechanical problems and database artefact errors during production data entry. The research methodology essentially involves data analyses of observed field and well historical fluid production and fluid injection profiles, well bottom hole pressures and fluid injection pressures to account for model inadequacy resulting from database artefacts and wellbore mechanical problems. The “misfit” term the basis of which reservoir forecasting is made is then redefined to include model inadequacy resulting from production data uncertainty.

Supervisors: Prof. Mike Christie, Dr Dan Arnold


Onwunyili, Christian Chime

Project title: Identifying Suitable Metrics for Comparing Data in Seismic History Matching

Project abstract: Seismic history matching requires that comparison is made of observed and predicted seismic data. Often this is done assuming that the observed data is properly calibrated and represents the same physical properties that are modelled. This study will examine alternative approaches so that the relative nature of time-lapse seismic can be properly examined. The study will focus on using multiple-objective methods in history matching to identify those that are most appropriate for the data available.

Supervisors: Dr Keith Stephen & Dr. Andy Gardiner


Petrovskyy, Dmytro

Project title: Upscaling of Multi-Scale Pore-Network Modelling Incorporating Spatially Distributed Wettability

Project abstract: Multi-scale reconstruction and upscaling to compute effective flow properties in carbonate rocks using digital rock physics.

Supervisors: Dr. Zeyun Jiang, Dr. Rink van Dijke & Professor Sebastian Geiger


Pola, Jackson

Jackson PolaProject title: Simulation of Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery in Naturally Fractured Carbonates Reservoirs

Project abstract: Jackson is analysing and quantifying on parameters affecting incremental oil recovery during chemical EOR in fractured carbonate reservoirs to develop effective upscaling models for chemical EOR in fractured reservoirs. The specific aims of this project are three-fold;

  • First, investigating how efficiently oil can be recovered from the carbonate rock matrix during chemical EOR, particularly when chemical processes change wettability.
  • Secondly, effective models will be developed that allow us to upscale the physio-chemical processes that drive fracture-matrix flow processes during chemical EOR in carbonate reservoirs to the grid block scale; these models will also consider geological heterogeneities.
  • Third, implementing these models into MRST to demonstrate their applicability to large-scale reservoir simulations.

Supervisors: Professor Sebastian Geiger & Professor Eric Mackay



Polymeni, Anastasia

Project title: The Tectono-Stratigraphic Evolution and Neotectonic Overprint of the Gela Thrust Front and Iblean Foreland of Sicily and Calabria

Project abstract: The PhD study is focused on the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Central Mediterranean, a region that represents a complex segment of the Neogene Alpine Orogen recording the deformational history of Tethyan collision and suture. The area of interest is considered as an ideal natural laboratory to study, not only a highly deformed collisional belt, but also an area in which transecting convergent- and extensional related structures exist.

Supervisors: Professor John R Underhill, Dr Rachel Jamieson & Professor Keith Gerdes


Rezaeyan, Amirsaman

Project title: Using small angle neutron scattering (SANS) for a systematic understanding of the pore structure of mudrocks of different origin

Project abstract: Mudrocks are naturally defined by a broad range of pore size distribution, from macropores through mesopores and micropores. A large fraction of the porosity is associated with pores smaller than 2nm, which is partly inaccessible or non-resolvable to several invasion or microscopy methods. Contrary to such standard techniques, Small Angle (SANS) and Very Small Angle Neutron Scattering (VSANS) techniques have shown to provide a detailed resolution of the shale pore space, providing connected and non-connected porosity, as well as pore size distribution, specific surface area and fractal dimension. Image-based modelling associated with neutron scattering can accordingly make a contribution to a better understanding of fluid flow in shales. Within this project we will perform new SANS measurements and rely on existing datasets to better understand and quantify the pore space of mudrocks which is of relevance for unconventional gas production and seal integrity for carbon storage.

