Liquid bio-oil, which is the product of biomass pyrolysis, is a complicated mixture of oxygenate compounds (appr. 300). It has an energy density up to 10 times higher than the raw biomass, but its acidity, along with the low heating value, make it not stable with time, whereas aqueous/organic fractions separation can take place. These properties are rather discouraging the use of bio-oil as transportation fuel and make its catalytic upgrading a necessity of tremendous importance. Herein, the catalytic hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) and zeolite cracking reactions are proposed as efficient ways towards upgrading the properties of bio-oil. These two processes are chosen as they allow us flexibility in the process design, i.e., the co-feeding of hydrogen and the reaction pressure. In particular, HDO reaction requires hydrogen and thus operates at high pressures, whereas zeolites cracking does not. In addition, engineering of catalysts shape and electronic properties will be explored through a meticulous choice of synthesis approaches and ab-initio calculations towards a sustainable final product. The overarching goal is to tackle the coke deposition during the HDO. The project has a duration of three years with a budget of 1,074,605 AED. The team is composed of a PI and three co-PIs with complementary expertise in the field, leading to synergies that will move the outcome of the project far beyond their individual research projects.
The purpose of this study is to characterize the optimal polymer size (post-manufacturing molecular weight) and amount of mechanical pre-shearing in order to obtain an optimal polymer for injection into low- to moderate- permeability Abu Dhabi reservoirs. At the same time, the effect of pre-shearing on injectivity characteristics in low-k zones is to be studied.
The focus of this study is on the determination of residual oil saturation in the laboratory for carbonate reservoirs using both centrifuge and flooding experiments. The experiments are performed on both outcrop and reservoir core samples using reservoir and laboratory oil. The core samples used in the study span a wide range of permeability and porosity representing different carbonate reservoirs in Abu Dhabi.
The purpose of the project is to research on the synthesis and development of zeolite catalysts with improved properties for residue Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) applications. Current zeolite catalysts suffer from low stability and diffusion limitations and mass transfer issues of bulky molecules into the active sites. Catalysts with enhanced stability and mass transfer to the active sites will be prepared and tested to evaluate their activity, selectivity, and stability in ADNOC Refining’s commercial feed under realistic conditions.
Characterizing porosity, absolute permeability and elastic properties in cored area from oilfield reservoirs is a crucial step to evaluate hydrocarbon reserves. This characterization is more challenging in carbonate rocks representing half of the world reservoirs, which is also the main type of reservoir in the United Arab Emirates. Their high heterogeneity due to presence of pores at macro, micro, and nano scales resulting from diagenesis makes rock properties characterization very complex. Measurements obtained in the laboratory are effective measures that do not reflect the variability and effect of each range of pore sizes (nano, micro, and macro).
In the last decade, several developments in numerical simulations of rock properties known as Digital Rock Physics showed the ability to estimate reliably rock properties using images in sandstones but failed in several cases in carbonates. Since 2010, Khalifa University has developed software tools and expertise in this domain though projects funded by the ADNOC R&D Oil Subcommittee: Rock Physics Model for Fluid Substitution in Carbonates (2010-2013); Validation and Optimization of Digital Rock Physics in UAE Carbonates Project (2014-2015); Experimental and Digital Rock Physics: Mechanical Properties and Flow Properties from Nanotomography to Core Scale Analysis (2014-2017).
The 3D images obtained using X-ray Micro-tomography or Focused Ion Beam (FIB) allow investigating core samples to model solid frame and pore network at very high resolution. Due to physical limitations of detectors sizes in scanning devices, it is not possible to image macro, micro, and nano pores in the same acquisition. The general strategy to deal with this limitation is to use X-ray micro tomography to scan standard cylindrical rock core plug with a 1.5-inch diameter at a coarse scale (resolution 20 μm). Then smaller subsets are extracted and scanned at fine scale (resolutions 1μm to 4μm). Numerical simulations allow estimating numerically rock properties on digital models of subsets. However, due to the very small size of subsets it is not possible to validate these simulations experimentally in laboratory. Also, producing numerical simulations at several scales for different locations can be time consuming.
