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The Program conducts research aimed at addressing issues which are of concern to industry. While pursuing fundamental research is also of importance to the scientific community at large, the Program generally focuses on problems which have application to or may lead to improvements in our understanding of processes within fractured and low permeability rocks. One of the concerns that has arisen over recent years is that of reservoir decline. Consequently, much of the research at Stanford is currently focused on the problem of liquid injection into fractured and low permeability reservoirs.

A number of projects are currently being undertaken in order to further our understanding of the dominant physical processes involved as condensate and waste water are injected into fractured reservoirs. These include:

  • Relative permeability measurements for flow in fractured media:
    The reliable measurement of relative permeability functions in fractured rocks is of utmost importance in the simulation of fractured reservoirs in order to match or forecast production performance. We are using a high resolution CT scanner to determine the saturation distribution during the course of the experiments.

  • Liquid injection into a fractured medium:
    We are applying our modeling and laboratory skills to develop an understanding of the heat transfer and vaporization processes within fractured systems. We are extending our analysis to investigate gravity fed fractures, multiple fractures and fractures bounded by permeable rock.

  • Boiling and condensation in porous and fractured media

We are investigating the physical processes of condensation and vaporization within porous media using a combination of numerical and laboratory techniques.