Supervisors: Dr Andreas Busch & Dr Jingsheng Ma


Rodrigues, Hydra

Project title: Optimisation of CO2-WAG injection for scale management, CO2 storage and EOR in carbonate reservoirs under uncertainties

Project abstract: This project research aims to evaluate the interrelation between scale deposition mechanisms and geological CO2 storage and how it impacts the overall oil recovery in carbonate reservoirs under CO2-WAG injection. The main goal is developing practical strategies to minimise the scale risk and, at the same time, maximise CO2 sequestration and net present value (NPV), using a multi-objective optimisation approach. The effect of water-alternating-gas (WAG) operational and design parameters such as WAG ratio, injection brine composition and CO2 slug size, as well as reservoir heterogeneity characteristics and thermodynamics conditions changes will be investigated using coupled geochemical modelling and reservoir simulation. A sensitivity analysis will be performed in order to estimate the influence of geological and economic uncertainties in the model and how sensitive is the system relatively to changes in controllable parameters.

Supervisors: Professor Eric Mackay & Dr Daniel Arnold


Shahrokhi, Omid

Project title: Water-alternating Gas Injection in Carbonate Reservoirs

Project abstract:
- Three phase flow mechanisms involved in Water-alternating-Gas injection
- Effect of miscibility on gas based EOR.
- Gas based EOR in carbonate reservoirs.

Supervisor: Professor Mehran Sohrabi


Soriano, Ilaria

Project title: Micromechanics of cemented granular materials

Project abstract: Do type and degree of cementation play an important role in the generation and evolution of deformation bands in sandstones? The present study focuses on the micro-processes taking place during deformation of weakly cemented sands, which may be considered as an analogue of sandstones.

Sand grains were collected from a weakly cemented sand quarry, where sand deposits had experienced natural (large scale) deformation. Keeping this phenomenon as reference, artificially sandstones are created in laboratory, cementing sand grains at different contents. A range of pre-, syn- and post- deformation experimental methods (X-ray CT, SEM, 3D DIC, permeability simulators) are applied to capture natural and laboratory-induced deformation processes. The project consists of:

  1. investigation of the microstructure of naturally cemented sands;
  2. preparation of artificial sandstones;
  3. analysis of the mechanical behaviour of the artificial samples undergoing deformation processes;
  4. comparison of the mechanical behaviour between the artificial material and the natural one.

Supervisors: Dr Elli-Maria Charalampidou, Dr Helen Lewis, Cino Viggiani (3SR Laboratoire, Université Grenoble Alpes, France)



Steffens, Bastian

Project title: Prediction of flow through fractures and maximising recovery under geological uncertainty and geomechanical constrains

Project abstract: 

Supervisors: Dr Vasily Demyanov, Dr Dan Arnold, Prof. Gary Couples



Valiakhmetova, Alsu

Project title: Scale inhibitor retention mechanisms and performance in precipitation squeeze treatments

Project abstract: Scale inhibitor squeeze treatments are recognised to be the most economically and technically favourable option for scale management in subsea fields. Squeeze treatments comprises of injecting a scale inhibitor (SI), usually in a “bullhead” injection, into the near wellbore area followed by an over-flush brine, which displaces the SI deeper into the formation. After a shut-in period to allow the chemical to retain within the formation rock, the well is put back onto production.
The main mechanisms of SI retention in formation are adsorption and/or precipitation. The project is focused on the precipitation behaviour of phosphonate and phosphate ester scale inhibitors in the context of precipitation squeeze treatments. The project covers the fundamental investigation of key parameters for precipitation treatments leading to a controlled SI release including the study of precipitation effect on the SI performance.

Supervisors: Professor Ken Sorbie & Dr. Lorraine Boak


Vasheghani Farahani, Mehrdad

Project title: Coupled geophysical-geothermal modelling for prediction of the response of gas hydrate-bearing permafrost sediments to global warming

Project abstract:

Supervisors: Professor Bahman Tohidi & Dr. Jinhai Yang



Verri, Giulia

Project title: Analysis of Iron Sulphide Scaling

Project abstract: One key challenge associated with oil and gas production are inorganic scales. These deposits can form anywhere in the well and pose a serious threat to production efficiency, system integrity and health and safety.
Iron sulphide (FeS), used to be referred to as "exotic scale" due to its less prominent presence in oilfield environments but in more recent years it has become a routinely reported type of deposit. It is common practice to approach FeS scale predictions like other inorganic scales but there are significant additional challenges associated with FeS and a new approach must be taken to provide meaningful and accurate results.
This project combines pressure/volume/temperature (PVT) modelling with scale prediction modelling in a new integrated workflow to produce accurate scale prediction trends used to design effective and efficient mitigation and prevention programs.
This is applied research work done using real field scenarios.

