Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineering is the practical application of physics, mathematics, chemistry and geology, combined with economic principles, to the recovery of petroleum.

On the job, petroleum engineering with a pink and blue sky.

Our petroleum engineering research is strongly guided by real-world industry needs. We focus on water-flooding, reservoir simulation, and enhanced oil and gas recovery for conventional and unconventional resources. Our work is particularly relevant to:

  • oil and gas service companies
  • chemical suppliers
  • environmental industries
  • geothermal energy
  • industrial waste disposal
  • aquifer contamination
  • vadose zone engineering
  • Research impact

    We are working to optimise and develop many aspects of the petroleum industry through our petroleum engineering research. This includes:

    • recovery from mature water-flooded reservoirs
    • low-salinity water injection 
    • stochastic processes simulation and data analysis
    • tight sands wettability alteration
    • flow-back recovery
    • fracture roughness impacts on fracture propagation
    • coal-seam gas productivity and onset production prediction methods for well stimulation in CSG fields
    • energy recovery from geothermal fields
    • oil and gas field behaviour prediction and exploration planning
    • aquifer contamination laboratory-based modelling
    • drilling fluids particle sizing.

    Our findings are frequently adopted and adapted across industry to produce competitive advantage through enhanced processes and cost-efficiency. For example, our:

    • gas-inflow profile determination method is used by Beach Energy and Santos in shale-gas and coal-seam-gas fields
    • low-salinity water flooding analytical models are used by Wintershall (Germany) to plan and design enhanced oil recovery projects
    • lab-based fines migration prediction method is used by Chevron for well management in the Gulf of Mexico
    • three-point-pressure formation-damage assessment method is used by Petrobas.

    Also of note, we have: 

    • carried out several integrated reservoir simulation studies for oil companies
    • developed biosurfactant for microbial enhanced oil recovery
    • helped develop highly advanced simulation software.
  • Consulting services

    We consult to industry and government, providing guidance, insight and leadership in many forms, including:

    • integrated reservoir study
    • hydraulic fracturing design and simulation
    • short courses in fractured reservoir simulation, hydraulic fracturing, well testing, and reservoir engineering
    • well log and well test interpretation
    • laboratory testing of reservoir rocks to estimate gas and oil well productivity
    • oil recovery design in specific oil and gas fields
    • unconventional energy sources planning and design, including field studies and reservoir simulation
    • practical training in reservoir, drilling and production engineering
    • simulation of conventional and unconventional oil and gas.
  • Our researchers

    We have expertise across a wide range of areas. Many of our researchers are available to assist with research project supervision for Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy students.

    Research team Expertise
    Professor Pavel Bedrikovetski Enhanced oil and gas recovery; Transport and thermodynamics in porous media; Two-phase multi-component flows of nanofluids, suspensions and colloids
    Associate Professor Manouchehr Haghighi Recovery from unconventional reservoirs; Reservoir simulation; Enhanced oil recovery
    Dr Abbas Zeinijahromi Formation damage; Fines migration; Low salinity waterflooding
    Dr Alireza Salmachi Unconventional resources; Production data and rate transient analysis; Drilling and well completion
    Mary Gonzalez Production technology; Reservoir engineering; Hydraulic fracturing
    Dr Mohammad Sayyafzadeh Field development and reservoir flooding optimisation; History matching and uncertainty quantification; Coalbed methane production modelling and simulation
    Dr Alexander Badalyan Suspension flow in porous media; Characterisation of porous solids; Thermophysical fluid properties
    Dr Themis Carageorgos Oilfield scaling; Suspension-colloidal-nano transport in porous media; Laboratory studies on oil recovery visualisation
    Dr Zhenjiang You Modelling of transport phenomena in porous media; Enhanced oil and gas recovery; Formation damage
  • Collaborations

    We collaborate with various industry and government organisations, including: