A bit of history

I came to KAUST in January 2015, to organize and direct the Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering ResearchCenter (ANPERC).  Formerly known as the Upstream Petroleum Engineering Research Center, the center started from scratch with no people and no facilities.  We have come a long way from that starting point.  In March 2015, I was joined by Professor Carlos Santamarina, who later became the center’s Associate Director, and later in October 2016, Professor Hussein Hoteit also joined the center.  Together we have been hiring staff, new faculty, senior research staff, postdocs, and graduate students.  An ultra-modern lab space spread across 3500 square meters was inaugurated in December 2016.

I hope that many of you, the best Ph.D. students and researchers around the world, will join the Energy Geosystems Group. If you do, you will share in our ambition, excitement, and the noble vision of KAUST. Together, we will create the new science, engineering, startups, and understanding across cultures and languages.


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.



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



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.


Tadeusz Wiktor Patzek
Professor and Center Director