The A-Team

Salem Aldousary, PhD

My research aims to investigate the mechanisms of VRR < 1 in light oil water floods and understand the underlying physics using carbonate-like micromodels. VRR < 1 process is a combination of both solution gas drive and waterflooding processes. Studies in the literature have to a large extent covered aspects pertaining to VRR < 1 in heavy oil, but it is still short in similar work for light oil. Direct visualization of using micromodels will allow us to determine the benefits of the VRR < 1, time at which the process should start and how to introduce further improvements to ultimately achieve higher oil recoveries.


Hamza Aljamaan, PhD

My research focuses on understanding the complex interplay of transport and storativity in the nano-porous shale formations. The potential of carbon storage and enhanced gas recovery using pure and multi-component preferential adsorption studies is also examined. Proper understanding of the petrophsycical properties, future production trends, and behavior of shale reservoirs will be essential for accurate reserve estimations and recovery factor predictions.


Muhammad Majid Almajid

My research focuses on studying the stability of foam against hydrocarbons in porous media. Foam can overcome some of the issues encountered by gas injection such as gravity segregation and viscous fingering of the gas by increasing the apparent gas viscosity and/or diverting some of the gas to the unswept areas in the reservoir. Without the stability of foam against fluids in the reservoir, specifically oil, the benefits of foam injection is never realized. Through conducting experiments of foam flow in micromodels that contain waterflood residual oil saturation, I try to identify and understand the various mechanisms causing foam instability due to the presence of oil.


Usua Amanam, MSc

My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms in which metallic nanoparticles effect the three regimes of the in-situ combustion process: low-temperature oxidation, fuel deposition, and high-temperature oxidation. The properties of certain nanoparticles make them effective enhancing agents beyond their ability to catalyze the high-temperature oxidation reaction. As such, we look to provide solutions that improve the overall effectiveness of the process for heavy oils. Within the scope of the project, we also investigate novel particle delivery methods to the porous media through the use of micromodels and established modeling techniques.


Tim Anderson, MSc

My research is focused on applying additive manufacturing to problems in petroleum recovery and microfluidic fluid flow. Specifically, I am interested in adapting existing 3D printing technologies such as stereolithography, electrophoretic deposition, and selective laser sintering and developing novel 3D printing technologies to constructing repeatable porous media samples.


Youssef Elkady, MSc

My research aims to understand the fracture behavior of oil shale as a function of the thermal history. Samples are subjected to a reservoir setting through the application of anoxic conditions and confinement while heating. Also, continuous mass and temperature measurements are of interest for basic understanding of the kinetics at hand. This plays an important role in the understanding of oil shale and a first step in trying to commercialize the resource..


Kelly Guan, phd

My research focus is on understanding how the micro- and nanoscale features in shale systems affect properties such as porosity and fluid transport. I am using a range of X-ray and electron microscopy characterization techniques in order to provide a more accurate representation of the mineralogy and pore networks in these materials. These findings can be used to improve estimations of hydrocarbon production and storage capacity in shale reservoirs.


Haoli Guo, phd

My research aims to study the effect of injection water salinity on the wettability of carbonate surfaces. There are studies showing that oil recovery of the carbonates can be increased by altering the salinity and ionic content of the injected water. My current work is trying to understand the mechanisms for the increased oil recovery and the wettability alteration of the carbonates. My research involves electrokinetic study of the carbonate surfaces.


Kuy Koh Yoo, phd

My research seeks to understand some of the mechanisms that govern in situ combustion in fractured reservoirs through simple experiments and through numerical simulations. Some of the mechanisms of interest include diffusion of oxygen from the fractures to the matrix and the propagation of the combustion front in the presence of fractures. The analysis is based on studying the interaction between the matrix and a single fracture, which can then be extrapolated qualitatively to effects when multiples fractures are present. The final objective is to identify a range of critical parameters for combustion to be successful in fractured reservoirs which will assist in the design of full field applications.


Folake Ogunbanwo, phd

My work focuses on implementing a reaction-model free kinetics (RMFK) approach in the simulation of in-situ combustion (ISC) of heavy oil. The RMFK approach directly uses kinetic cell experimental results to model the changes in compositions as the oil reacts in the presence of oxygen. This new method eliminates the painstaking evaluation of possible reaction schemes necessary to describe the chemical reactions occurring during ISC.


Grecia Ramirez-Ovalle, Phd

My goal is to improve oil recovery (increasing reserves) from offshore carbonate fields. Previous researches have accomplished it but with the current price of oil some of them would be not affordable; therefore, my work is focused to use raw materials like sea water to tailor less expensive solutions. Currently, I am involved in tridimensional tracking of wettability alteration using MicroCT scanning.


Wen Song, phd

My research interests involve developing and using microfluidic platforms to visualize pore-scale flow phenomena relevant to reservoir engineering. Secondary and tertiary recovery can cause clay particles to detach from the rock matrix and block subsequent pore space, significantly reducing reservoir permeability. Currently, I am conducting experiments to visualize the impact of brine composition and salt concentration on the release of clay particles from the rock matrix.