In this project, we have two main objectives; the first consists of studying the feasibility of using 3D printing technology to print extracted subsets in larger scale to make laboratory experiments feasible. Producing these 3D print of rock subsets will allow validating our simulations experimentally at laboratory scale. The second objective is to use texture analysis and machine learning along with 3D printing results to simulate rock properties in complex carbonates rocks. The project will benefit geoscientist and petroleum engineers in the UAE as it will help understand the effect of micro and nanoscale structure in oilfield reservoir rocks.
The main objective of this research project is to increase the efficiency of GE centrifugal compressors by optimizing fuel consumption. Approximately 39% of ADNOC Gas Processing’s compressors that are currently in operation are centrifugal compressors manufactured by GE or companies acquired by GE. Other compressors are from companies such as Siemens and MHI. The optimization of these compressors is to be accomplished using Model Predictive Control to solve for operating points for which at steady state the fuel consumption is minimized. Model predictive control solves an optimization problem to calculate the optimal control signals. At each step in the controller operation, an optimization problem is defined based on a mathematical model of the system.
The project objective is to establish relations between foaming and amine degradation products, corrosion products, and dissolved higher hydrocarbons; remove these foam-promoting compounds from the amine solvent; and conduct a mechanistic investigation of solvent degradation and foaming. This will reduce the cost by cutting down or eliminating the use of antifoam in the amine column, and the reduction of operating problems will also lead to cost saving.
This project aims to develop a soft analyzer for the analysis of BTEX emissions from the thermal section exit of sulfur recovery units (SRU). The ultimate goal is to develop a soft analyzer that will assist in optimizing the SRU and decreasing fuel gas consumption significantly. This analyzer will be developed based on the most important reactions governing aromatics destruction/formation in Claus furnace. The reactions of lower hydrocarbons, PAH, and BTEX in our previously developed kinetic model for the Claus furnace will be critically re-examined with the goal of reducing the number of reaction pathways. The gas phase kinetics of other chemically-active constituents that include CO, COS, and SO2 will also be re-evaluated to identify reactions that do not contribute significantly to sulfur production and BTEX destruction.
The reduced reaction mechanism will be used to simulate the Claus furnace and WHB. The predicted data will be validated against experimental data to ensure the high predictability and reliability of the reduced kinetic model. The robust Chemkin Pro software will be systematically coupled with HYSYS and MATLAB or HEEDS (an optimization software) to develop a user-friendly soft analyzer. The coupling of two process simulators offers a novel means of enhancing the computational accuracy of SRU simulations. Chemkin Pro, while handling the thermal section accurately, could not be used to model the catalytic section due to its complexity, and Aspen HYSYS (an equilibrium based process simulator) could not be used to capture the detailed chemistry of kinetically-limited reactions of BTEX destruction. Thus, the use of two process simulators is necessary for a reliable and complete evaluation of the SRU performance and fuel gas consumption in different Habshan processing units. This will assist in evaluating the reliability and potential benefit of the proposed soft analyzer that will be developed. An effort will be made to minimize the computational time of the soft analyzer to the minimum possible through the use of machine learning algorithms.
The efficient capture of carbon dioxide is of paramount importance for the refining and gas industries in Abu Dhabi. There are both global and local reasons for that. The global arguments relate to the anticipated change of the climate resulting from the ever increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
In the UAE, the arguments are not different, and being one of the highest emitters of CO2 per capita, a lot of work lies ahead in this area. But the interest in CO2 capture locally goes beyond control of emissions to the atmosphere. To enhance the recovery/production of crude oil from existing wells, injection of CO2 is one of the available and preferred options. Large volumes are needed though; these may not be readily available and in some cases since even fossil fuels are burnt simply to generate it. Clearly this is not an advantageous solution, and technologies to effectively capture CO2 will be of continued interest. Reduction of CO2 emissions is directly influenced by the efficiency (read cost) by which carbon can be captured. Along these challenges, the project aims to develop energy‐efficient and sustainable solutions based on hybrid capture using highly selective, high‐capacity bi‐phasic sorption systems and processes.
