Carbonate Reservoirs

A world-leader in carbonate reservoir modelling and simulation research.

Our mission is to train next-generation carbonate reservoir scientists and conduct original research that innovates carbonate reservoir modelling and simulation.

Prof. Sebastian Geiger

The Carbonate Reservoirs Group, is world-renowned for its unique combination of applied and fundamental research which aims to provide far-reaching breakthrough technology for the oil and gas extraction industry worldwide.

Carbonate reservoirs hold over 60% of the world's remaining conventional oil reserves but much of the oil contained in them cannot be produced at present. Technical innovation in reservoir modelling and simulation that facilitate an increase in recovery factor and recovery efficiency from carbonate reservoirs will hence be among the most important contributions to the oil and gas industry for the next decade.


The Group currently works the main three different research themes that cover the full range of carbonate reservoir modelling and simulation:

  • International Centre for Carbonate Reservoirs (ICCR)
  • IOR and EOR modelling and simulation in fractured carbonate rocks
  • Next generation reservoir modelling and experimentation

Please visit our Carbonate Reservoir Group website for information on currently active and previous projects.

Areas of expertise

  • Reservoir simulation
  • Reservoir characterisation and modelling
  • Naturally fractured reservoirs
  • Pore-scale modelling
  • X-Ray CT visualisation
  • 3D printing

Research Impact

Multi-scale reservoir modelling for a giant carbonate reservoir

We successfully developed and applied a novel multi-scale reservoir modelling approach that not only led to significantly more robust oil-in place estimates for a highly heterogeneous carbonate reservoir but also a much more reliable dynamic model that could be easily calibrated with dynamic data.

A new pore-scale displacement mechanism in carbonate rocks

Using high-resolution X-Ray micro-computed tomography, we discovered a new pore-scale displacement mechanisms termed “droplet fragmentation” that is inherent to oil-water displacement processes in multi-porosity carbonate rocks.

Universal scaling of spontaneous imbibition

Spontaneous imbibition is one of the key recovery mechanisms in fractured (carbonate) reservoirs. We have been able to find an exact analytical solution to this problem that is applicable to any fluid-rock combination and allows us to quantify large-scale spontaneous imbibition processes from small-scale laboratory experiments.

Further details about these case studies can be found in our Carbonate Reservoir Group website.


The Carbonate Reservoirs group comprises approximately 30 members (excluding MSc students) with backgrounds in petroleum engineering, geoscience, mathematics, and physics. Our research aims to improve our ability to characterise, model, and predict hydrocarbon recovery from carbonate formations using a range of state-of-the-art experimental, modelling, and simulation technologies, many of them developed in-house. To facilitate this aim, we are routinely collaborating with leading academic institutions and industrial R&D departments world-wide on a range of novel research projects.

Theme Lead

Professor Sebastian Geiger joined the Institute of Petroleum Engineering in 2006. He is currently an Energi Simulation Chair in Reactive Flow Simulation and the Co-Director of the International Centre for Carbonates (ICCR). His research focuses on novel methods to improve the characterisation, modelling, and simulation of (fractured) carbonate reservoirs.

He received his PhD degree in computational geosciences from the ETH Zurich in 2004 and holds an MSc degree in geosciences from Oregon State University. He serves on numerous technical committees for SPE, EAGE, and Interpore. He has authored well over 100 technical papers on all aspects of carbonate reservoir modelling and simulation.


Previous researchers working in the Carbonate Reservoirs group are now enjoying very successful careers, both in industry and academia, working for example as senior researchers with Schlumberger, Aramco Services Company or Petroleum Development Oman, as consultants with Boston Consulting, or as postdoctoral researchers and even professors at renowned universities such as Stanford University, Imperial College London, or University of Geneva.

Graduate profiles

PhD opportunities

There are currently no IPE-funded scholarship positions available but we are always looking for first class researchers and we welcome applications from self, industry or other scholarship funded candidates. If you are interested in working with us and can provide your own funding or if you are planning to apply for a scholarship (e.g. government, national research council, European Union), then please do not hesitate to contact Sebastian Geiger.


Our current research partners include:

If you are interested in supporting any of our research projects, or developing a bespoke project for your company, please do not do not hesitate to contact Sebastian Geiger.

Consultancy & CPD courses

We have provided a broad range of specialist one-on-one consultancy/research projects around carbonate reservoir characterisation, modelling, and simulation, using both, laboratory experiments and numerical simulation.

We have also delivered a range of CPD (continuous professional development) courses in the area of carbonate reservoir characterisation, modelling, and simulation in-house or at a company's premises.

We are always available to discuss new opportunities for CPD courses and one-on-one consultancy/research projects. Please contact Sebastian Geiger for further information.

Energi Simulation Chair in Reactive Flow Simulation

Energi Simulation is a not-for profit foundation, formerly known as Foundation CMG, which promotes and financially supports R&D and students through research grants and university chair programmes. Energi Simulation supports a major research programme at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, which is operated by Professor Eric Mackay and by Professor Sebastian Geiger.

This highly interdisciplinary and international research programme tackles major technical challenges related to the sustainable, secure, and efficient production of hydrocarbons. The research involves over 25 PhD students, over 20 MSc students, and several research associates, thanks to significant financial support from Energi Simulation and a wide range of operating and service companies.

Professor Sebastian Geiger at the 2015 SIAM Conference on Mathematical and Computational Issues in the Geosciences

Fractures are ubiquitous in geological formations and often control the successful exploitation of valuable resources such as hydrocarbons, water, and heat. Geoscientists, engineers, and mathematicians have struggled for decades to model and quantify the relevant physical and chemical processes accurately. This presentation will review some of the key challenges and approaches, and introduce new model concepts and numerical techniques that could led to a step-change when simulating heat and mass transfer in fractured geological formations.

EAGE E-Lecture by Professor Patrick Corbett

In this contribution we consider synthetic well test responses generated through numerical simulation of a model derived from an outcrop-based fault/fracture geometry. We consider how the well might connect with the fractures to help understand relationships between the different fracture well test responses.

Key information

Jane Wells

Sebastian Geiger

  • Energi Simulation Chair in Reactive Flow Simulation
  • +44 (0) 131 451 8054