Unconventional Resources

The extractive production of hydrocarbons from unconventional sources such as heavy oil reservoirs, tar sands, shale gas or gas hydrate requires the refinement of existing technologies which were developed for more conventional sources or the development of completely new technologies. Our research in this area is focused on in-situ combustion and electromagnetic heating methods for in-situ upgrading of tar sands and oil shales and on CO2 injection for medium-heavy oil recovery. Our approach involves physical-mathematical and numerical modeling spanning from the pore scale to the reservoir scale and laboratory-scale experiments honoring the specific thermo-physical, thermodynamic, petro-physical and geo-mechanical properties of involved in those unconventional systems.

Analytical solutions for complex displacement processes can frequently be obtained with advanced mathematical methods when a separation of waves is possible, e.g., thermal wave (Th), combustion wave (MTO) and saturation wave (S), as in the figure shown here.From the analytical approach essential characteristic of the displacement process can be derived. The validity of the simplified analytical models can be verified with numerical simulations and laboratory experiments.