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December 24, 2018

HBKU Aims to Optimize Qatar’s Oil and Gas Industry

Researchers at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation, are currently developing a reservoir simulator that aims to optimize the oil exploration and extraction process, and tailor it to the specific geological and physical characteristics of oil and gas fields in Qatar.
Dr. Ahmad Sami Abushaikha, assistant professor at HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering’s (CSE) Sustainability Division, is spearheading the initiative through a research grant awarded by Qatar National Research Fund’s (QNRF) – a member of QF – National Priorities Research Program (NPRP).

Dr. Abushaikha and team members from Delft University and Stanford University are conducting research to develop a state-of-the-art reservoir simulator model that accurately mimics fluid flow at the subsurface level.

“The majority of hydrocarbons are stored deep beneath the earth’s surface, and we don’t really have accurate knowledge of what is exactly going on down there. One way for us to predict how to extract oil, or to develop an optimum production strategy, is to develop a model with the accurate physics and material properties that would mimic the accurate flow of hydrocarbons at the highly heterogonous subsurface” explains Dr. Abushaikha. “Our goal is to develop a Qatari reservoir simulator to model these physical phenomena and work with the oil and gas industry in Qatar.”

Dr. Abushaikha and his team set about working on a reservoir simulator, using software, physics, and advanced numerical schemes to predict the flow more accurately than the industry is currently able to.

“The software will have advanced discretization schemes coupled with geo-chemical and geo-mechanical modelling specifically designed for the carbonate nature of Qatar’s hydrocarbon reservoirs,” says Dr. Abushaikha. “Existing simulators lack these capabilities that enable us to predict what would happen during an enhanced recovery process; for example, and how an injected fluid reacts and effects the carbonate rock formations and properties. This simulator will be able to model these activities and many more through various reservoir characterization scenarios such as fractured reservoirs and highly complex domains.

“One of the most important advantages of our simulator is the capability to run in super-computers at Education City, so it will be able to do billions of calculation at high speeds to model precisely how oil can be extracted in these situations and determine the financial viability of exploration projects.”

The CSE assistant professor has completed the initial phase of testing, and development will move towards application in the coming months.

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