Research

Vision

Cheap, plentiful, and reliable energy drives all modern societies. From my power-law scaling argument it follows that hydrocarbons are to all 192 U.N. member countries what blood is to mammals.  In other words, hydrocarbons are responsible for the economic metabolism of all societies and literally keep every part of each society alive.  Take the hydrocarbons away, and our civilization withers.  The Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering ResearchCenter (ANPERC) in general and the Energy Geosystems Group (EGG) in particular will work tirelessly to secure and maintain the world’s future in which hydrocarbons continue to play a key role.

Mission

We are committed to being the world’s premier upstream petroleum engineering research organization. To that end, we must achieve unprecedented scientific understanding of fluid flow in complex geologic formations, while also creating superior technology

Goals

Continuing 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 and EGG’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.

Current Activities

EGG conducts several projects in the following areas:

  • Ultimate production of oil and gas from hydrofractured horizontal wells in major shale formations; currently, the Eagle Ford and Bakken;
  • Improved/enhanced recovery of oil from microporous impermeable carbonate pore systems nested in the permeable, fractured reservoir volumes; and
  • Well sensors, control, data acquisition and near wellbore physics and chemistry.

These mission-driven activities are designed to address critical problems facing energy producers globally, as well as within the Kingdom.  Using a grass roots approach, ANPERC and EGG are developing and will continue to develop multiple ties leading to strategic research relationships with oil and gas companies, particularly Saudi Aramco, as well as other universities.

Sincerely,

Tadeusz Wiktor Patzek
Professor and Center Director

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Current Research

​We ​​present an analytical solution for ​enhanced gas flow at the outlet of a micropore/network caused by additional influx from many connected nanopores.
We apply the percolation theory and discrete fracture network model to analyze the connectivity properties of the fractures in the reservoir.
We introduce a simple model of producing oil and solution gas from the horizontal hydrofractured wells that is consistent with the basic physics and geometry of the extraction process. We then apply our model to thousands of wells in the Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Permian shales. 
​We characterize the pore space in micritic carbonates with the epoxy pore casts​ to improve pore network understanding on carbonate reservoirs.
​We establish that equilibrium reaction with calcite rock alters brine composition in the reservoir and demonstrate the importance of aqueous speciation. These findings extended to field conditions negate many of the proposed mechanisms of LSW.​​
We identify the microporosity types in the Jurassic and Cretaceous reservoirs of Saudi Arabia with due consideration to the origin and evolution of the host micrite and evaluate their impact on multi-phase fluid flow.
We determine the integrity of cement filling annulus behind fiberglass casing while the weakly magnetized cements are detected using induction logging​.