The overall objective of the proposed project is to develop a systems approach to pipeline integrity and health management. To achieve this, we propose to follow a multi-disciplinary science, engineering, and operational approach to realize a comprehensive and state-of-the-art solution. We intend to leverage existing technologies and methods and invent new ones as needed. The approach is innovative and unique in its comprehensive integrative perspective and in its focus on providing practical solutions while advancing the critical scientific and engineering foundations.
The Research and Innovation Center on CO2 and H2 (RICH) is established building upon complementary expertise of researchers at Khalifa University and supported by highly reputed local and international companies and organizations. The RICH’s vision is to become a world-leading center of excellence in the use of combined modeling-experimental approaches for research and development of novel materials and technologies for CO2 capture and utilization as well as H2 production, storage, and distribution. We intend to be the central point for research, development, technology transfer, and awareness in CO2 and H2 in the UAE and the Middle East, irradiating this expertise to the rest of the world by fostering innovation and multidisciplinary collaborations and knowledge exchange, while serving the country and the world in the Mission Innovation challenges, addressing industrial needs, educating highly skilled scientists and engineers, and aiding the society in the search for clean energy and sustainable products.
The Center of Catalysis and Separation (CeCaS) is a research center at Khalifa University. The Center builds upon the scientific human power of KU with a cohort multidisciplinary expertise spanning from different aspects of catalysis to adsorption and separation. It is one of its kind within the UAE and has a strategic plan to be a financially sustainable center, building on national and international reputation, and competitive and industrial grants. The synergy among its faculty and staff will tackle the challenges and complexities in the above domains in academic and industrial sectors. The Center provides a multiscale integrated approach to solve scientific and engineering problems that spans across scales and disciplines, including (1) Catalysis for Energy and Chemicals, (2) Separation and Adsorption Applications, and (3) Multiscale Modeling, whereas it offers a vibrant and exciting environment that educates and stimulates the next-generation of engineers with focal point chemicals, membranes, reactors, materials, refineries, and renewable energy.
Wettability of rock/fluid systems is an important physicochemical parameter that significantly influences the fluid distribution and flow behavior in hydrocarbon reservoirs. A precise characterization of rock wettability at the relevant thermophysical conditions is thus essential for important subsurface applications including enhanced oil recovery and CO2-geoseuqestration. Wettability of rock/fluids systems is a function of operating conditions, such as pressure, temperature, and salinity. Furthermore, wettability is also strongly influenced by rock surface roughness and mineralogical heterogeneity of the sample surface. While a notable literature has investigated the wettability dependence on operating conditions (e.g., pressure and temperature), the dependence of wettability on rock surface roughness and mineral heterogeneity has not received much attention and thus remain poorly understood. In this context, there are preliminary investigations that suggest an increase in surface hydrophilicity with increasing roughness; however, the current available literature is limited to pure mineral samples only.
Furthermore, and importantly, the carbonate family of rocks are typically:
We hypothesize that such wide variations of wetting behavior in carbonate rocks may be related to the millimeter-to-micrometer-scale surface roughness and the hectometer-scale mineralogical heterogeneity. To this end, rock surface roughness will be characterized by the in-house available atomic force microscopy measurements, and wetting will be characterized by experimental contact angle measurements on carbonate rock surfaces. It is expected that this research will significantly enhance our scientific understanding of the rock wettability variations and the associated multiphase flow mechanism in the porous medium; and the results of the study will be of interest to a broader scientific community.
Natural fractures formed as a result of geological deformation as part of reservoir history create complex paths for fluid movement that impact reservoir permeability, ultimately affecting production performance and increasing the recovery factor. Therefore, obtaining information about fractures, such as their orientation and spatial distribution, is critical in well placement and field development. Information about natural fractures is usually obtained from the analysis of cores, full-bore formation microimagers (FMIs), borehole images (BHIs), mud losses, and production logs obtained at the well location. However, interpretation of such data remains subjective because it depends on human evaluation, and it is only valid at the well location.
