A 21st Century Approach to Energy
Research: Flow Engineering
We are committed to becoming a globally recognized academic research and education organization in upstream petroleum engineering. To
that end, we will produce unprecedented scientific knowledge of fluid flow
in complex geologic formations, while also educating future science and industry leaders.
energy is fundamental to the world’s societies. Improving quality of life
requires the reliable supply and wise use of energy. Hydrocarbons will remain
the main global source of energy for decades to come; however, new scientific
understanding and disruptive engineering solutions are required for more
effective reservoir access and increased recovery, with reduced environmental
impacts. Safe geologic storage of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide is also an
enormous challenge, one that must be met with novel science and engineering.
distances of hundreds of meters to several kilometers, subsurface fluids move
along preferential flow paths, or “geo-plumbing.” These flow paths are in turn
fed with fluids slowly flowing out of the multiscale (microns to meters in
size) regions of lower permeability rock.
Fractures, joints and faults can short-circuit fluid flow across scales
from microns to kilometers, throwing a monkey wrench into all existing flow
theories and numerical models. As
reservoir energy and easily accessible rock regions are depleted, only
weakly-connected, low-permeability and heterogeneous rock remains. This is the main challenge of the oil &
gas industry in the 21st century.
hydrocarbon production at high rates requires fundamental and applied research
that addresses flow—the flow of liquids, gases and dissolved chemical compounds
through multiscale, fractured reservoirs with mixed rock wettability. The subtleties of such flow can only be
captured by experiment and theories that illuminate the coupled thermo-,
hydro-, chemo-, and mechanical (THCM) effects in fluid flow and fluid/rock
interactions. Given this context, ANPERC’s
raison d’etre—flow—translates into a unique multidisciplinary, collaborative
learning and research effort, enabled by the unique set of research skills and
infrastructure of KAUST.