• KAUST Research Conference 2018


​The final speaker order is available on the conference mobile app, Guidebook.  Download the guide here:


Session 1 - Multi-scale heterogeneous carbonate reservoirs - and throw in some fractures for good measure!

Multiscale heterogeneities of matrix properties fundamentally impact fluid flow, sweep and ultimate recovery in carbonate reservoirs.   Further complexity in heterogeneity scales is introduced by faults and natural fractures that might block, impede or enhance flow likely with a strong directional character.  Ultimate recovery and the success of secondary and tertiary recovery schemes depends on the detection, understanding and numerical description of these multi-scale heterogeneities.  In this session, we will cast the net wide looking at examples of multi-scale heterogeneities in carbonate outcrops and reservoirs, searching for suitable descriptions and methods for detection, while at the same time thinking about how to break the news to our reservoir engineers; that is, translate our findings meaningfully to fluid-flow relevant information and models. 

Session Lead—Volker Vahrenkamp.  Confirmed Speakers:

  • Giovanni Bertotti – TU Delft
  • Franek Hasiuk – Iowa State University
  • Carl Jacquemyn – Imperial College
  • Jeroen Kenter – Total
  • Alexander Petrovich – University of Bremen
  • Pascal Richard – Shell
  • Monica Sanchez Roman – Free University Amsterdam
  • Neil Smith – King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Session 2 - Multi-scale imaging: What is important to know about complex rock/fluid systems? Implications for oil and gas recovery

Technology keeps on giving science the increasingly more powerful looking glasses into everything. The scientists and engineers oblige in turn and measure/image/compute everything at ever-higher resolutions, accounting for the ever-more minute details at ever-higher costs. Begging questions are: What do we truly need to know for a successful increase of field-scale recovery?  What important spatial and time scales, and related phenomena, remain insufficiently resolved? How do we know that we have too little information or bad data? What are the economic impacts of games we play? 

It seems, at each level of complexity, entirely new properties appear, and the understanding of the new behaviors requires research as fundamental in its nature as any other.

Session Lead—Tad Patzek.  Confirmed Speakers:

  •  Johannes Klaver – RWTH Aachen University
  • Michael Marder – University of Texas at Austin
  • Masa Prodanovic – University of Texas at Austin
  • Clay Radke – University of California, Berkeley
  • Carlos Torres-Verdin – University of Texas at Austin
  • David Weitz – Harvard University
  • Ali Yousef – Saudi Aramco
  • Chi Zhang – University of Kansas

Session 3 - Multi-phase fluid flow in heterogeneous/fractured reservoirs

Heterogeneities play a central role in fluid flow through porous media. The situation is aggravated under multi-phase flow conditions prevail, and in fractured reservoirs where the fracture network determines the geo-plumbing of the formation.

Speakers in this Session explore multi-phase fluid flow in heterogeneous media, with emphasis on the pore scale, using experimental and numerical techniques; they identify emergent phenomena, and explore implications to the macro scale.

Session Lead—Carlos Santamarina. Confirmed Speakers:

  • Steffen Berg - Shell
  • Francesca Casini – University of Rome Tor Vergata
  • Jacques Huyghe – Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Stefan Iglauer – Curtain University
  • Chris MacMinn –Oxford University
  • Holger Ott – Montan University Leoben
  • Jean-Michel Pereira – École des Ponts ParisTech
  • Tae Sup Yun – Yonsei University

Session 4 - Hydro-mechanical coupling in fractured & tight reservoirs (GM)

In most carbonate fields with declining oil rates IOR or EOR are required to better manage decline and water production. As such, the rocks have experienced variations in pore fluid compositions (e.g., oil replaced by brine or CO2), pore pressure and related in-situ effective stress changes. These cause natural fractures to open and close or matrix permeability to reduce due to compaction, which affects fluid flow behavior and its recovery. In addition, many Middle Eastern gas reservoirs are tight or ultra-tight and require stimulation in order to maximize flow rates and ultimate recovery. Successful stimulations to enable production and related decline are strongly influenced by rock mechanical characteristics and behavior of the matrix as well as the interaction between natural and induced fractures.

A better understanding of the multi-physical interactions in a reservoir and predicting the responses resulting from injection, stimulation, and depletion effects will markedly improve modeling inputs and simulation outputs. In other words, resulting forecasts are more accurate, which would greatly benefit field development strategies.

Session Lead—Thomas Finkbeiner. Confirmed Speakers:

  • Michael Behm – University of Oklahoma
  • Leonardo Cruz – Baker Hughes
  • Nicolas Espinoza – University of Texas at Austin
  • Sotirios Kokkalas – Khalifa University (Petroleum Institute) Abu Dhabi
  • Manika Prasad – Colorado School of Mines
  • Gonzalo Zambrano – University of Alberta


Session 5 - Beyond conventional methods in modeling hydrocarbon recovery processes (RE)

Reservoir simulation is an indispensable tool within modern stage-gate reservoir management workflows that is relied on to evaluate alternative recovery scenarios and optimize the selected development plan.  Accurate and efficient modeling of complex flow mechanisms in gas-, water-, or thermal-based EOR methods and accounting for subsurface uncertainties and scale effects are persisting challenges. For instance, understanding the fundamental processes of multiphase flow in naturally fractured reservoirs and the impact of viscous, diffusion, capillary, and gravity mechanism is essential for accurate modeling. The standard dual-porosity-type models are not computationally demanding but they typically use oversimplified assumptions and therefore may not fit for purpose. Discrete-fractured type models, on the other hand, are re-gaining interest driven by applications in carbonate fractured reservoirs and unconventional gas and oil reservoirs. These models however are computationally inefficient.  In this session, recent developments in reservoir modeling and simulations of complex processes and related challenges and opportunities will be discussed.

Session Lead—Hussein Hoteit. Confirmed Speakers:

  • Milind Deo – University of Utah
  • Abbas Firoozabadi – Yale University
  • Kassem Ghorayeb – American University of Beirut
  • Ruben Juanes – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Hector Klie – DeepCast LLC
  • Mohammed Al Kobaisi – Khalifa University (Petroleum Institute) Abu Dhabi
  • Naif Al Qahtani – King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

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