The initial part of the project will focus on the analysis and assessment of several seismic attributes such amplitude variation with offset (AVO), velocity anisotropy and seismic wave attenuation for obtaining fractures properties such as their fluid content and orientation. This will be through a good literature study and synthetic tests to be performed using an in-house and open source codes. Seismic attenuation is a new attribute and is not commonly used because of the difficulty of getting an accurate estimate of this parameter especially from 3D seismic data.
The project deals with the tectonostratigraphic analysis of the UAE-Oman fossil rifted margin. The aim of the research is to reconstruct the stratigraphic framework along a hypothetical section from the proximal into the distal margin of the Mesozoic Tethys ocean, which at present is cropping out in Northern Emirates and Oman territories. The goal will be the search for the main tectonic elements of Tethys rifting: proximal and distal margins and necking zone. Research will include the analysis of the stratigraphy of selected key-outcrops with classical field approach and lab methods (thin sections observation, paleontological analysis, compositional analysis). A special attention will be paid to the presence of possible rifting-related mineralization induced by fluids circulation, using geochemical and isotopic techniques. Where possible, the thermal history of basins will be investigated with thermochronologic analysis. Observations made on similar rifting setting will be an integral part of this research: data from selected areas (both from the field and seismic images), reported as key-examples of rifting systems partly or totally driven by magma-poor extensional mechanisms (e.g., Alpine rifting, Atlantic rifting, and Red Sea rifting) are used to integrate field finding in the UAE and Oman at the crustal scale. The deliverables and societal relevance of this project are twofold. On a practical level, (i) this research may lead to a better knowledge on several aspects (tectonostratigraphy, thermal evolution, interactions with fluids) of distal margins in magma-poor rifting systems, which may represent one of the most promising area for hydrocarbon exploration in the next future.
Whereas during the last century exploration and production at rifted margins have been mostly focused in the shallow water, wide extended belts facing oceanic toughs and into the corresponding counterpart buried onshore, in the last decades many attempts were made to enhance the knowledge on possible deep-water targets. In fact, despite technical difficulties, lack of precise scientific constrains and logistic costs, encouraging studies from fossil examples (e.g., Alps, Pyrenees), scientific reports from ODP cruises (e.g., Atlantic) and increasing HC demand may now justify new investments for the search of unconventional plays at deep water. On the base-research side, (ii) research on the stratigraphic architecture drive to consider different basins settled on different crustal setting. The knowledge of the main framework of the UAE-Oman rifted margin may attract the interest of different research communities. For example, our work may help define and constrain extensional mechanisms at magma poor rifting (main goal of the rifted margins community) but also explain the successive compressive phase suffered by some of these systems and, for example, may shed new light on the ophiolite obduction mechanism (regional geologists community).
Ammonia is an essential chemical with an annual production of 200 million tonnes, estimated to increase 40% by 2050. More than 80% of ammonia is used as a raw material for fertilizer production, while the remaining is used for various applications such as plastics synthesis, intermediates synthesis for pharma industry, refrigeration, and also expected to be future carbon-neutral fuel due to its greater recompenses of energy density, ease of liquefaction and larger hydrogen content. Conventionally, ammonia is produced using the Haber-Bosch process, which requires high temperature and high costs, releases 450 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, and consumes 3–5% of global natural gas supply annually. To eradicate the carbon emission from the ammonia synthesis, there is an enormous need to produce ammonia using an alternative approach to that of the Haber-Bosch process, through clean, sustainable, and carbon neutral methods for agriculture and other aforementioned emerging applications. In this work, we propose a clean and sustainable electrochemical pathway for the synthesis of an innovative ammonia. The main focus of this research will be the development of novel nanostructured high surface area iron-based electrocatalysts to improve the selectivity and faradaic efficiency of ammonia synthesis from ambient nitrogen and water.
