Rossen, W.R.


Academic Positions

  • Delft University of Technology, Department of Geoscience and Engineering, Professor of Reservoir Engineering, since 2006. Head of Reservoir Engineering Section (formerly Petroleum Engineering Section),  2007-2020.  Emeritus Professor starting Nov. 2020.
  • The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, Professor, 2001 - 2006. Associate Professor 1995-2001; Assistant Professor 1989-1995. Chairman, Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, 2005-2006.
  • Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands, Faculty of Applied Earth Sciences, Visiting Associate Professor, summer 1996.
  • Other professional experience: Chevron Oil Field Research Co., La Habra, CA

    • 1982-85:  Research on design of surfactant formulations for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).  Conducting and supervising laboratory studies of the propagation and oil-recovery efficiency of surfactant formulations in corefloods.
    • 1985-86:  Long-range research group; continuing research in surfactant EOR.  Additional responsibilities included mathematical modeling of flow through porous media and of surfactant process efficiency in the field.
    • 1986-89:  Research on foams for EOR.  Conducted experimental and theoretical studies of mechanisms of foam generation and propagation. Specific studies included percolation modeling of foam mobilization in porous media and fundamental modeling of foam yield stress in porous media.


  • Ph.D.,  Chemical  Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1982
    Dissertation under H. T. Davis and L. E. Scriven on modeling and experimental study of thermodynamics of surfactant-oil-water mixtures with application to Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).  3.88/4.0 GPA.
  • S. B.,  Chemical  Engineering,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1976
    Merit Scholar, 1972-76.  4.78/5.0 GPA.

Honors & Awards

  • Award for "outstanding service" as an SPE Associate Editor, 2014.
  • Named Improved Oil Recovery Pioneer, SPE/DOE Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, OK, 2012.
  • Named Best Instructor, Delft University of Technology, 2011.
  • Distinguished Member Award, Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2006.
  • Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty, Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2002.

Professional society and major governmental committees

  • Member, Organizing Committee, EAGE European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Dresden,2007-present.
  • Recognized as "A Peer Apart" (reviewed 100 or more papers) by Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2007.
  • Review papers for Chemical Engineering Science, SPE Journal, Transport in Porous Media, Contaminant Hydrodynamics, Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, and other journals

Reflections on Teaching

  • Link to film interview when I was a candidate for Best Teacher of TU Delft in 2011. Link to interview after I was given that award.  After the award I was interviewed for TU Delft highlights.
  • Slides from a presentation I made in 2014 on my thoughts on University engineering education.

Reflections on research

In 2020 I gave a lecture in the GeoScience and GeoEnergy Webinar series hosted by colleagues at TU Delft and Heriot-Watt U. One of the main themes is the surprises that come in doing research. The talk is available for viewing here.

In 2013 I wrote an article "Surface Physics Illustrated in the Operation of a Lava Lamp" for our Department student yearbook.

When one is appointed Professor at Delft University of Technology, one gives an introductory lecture (Intreerede) summarizing one's view one's field of research.  I choose to give some reflections on the tension between complexity and simplicity in our modeling of complex phenomena in nature. The text should be read along with the slides; the slides are referred to by number in the text. Click to view text.  Click to view slides.

In 2010 I was invited to write a short essay for the SPE publication for young professionals, The Way Ahead. I chose as a topic, "Should I Consider Graduate School?" Click to view text.

Recent Publications

Recent publications via Pure. This web site lists my publications since 2006, when I came to TU Delft.  In cases where the publications are available in Open Access, it provides the text of the article.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Publications and presentations are listed below are grouped into the following research topics:

  • Foam for enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
    • Foam generation and propagation
      • Foam placement deep in a reservoir
    • Surfactant-Alternating-Gas foam processes
    • Foam modeling and simulation
      • Method-of-characteristics (fractional-flow) modeling of foam
      • Population-balance modeling of foam
    • Effect of oil on foam
    • Gravity segregation and sweep of gas EOR, including foam
    • Microscopic mechanisms of foam in porous media
      • Foam yield stress, trapping and rheology in porous media
      • Experimental measurement of gas trapping in foam in porous media
  • Foams for matrix-acid diversion
  • Foam for environmental remediation
  • Interpreting EOR field tests in the midst of geological uncertainty
  • Flow in fractures and fractured reservoirs, including foam
  • Nonlinear transport processes in networks
  • Interactions between bubbles and solids

William Rossen

Head of Section, Professor of Reservoir Engineering

Recent publications via Pure

Read my Story of Science