Beibei Wang, PhD

My research aims to investigate liquid transport mechanism through shale. I am conducting coreflooding experiments to visualize liquid flow in shale with X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) imaging at core level. CT scan is taken continuously after injecting the fluid of interest into the shale core. From the change of CT signal of the shale core over time, fluid transient behavior in shale is visualized and studied. A liquid pulse decay method is applied to study the upstream and downstream pressure response of shale samples. Final objective is to understand flow mechanism of shale reservoirs and potentially serve for many applications such as production and EOR processes.


Wonjin Yun, phd

Polymer flood is the one of the EOR (enhanced oil recovery) method to control the mobility ratio between displaced and displacing fluids. Improved mobility ratio by the polymer flood overcomes gravity overriding, viscous fingering, and channeling; hence, enhancing oil recovery. Significant mechanisms attributed to EOR in polymer flooding has not been fully understood because an in-situ rheology of polymer become more complex in geochemically heterogeneous porous media where polymer-related non-linear effects including viscoelasticity, degradation, and mechanical entrapment exist.

Therefore, my primary research project entails a contribution to the sparse body of knowledge on micro-pore scale fluid flow in geochemically heterogeneous porous media. To achieve the goal, my research is part of cutting-edge efforts to develop an advanced platform and methodology enabling the real-time monitoring of fluid dynamics. In addition, a finite-volume toolbox OpenFOAM, open source CFD solver, has been used to simulate non-linear effects in the flow of viscoelastic fluids (shear-thinning behavior) through porous media.


Markus Zechner, phd

My research aims at understanding the pore scale phenomena involved in wettability change in oil wet fractured reservoirs. The main mechanisms investigated are counter current imbibition and diffusion for chemical floods and low salinity applications. I am using two dimensional micro models to investigate the micro scale physics. The objective is to understand the underlaying mechanisms and find ways how to accelerate and upscale them.




The Faculty

The guru

Dr. Anthony R. Kovscek

Principal Investigator




The Staff

Hey, they work, too!


anshul agarwal, RA

I am currently studying steam injection for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in diatomites. More specifically, my focus is to find if a combination of a high quality steam flood, followed by a reduced steam quality would achieve larger cumulative oil recovery without having to shut-in the wells. Additionally, I am interested in CO2 sequestration numerical simulation and analysis of leakage mitigation.


elliot kim, RA

I am studying enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and improved oil recovery (IOR) for heavy oil fields. Also, I have an interest on geological CO2 sequestration under aquifers and hydrocarbon fields to prevent and reduce CO2 emissions. In particular, I have studied the interfacial phenomena between brine and rock under oil and supercritical CO2 phase.


Sophie Roman, ra

My research aims at understand the underlying physics in multi-phase flow in porous media. I am currently focused on the experimental study of immiscible two-phase flow in two-dimensional etched-silicon micromodels. The inherent instabilities existing in two-phase flows play a key role, especially in the processes of EOR or CO2 geological sequestration. In particular, a quantitative study of the morphology of the instabilities and of the velocity fields of the fluids in the vicinity of the interfaces is needed. For that purpose, image processing methods and PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry) measurements are used.


Cindy Ross, RA

I characterize reservoir composition and properties to determine differences between samples and measure changes resulting from EOR methods. My current focus is on diatomite and gas shale reservoirs. I also provide analytical, image analysis, and geological support for SUPRI-A as well as construct base images for micromodels.


Luiz E. Bittencourt Sampaio, ra

My main research interests involve porous media flows, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, modeling and simulations. In particular, I am currently developing a streamline-based computer code aiming at improving InSitu combustion prediction accuracy and efficiency. In this code we couple the strengths of streamline method to a non-Arrhenius reaction upscaling technique that has shown improved robustness and far less sensitivity to grid size.


Bolivia Vega, RA

My research interests relate to experimental investigation of oil recovery in low-permeability resources, such as diatomite. My research explores the impact of different variables related to the recovery method (such as temperature, injection mode, miscibility conditions, injected fluid) and/or rock properties and how these are altered (wettability, porosity and permeability) and how they affect the effectiveness of the total oil recovered. I use X-ray imaging as a supporting technology to complement and enhance the data and the simulation modelling of these processes.

I am also interested in shale rock characterization though X-ray imaging and through analog materials experimentation, as a fundamental step towards its profiling as a viable resource for CO2 sequestration, and as oil and gas source. In particular, I conduct meso and nano scale imaging on shale samples to help better understand its microstructure and how fluid flows through it.


Joleen Palacios Castro

Event Coordinator


Yolanda D. Banks

The master and commander of our administrative area




The Postdocs

Life after PhD

No postdocs right now




The Visitors

They bring variety to the group

laura marie josette froute

My work focuses on implementing innovative imaging techniques to probe in-situ pore-scale structures and phenomena in source rocks. I am mobilizing a wide spectrum of conventional techniques (X-RayCT, pycnometry, MICP, N2 sorption, SEM, XRD, XRF) to investigate shale samples and identify current limitations. Simultaneously, I am developing laboratory- scale microfluidic setups and methodologies for porosity mapping and in-situ fluid transport monitoring by μX-Ray Fluorescence and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.