This project aims to study marine sedimentary successions from the United Arab Emirates with the focus in stratigraphy, paleoclimates, paleoenvironments, and paleoceanography. As a result of its unique palaeogeographic location and geology, the UAE has a wealth of Mesozoic sedimentary successions from both outcrops and well cores that inhabit an immense potential for high-impact studies on faunal and climatic turnovers in the Earth’s past. Yet, to date only few intervals have been studied in detail from this part of the world.
The focus of this project will therefore primarily lie in, yet not limited to, the Jurassic and Cretaceous systems and the associated lithostratigraphic formations: a time in Earth history characterized by peak sea levels, high concentrations of greenhouse gases, and major climatic disturbances. Sedimentological descriptions and chemostratigraphic correlations of carbonate successions from well and outcrop material allow precise interpretations on the paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental conditions at the respective time interval. A secondary aim is the correlation of obtained regional data to other regions that offer outstanding sedimentary records.
Standard methods such as petrographical microscopy, paleontological and sedimentological descriptions are complemented in this project by up-to-date chemostratigraphic approaches. The latter includes analysis of stable isotope ratios and elemental concentrations on both sedimentary rocks and organic matter. Further geochemical analyses such as gas chromatography may be considered based on availability. The collection of samples is realized through short field visits to national and international locations, as well as core storages in Abu Dhabi.
Carbonate rocks account for more than half the world’s hydrocarbon proven reserves. Oil recovery from these reservoirs is a challenge due to their complex nature. This complexity is due to the mixed-to-oil wet rocks, low permeability with high heterogeneity, added to the harsh conditions of high temperature and high salinity. Water injection in these reservoirs results in low recovery due to water channeling in high permeability layers and bypassing oil in the low permeability matrix. Consequently, several enhanced oil recovery techniques have been proposed for improving the oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs and overcoming the high negative capillary pressure that holds oil in place.
This project aims to enhance oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs using different chemicals, namely chemical enhanced oil recovery (CEOR). The chemicals improve oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs through enhancing both displacement efficiency as well as volumetric sweep efficiency. Surfactants reduce trapped residual oil saturation, polymers target unswept (bypassed) oil saturation, and low salinity water was proven to enhance both. In this project, the effect of polymer flooding on improving oil recovery will be mainly investigated; however, hybrid injection of other chemicals such as surfactant and low salinity water is within the scope to investigate the synergistic effect if the project time permits.
The enhanced oil recovery from carbonates will be investigated through numerical simulation and modeling. This helps in understanding the controlling mechanism including interfacial tension (IFT) reduction, mobility ratio (M) improvement, as well as wettability alteration to a more water-wetting state. The needed rock and fluid data can be obtained from ADNOC for one of the potential reservoirs in the UAE or from the published data in the literature for similar reservoirs in the Middle East region.
In oil fields, demulsifying chemicals are continuously injected into pipeline segments located between the manifolds and separation tanks to partially separate oil from water. Cascade of few downstream storage tanks are then used to perform further separation by gravity. This process is costly, not environmental friendly, and requires a long settling time in the storage tanks that causes a substantial decrease of oil production throughput. This remains a critical challenge for most oil producing companies, including ADNOC, where a production increase from 3 to 5 million barrels/day is sought within the next few years. This research challenge corresponds to one of the R&D challenges faced by ADNOC, as highlighted in the latest RDPETRO conference. Substituting the existing chemical injection-based process with a cheaper and more sustainable solution is one of the main goals of this research project. Many studies have demonstrated the ability of ultrasound to separate oil from water but none of them tackled large scale requirements of oil gas fields. This may be attributed to the fact that the multiphase flow carried in the pipeline is usually composed of liquid and gas phases, causing a quasi-attenuation of acoustic waves when they hit the gas phase. Deploying this technology inside vessels would require an excessive amount of energy as well as high capex and running costs.
