Dr Steve McDougall
+44 (0) 131 451 3166
The Pore-scale Modelling group uses a wide range of innovative modelling techniques to understand the fundamental recovery mechanisms governing multiphase displacements in subsurface reservoirs. Techniques range from advanced pore-scale modelling approaches – including pore reconstruction protocols and the integration of multi-scale pore systems – through core-scale simulation of a variety of SCAL measurements. The modelling work is regularly informed by related experimental activity from several IPE Themes, including micromodel experiments and coreflood data.
We conduct research to develop pore-scale models that are widely considered to be the most advanced of their type, particularly for the physics of wetting films and layers (which assist in the drainage of oil) and unsteady-state ganglion dynamics. Depressurisation pore-scale physics has been extensively studied and 3D network models have been developed for analysing pressure depletion in light and heavy oil systems, the first to explicitly couple non-equilibrium PVT behaviour, gravitational migration of discontinuous gas structures and viscous forces.
Our research also explores the application of pore-scale models to a wide range of enhanced oil recovery techniques, including: low salinity waterflooding, surfactant injection, and polymer flooding. Many of these modelling approaches have been informed by a powerful, rapid reconstruction methodology (PAM: Pore Architecture Modelling), that facilitates the creation of multi-scale 3-D in silico porous media from a range of 2-D cross-sectional data. Our numSCAL software allows reconstructed media to be used as numerical rock surrogates for a variety of EOR studies.
In addition, a framework for the classification of digital rocks by machine learning is currently being constructed to produce reliable and robust predictions of micro-to-macro relationships – it is underpinned by recent advances in support vector machine learning. Additionally, a number of new, highly efficient lattice Boltzmann simulation techniques have been developed at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE) for examining flow through low-porosity rocks and multi-scale interconnected pore systems.
Finally, we continue our innovative research in applying network modelling techniques to examine flow in biological systems (flow in vascular beds, tumours, bone implants, and retinae) and have highlighted a number of important new targets for therapeutic intervention.