Supervisors: Professor Ken Sorbie & Dr Mike Singleton


Vilhena, Odilla

Project title: Study of Fluid Injection in Naturally Fractured Carbonate Reservoirs with Accentuated Pressure Drop

Project abstract: Enhanced Oil Recovery

Supervisors: Professor Mehran Sohrabi & Professor Paulo Couto (COPPE /UFRJ)


Vrachliotis, Stavros

Project title: Controls on and consequences of punctuated passive margin subsidence and structural inversion along Atlantic conjugate margins

Project abstract: The evolution of passive margins has typically been understood by a standard rift-drift model in which active tectonism ceases after continental breakup and formation of oceanic crust and the margin enters a phase of prolonged thermal sag. However, acquisition of seismic data along the Atlantic passive continental margin has permitted closer examination of the stratigraphic relationships within the post-rift section and found anomalous periods of deformation which do not fit the model of passive subsidence. The overall aim of the project is to understand these periods of deformation and place them in their regional context. The project will use subsurface seismic and well data from strategic areas of the western Atlantic margin such as offshore Namibia and South Africa to understand the intra-plate effects of Atlantic rifting through time and examine the impacts this deformation has on both the geological evolution of the margin and the relevant petroleum systems.

Supervisors: Professor John Underhill & Dr Rachel Jamieson


Wang, Gang

Project title: Simultaneous Optimisation of CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery and Storage

Project abstract: In this project, the aim is to investigate factors affecting the success of CES by performing numerical simulations on realistic models of oil reservoirs. Also, the processes which arise when CO2 is injected into deep saline aquifers are well known. However, there are a number of issues which require further investigation in order to optimise CES. In particular the placement of the CO2 injection wells is important.
A range of scenarios will be investigated using realistic geological models. There is always geological uncertainty in the subsurface, so many (100s-1000s) simulations need to be performed to take this into account. The Raven software developed at Heriot-Watt University will be used to run multiple simulations in order to carry out multi-parameters optimisation.

Supervisors: Dr Gillian Pickup & Dr Dan Arnold


Wang, Xu

Project title: Scale management during shale gas production

Project abstract: Shale gas hydraulic fracturing involves large volumes of water to complete the process; as a consequence of this, the water transportation, source water treatment, as well as flowback water and produced water management are important topics to be addressed in order to sustainably produce shale gas. It has been well documented that only approximately 10-40% of the fluids will be produced back to the surface, and that there will be an increased concentration of various ions in the flowback water during this process. The flowback water with high total dissolved solids and high concentrations of certain ions present a significant risk of mineral scaling. This research aims to answer the question of what causes the high salinity in the flowback water, predict the scaling tendency during shale gas production and also give some recommendations on the shale gas scale management.

Supervisor: Professor Eric Mackay


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Wong, Lee Jean

Project title: 4D Seismic History Matching : Well2Seis Interpretation
oil and gas fields

Project abstract: In reservoir management and reserves maximization opportunities, it is important to locate remaining oil locations with substantial volumes, through accurate identification of dynamic pressure communication and fluid flow paths. Today we can use 4D seismic data to enhance our understanding on these dynamic changes.
Correlating magnitude of variation in seismic attributes with cumulative volumes of fluids production yields the extent of connectivity between wells and reservoir layers, which will be used as a more reliable calibration parameter during history matching.
To reconcile well to seismic data, well2seis attribute is created to improve interpretation resolution through space and time, simultaneously reducing signal-to-noise and infer communication levels between wells and reservoir compartments.
It is essential to quantify uncertainty ranges in resources and reserves quantification of available assets during portfolio management and evaluation. The closing-the-loop (CtL) workflow and application of objective functions will be used to capture uncertainties attributed to multi-disciplinary data sources.

Supervisors: Professor Colin McBeth & Dr Hamed Amini


Wong Lorng Yon, Daniel

Project title: Multi-scale modelling of flow in fractured reservoirs

Project abstract: Development of novel upscaling/averaging procedures, using both theoretical and numerical studies, to build more reliable models for naturally fractured reservoirs that capture the fundamental flow processes pertinent to fractured geological formations.

Supervisors: Professor Sebastian Geiger & Dr Florian Doster