The fossil fuels depletion, along with the global warming concerns, shifts the scientists toward alternative carbon sources/fuels, such as biomass. Pyrolysis of biomass results in a liquid (bio-oil), which is a mixture of many oxygenate molecules (~300), with an energy density up to 10 times higher than the raw biomass, but is acidic with low heating value, not stable with time, whereas aqueous/organic fractions separation can take place. Thus, bio-oil is unsuitable for combustion in engines and its catalytic upgrading is a necessity, through hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) or steam reforming (SR) reactions. In the proposed research, different types of probe oxygenates and real bio-oil will be subjected to HDO and SR reactions. Boosting the oxygenates catalytic activation through catalyst design or process engineering (chemical looping, reaction conditions) will be explored, while the characteristics of the upgraded bio-oil as fuel will be thoroughly studied and the process will be evaluated.
There is an ever increasing demand in the oil and gas industry for a high accuracy multiphase flow meter (MPFM) to meet stringent needs at offshore and on-shore fields, as well as refineries. In-situ/inline measurement of multiphase flow over a wide range of flow regimes poses serious challenges for multiphase meters. Although the metering technology has advanced over the recent years, there are still many industry requirements that are not yet met by the available technology. In this project, an accurate and cost effective magnetic resonance (MR) multiphase flow meter concept that does not require phase separation will be developed to improve upon the conventional measurement techniques. Applying MR concepts to flow characterization is a relatively new research and development area with significant potential for commercialization. It is the focus of this project to develop novel MR MPFM technology toward metering relatively fast flows and realizing compact, as well as cost-effective designs.
The project addresses key geosciences issues of the local petroleum industry as defined in the current research challenges of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). It includes three tasks that contribute to the overarching, general topic of reservoir characterization, a key topic of regional hydrocarbon exploration and production. Specifically, the project addresses the critical assessment of the regional stratigraphy, and the origin and evolution of microporosity in carbonate reservoirs. Geological units will be studied that are critical for regional basin analysis and sequence stratigraphic interpretations. The project will also contribute to Earth systems science, as paleo-environmental change during episodes of significant climate warming will have impacted early diagenetic modifications of porosity and permeability.
This proposed project aims to answer the call of the regional challenges discussed in RD Petro 2018 to develop Enhanced Oil and Gas Recovery technologies through experimental and numerical modeling of various techniques, which are economically viable and efficient for field-scale development ensuring minimal damage to reservoir along with reduction in costs. This is achieved through developing a novel in-house Hybrid Smartwater Nanopolymer (HSWNP) technique that utilize the wettability alteration and preconditioning capability of Smart Water, coupled with a novel “self-adaptive thickening” nanopolymer fluid to address the challenges of candidate field reservoirs. KU, along with external collaborators, Power Environmental Energy Research Institute (PEERI), Lloyd’s Register (LR), and industrial partner Dragon Oil, a subsidiary of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), will combine extensive knowledge in nanopolymer designs and smart brine screening/formation, fluid analysis, and real-time resistivity monitoring while core flooding to develop and demonstrate the field application potentials in challenging candidate fields.
The Early Jurassic was subject to major disturbances in the global carbon cycle, associated with the emplacement of the Karoo-Ferrar large igneous province (LIP). These perturbations are recorded in the carbon-isotope composition of terrestrial and marine organic matter and carbonate as carbon-isotope excursions. Karoo-Ferrar intrusive and extrusive volcanism is thought to have been the primary driver of massive ecological and environmental disturbances including pulsed releases of isotopically light carbon into the atmosphere, global warming, oceanic anoxia, intensified wildfire activity and weathering, methane clathrate dissociation, and possibly iron fertilization of the oceans. Although significant research has been conducted on the Early Jurassic marine record, there are significant gaps in our understanding of the terrestrial response close to the main LIP. Here, we propose to examine continental sediments and fossil plants from Argentina, Tasmania, and South Africa to elucidate on environmental and ecological responses due to LIP activity.
