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University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes

Geochemical Modelling of CO2 Transport and Sequestration in Spent Oilfields

School of Chemical Engineering

About the Project

Supervisor 1: Prof. Joe Wood, Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham
Supervisor 2: Prof. Sean Rigby (Chem Eng), Dr David Large (Geologist), Univ. of Nottingham
A fully funded 4-year PhD position in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham is available to start in the Autumn (October) 2021 as part of the Centre of Doctoral Training GeoNetZero. This is a new program of PhD research and training set up to address key areas in Geoscience and their role in the Low Carbon Energy Transition and Challenge of Net Zero (https://geo-net-zero.hw.ac.uk/).
Potentially, depleted reservoirs following in-situ combustion Enhanced Oil Recovery (Whitesands Alberta Canada) and conventional recovery (Forties Oilfield, North Sea), could be used for CO2 sequestration from carbon capture and storage projects, e.g. carbon captured from power plants and industrial applications. CO2 transport and storage in reservoirs and aquifers is already well studied, but reservoirs depleted by in-situ combustion may have specific features such as preferential flow paths, deposits of carbon from the combustion and regions of remaining oil in place, as well as possible regions filled with water. Thus, further studies are required to understand and predict long term effects of CO2 storage in reservoirs following completion of in-situ combustion, such as the Toe-to-Heel Air Injection (THAI) process.
In this project the student will primarily use simulation via software CMG GEM, an equation of state compositional and unconventional simulator. Objectives of the modelling will be to 1) account for the effects of gas trapping due to hysteresis, water phase density and viscosity alteration, different dissolution mechanisms and two-phase hydrocarbon systems, 2) incorporate chemical equilibrium and kinetic models, 3) predict the behaviour, track geochemical changes, rate of sequestration and capacity via a comprehensive sequestration model for the bulk reservoir, 4) link with geoscience through the CDT training programme including visits to geological formations in the UK/Europe.
The student will participate in the training programme organised by the CDT, with details available at: https://geo-net-zero.hw.ac.uk/training-academy/
Person Specification
- At least a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree in a STEM subject such as Chemical or Petroleum Engineering or Geology.
- Interest and ability in mathematical modelling and simulation.
- Prior experience of working with reservoir simulators or other numerical techniques is an advantage.

Interested applicants should email their CV to Prof Joe Wood,

Funding Notes

The candidate should be a UK citizen. Studentships are fully funded for 4 years, cover tuition fees and stipend at UK Research & Innovation recommended levels for each year of study (currently £15,285 for stipend). Studentships also provide a generous £20,000 individual allowance to cover costs associated with pursuing the PhD over the 4-year study period e.g. conference travel, data collection, equipment purchase, travel to and from CDT training courses. The studentship period is 4 years in order to accommodate the CDT’s bespoke 20-week residential training programme, attendance on which is a condition of acceptance of a funded CDT studentship.

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