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Oil recovery from fractured reservoirs: spontaneous imbibition in carbonates under different wettability

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Y Tanino
    Dr A Welch
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

The most common method of secondary oil recovery is waterflooding, whereby water is injected into a reservoir to displace the oil in the reservoir towards production wells. Under ideal conditions, the injected water (flood water) uniformly ‘sweeps’ the oil towards the wells. However, carbonate reservoirs, which contain around half of the world’s oil reserves, are known to be extensively fractured. In such reservoirs, the flood water preferentially flows through the network of fractures, leaving behind a large fraction of the original oil in the low permeability regions between them (the rock ‘matrix’). Then, more gradually, flood water in the fractures enters the rock matrix by buoyancy, diffusion, and capillary-driven imbibition, displacing the oil that was left behind. The proposed project is focused on the third mechanism.

Despite a large body of literature on imbibition, many fundamental questions remain open. The proposed project will address one or more of these using a combination of cutting-edge imaging techniques, customized laboratory apparatus, and theoretical analysis. Possible topics include:
• recovery under evolving matrix wettability
• sensitivity to oil chemistry
• sensitivity to depth within the transition zone
• impact of the capillary-hydraulic properties of the fracture
The ultimate goal is to develop a model that predicts the dependence of oil recovery on these factors.

The successful candidate will join the Environmental & Industrial Fluid Mechanics Group, a vibrant group of academics, postdoctoral researchers, and PhD students within the School of Engineering. Members of the Group use different combinations of laboratory experiments, field measurements, numerical simulations, and theoretical analysis to study physical processes associated with a wide range of applications, including geological CO2 storage, wind energy, and coastal erosion. The student will also work closely with colleagues in the Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre to access imaging facilities and the School of Geosciences.

The successful applicant will have a first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) in relevant engineering, applied mathematics, or physics discipline. Knowledge of Expertise in fluid mechanics, laboratory experience, and knowledge of MATLAB will be an advantage.

Additional Research costs are required for this project to the sum of £5,000 per annum.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.


Application Procedure

Formal applications can be completed online: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply. You should apply for PhD in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr Y Tanino, ([email protected]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).

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