“Digital Rock Physics” Project by Masdar Institute, ADNOC, Petroleum Institute and Total Win 2016 “Partnership of the Year” Award

September 21, 2018

The Digital Rock Physics (DRP) project, a research and development (R&D) collaboration with partners including Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), French energy firm Total, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and the Petroleum Institute, has won the Oil and Gas Year’s 2016 ‘Partnership of the Year’ award.  

Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice-President for Research and Interim Associate Provost, Masdar Institute, was presented the award at the ceremony, which also marked the launch of the ‘Oil and Gas Year, Abu Dhabi 2016,’ published in partnership with ADNOC and the Ministry of Energy, UAE.

This is the first time the organizers have announced the ‘Partnership of the Year’ category. The finalists were selected at a roundtable event in Abu Dhabi during which 330 executives voted on the award’s various criteria. Every year, The Oil & Gas Year recognizes the most outstanding achievements of individuals and organizations in the world’s most important oil and gas regions.  

The DRP project is the first R&D collaboration between ADNOC and Total. The project’s objective is to understand how hydrocarbons move through the tiny pores of Abu Dhabi’s heterogeneous carbonate reservoirs. This is achieved by pooling the technical resources of Total, ADNOC, Masdar Institute and the Petroleum Institute to map Abu Dhabi’s carbonate geological reserves in order to produce an extensive archive of rock images at multiple scales and leverage this information to develop simulations for fluid flow in oil and gas reservoirs. The project is expected to enhance knowledge of the pore network and pore morphology of Abu Dhabi’s reservoirs from the nanoscale to macro-scale, with a view toward maximizing oil recovery.  

Approximately 70% of the Middle East’s oil and 40% of its natural gas is found in carbonate reservoirs such as those being studied in this project. Mature fields in complex carbonate reservoirs generally have less than a 33% recovery rate of available oil, so a more detailed understanding of these field’s geo-mechanical and related properties is essential to achieving ADNOC’s target of 70% oil recovery.  

Dr. Griffiths said: “We are honored to receive the award with our partners in the DRP project, which demonstrates the emphasis that Masdar Institute places on collaborative research partnerships that have direct benefit to Abu Dhabi and the broader UAE. We believe that this project greatly supports Abu Dhabi’s ambitious goals for increased oil recovery, which in turn will help drive further economic development and transformation.”

The collaborative research project is aimed at archiving the varying carbonate reserves found in areas deep under the earth’s surface where oil and gas is difficult to recover. The aim is to learn more about these formations so that ADNOC and others can make better predictions on the ease or difficulty of extracting oil and gas, which will ultimately cut costs and maximize recovery rates.  

Masdar Institute’s state-of-the-art microscopy facility is a critical part of this project. Its cutting-edge laboratory helps to scan the rock samples at the nanoscale to generate 3D images of the pore network and pore morphology of typical Abu Dhabi reservoir rock cores. These images are then used in computer simulation of elastic and petro-physical rock properties.  

Hatem Nuseibeh, President of Total UAE, said: “We are honored to receive this award along with our partners. This project illustrates Total’s long term commitment to maximize oil recovery in Abu Dhabi through collaboration with Masdar Institute, ADNOC and the Petroleum Institute.”  

Dr. Marc Durandeau, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Petroleum Institute, said: “The Oil and Gas Year’s 2016 ‘Partnership of the Year’ award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of our academic and industrial collaboration. Our objective is to use collective expertise and technology to come up with the best solutions that will help to meet the increasing power demand in the country. Projects like these showcase how combined efforts can help solve some of the most demanding needs and help the country reach the next phase of growth and development.”  

Dr. Durandeau added: “The project lead on behalf of the Petroleum Institute, Dr. Ali Al-Sumaiti, himself a product of the ADNOC Scholarship Program, demonstrates ADNOC’s higher education focused strategy continues to produce tangible impact on the business. This award gives us an impetus to fulfill UAE’s vision of an innovative and knowledge-driven future.”  

Masdar Institute’s Dr. Mohamed Sassi, Interim Dean of Faculty, is the principal investigator on the project from the Institute’s side, while Dr. Rashid Abu Al-Rub, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, is also closely involved. Others working on DRP include Dr. Mustapha Jouiad, Microscopy Facility Manager and Principal Research Scientist, Dr. Sylvie Chevalier, Research Associate, Dr. Rajakumar S. Devarapalli, Research Engineer, Dr. Bojing Zhu, Research Scientist, and PhD students Titly Faisal and Amina Islam.

Clarence Michael
News Writer
30 March 2016