CO2 capture is an important area for industries concerned with reducing carbon footprint and increasing environmental sustainability. It is particularly important for the petroleum industry because of the high-reward application of CO2 as solvent for EOR. The cost of CO2 capture is high and developments are needed to bring it down. Challenges facing cheap and efficient capture of CO2 can be alleviated through Process Intensification (PI) of CO2 capture processes. Different PI technologies have been investigated over the years with rotating packed bed (RPB) technology playing an increasing role due to the potential of a several-order-of-magnitude mass transfer enhancement induced by the Higee field. The goal of the proposed research is to investigate operability of RPB reactor in the context of CO2 capture from low-pressure sources. It consists of building physical and numerical models of the proposed RPB reactor to quantify the potential of RPB technology to intensify conventional solvent-based CO2 capture processes.
Microbes are inevitably present in hydrocarbon reservoirs wherein they contribute to emergent dynamics at reservoir scales. Their influence in driving these dynamics remains unexplored in UAE oilfields and there remains a pressing need for new tools (predictive/diagnostic) to mitigate unfavorable processes (souring, formation damage, and corrosion) and highlight opportunities for biotechnologies to remediate contaminated soils, reduce operational costs, and enhance recovery.
The goal of this multidisciplinary work is to leverage recent advances in molecular microbiology, microscale imaging, and computational modelling to address the influence of microbial activities on oilfield challenges. This work seeks to demonstrate proof-of-concept for AI-based modelling tools to predict emergent environmental properties that arise from microscale biological dynamics.
Importantly, the development of such tools remains an ongoing and major scientific goal as these tools represent the only current strategy to predictively address timely societal issues of import (including climate and biosphere changes brought on by anthropogenic impacts).
Identification of structural framework of the basement is critical to hydrocarbon exploration of the UAE sedimentary basins. The basement structures typically propagate into the overlying sedimentary rocks and influence fluid flow and the distribution of hydrocarbon traps.
Over the past few years, ADNOC has drilled a number of deep exploration wells in the offshore of Abu Dhabi. These wells targeted pre-Khuff play. However, the success rate of these wells has proved very limited so far. The main problem is that the evolution, stress, and structural controls of these plays are not well understood. This is because the movement of basement structures and overlying Infracambrian salts control the sedimentary structures. This project aims to tackle this challenge by deploying an innovative and comprehensive suite of recently developed techniques, providing not only the depth to the crystalline basement and thickness of Infracambrian salts, but also tectonic evolutions of these structures.
Fine oil droplets and trace level of hydrocarbons in the oil and gas produced water pose technical challenges to their sustainable treatment and disposal. With the increasing demand from environmental stewardship to protect our natural environment, more efficient treatment processes to separate oil and hydrocarbon from water are critically needed. A promising solution to address this issue could be developed by tailor designing and surface engineering the so-called “Janus Particles,” a particle with two distinct physical or chemical properties. This proposal will focus on using different heterogeneous nucleation mechanisms and surface functionalization methods to design and fabricate a new generation of hybrid nanocrystals that have either multicomponent inorganic crystals or polymer-modified organic-inorganic nanoparticles with spatially controlled distribution of functionalities such as olephilic and hydrophilic. The developed Janus particles also possess magnetic and catalytic properties for easy collecting of oil/pollutant laden particles followed by catalytically activated degradation and regeneration.
The proposed project aims to develop a holistic, yet focused, experimental and simulation optimization approach involving novel nanoscale experimental tools coupled to artificial intelligence (AI) in order to provide a solid pathway for maximizing efficiency and recovery upon CO2-based EOR.
The project involves additives development and evaluation, core-flooding experiments, rheology studies and CO2-additive-oil flow evaluation, studies on rock physicochemical characteristics, pore analysis, and rock–CO2-additives interactions, in-situ neutron scattering experiments, all integrated into the development of Machine Learning (ML) simulations and optimization algorithms.
With this appoach, we target bottom-up optimization, provided by the proposed toolset, which is applied for the first time in EOR. CO2-EOR will be the focal case study, but the technology to be developed will have the potential to be expanded and applied to other EOR technologies of interest, such as polymer-EOR.