Experimental and Mathematical Modeling of Flow Instability in Heavy Oil Recovery Processes - Year two

This research project with the industry partner Saskatchewan Research Council focuses on the displacement front instability in heavy oil recovery processes such as water flooding, solvent injection and polymer flooding. In those processes, the less viscous displacing fluid usually moves faster than the more viscous displaced heavy oil. This results in an instability that manifests itself in the form of finger-shaped intrusions, and which is viscous fingering (VF). The VF phenomenon tends to greatly reduce sweep efficiency, leaving a large amount of untouched heavy oil underground.

Numerical Simulation of Two Phase Gas-Liquid flow in hydrocarbon liquid transportation pipelines

Current Computational Pipeline Modeling based leak detection systems can not accurately predict the leaks in the pipeline when crude oil goes though phase change (column separation) along the 100s of kms long pipeline (due to hills and valleys). The objective of this project is to gain fundamental insight into the two phase gas-liquid flow physics in hydrocarbon liquid transportation pipelines that transport crude oil with various physical properties of crude and with various elevations.

Proxy models for Thermal Production Optimization

Amid the tough challenge of dwindling oil prices, GE is seeking for new technology to create production forecasting and optimization tools that simulate the real operating environments and optimize across the entire process, providing actionable insights that help producers achieve their cost, production, and environmental goals. The objective of this project is to develop data driven models for optimizing bitumen production in SAGD reservoirs.

Development of a hybrid seismic data inversion method for determining well-drilling location at complex geophysical area

Due to the current economic downturn, especially the lower crude oil price, the drilling success rate become the most important goal for any oil/gas company. For a start-up company, any failure in drilling will be a disaster. To this end, the Deep Treasure Corp wishes that through the combination of mature hydrocarbon prediction techniques and new research results in seismic inversion,  the success rate of hydrocarbon prediction, the theoretical basis for well placement can be provided  in Roncott field, which will improve the success rate in drilling.

Studies on the application of photocatalysis to capture methane and treat contaminated water with organic compounds

Recent developments in process industry as well as tight environmental discharge regulations required industries to recycle water which means removing contaminants and send it back to the process. Conventional treatment systems consume energy with large carbon footprint. Canadian economic movement towards decarbonization has lead us to focus our research on the development of a material and a passive system that captures energy from sunlight and converts to chemical energy, the result of which is mineralization of organic contaminants to non-toxic chemicals.


With the current challenges with depleted reservoirs and problems associated with heavy oil production, the implementation of the most cost-effective and feasible enhanced oil recovery method is inevitable. There are a wide range of EOR methods available and developed, which are in most cases expensive and complicated to carry out. Therefore, an extensive preliminary screening procedure is necessary before conducting a field-scale EOR method.

Development of Advanced In-Situ Recovery Technologies for Oil San

In-situ recovery methods for oils sands are applied to reservoirs containing bitumen that are too deep for mining. To date there has been only one commercially viable in-situ recovery method, Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), involving high pressure steam injection and bitumen production using horizontal well pairs located near the base of oil sands formations. While SAGD has enabled conversion of significant resources to reserves (about 170 billion barrels), SAGD has many economic and environmental limitations.

Controlling microbial processes in fracing fluids

Unconventional gas reservoirs are a great energy resource in the province of BC and Alberta and thus for Canada in general. Extracting this resource is not as straight forward as conventional gas reservoirs and requires hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracing or fracking, which has recently become a controversial topic in the public eye. This research project will examine water and fluids used in and returning from frac operations with respect to its geochemistry and bacterial populations.

Optimization of the stem/gate connection of industrial valves– experimentation and modeling

Velan Inc. in Montreal, Quebec is one of the world leaders in design and manufacturing of industrial steel valves for applications in chemical, oil and gas, military, mining, and nuclear industries. Velan wishes to optimize its valve design in terms of maximum strength and minimum weight according to latest standard requirements. To achieve that, its existing analytical and finite element method (FEM) models should be improved by taking into account large deformation and contact analysis to accurately predict the failure point of stem and gate.

Long-term response of boreal forest bird community to changes in habitat structure and configuration due to forestry and other land uses

Long-term effects of forest harvest and other land uses on boreal forest birds are unknown, because most studies of forestry practices on boreal birds occur over short periods, while effects of habitat fragmentation may be realized over longer periods and affected by climate change. I will analyze >20 years of forestry treatment and bird abundance data from Alberta forest sites that were revisited yearly to survey birds, and use results from these analyses to predict bird abundance within future land use scenarios created by timber supply and land use simulation software.