Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar - Dr. I. Yucel Akkutlu


Monday, February 27, 2017


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.204


Speaker:  Dr. I. Yucel Akkutlu, Professor, Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University

Title of Seminar: “Nano-scale and Molecular Phenomena as New Unconventional Reservoir Physics”

 Abstract: It is now well-documented that the unconventional resources (shale, coal, gas hydrate) consist of pores with small volumes contributing to the storage of fluids. These volumes are not much larger than the fluid molecules they store. The nature of fluids under confinement in such small spaces is different such that they experience significantly amplified fluid-wall molecular interactions. Consequently, various thermodynamic states may develop for the fluids and co-exist under the subsurface conditions. Further, fluid phase may change unpredictably and fluid flow could transition into several diffusion mechanisms.

The presentation will discuss these basic differences in behavior of hydrocarbon mixtures quantitatively using atomistic modeling and molecular simulations. Compared to the classical hydrocarbon fluids, the behavior is different due to pore-wall dominated inter-molecular forces, mainly London dispersion and permanent dipole-dipole forces. The discussion will be tied to methane dissolution in water and to oil/gas recovery limits from kerogen, an important material constituent of source rocks.

The molecular forces also play a significant role on fluid transport and could lead to potential non-Darcian flow effects. Osmosis of the injected water molecules leads to swelling of the clays in shale reservoirs and create a permeability skin near the fractures. During production, apparent gas permeability of the organic-rich shale and coal could experience non-Darcian (molecular transport) effects. These effects will be introduced using molecular simulations and laboratory measurements with core plugs under stress. The presentation will be concluded with a demonstration of the impact of the fracture skin and non-Darcian effects on the hydrocarbon reserves using a new-generation reservoir flow simulation models.

Biography:   I. Yucel Akkutlu is Flotek Industries Inc. Career Development Professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University. He is a College of Engineering William Keeler Faculty Fellow. He is a chemical engineer and holds Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California. His main research interest is fluid flow, transport and reactions in porous media. Akkutlu served as the executive editor of the SPE Journal, 2012-2015. He received 2016 Texas A&M University Distinguished Achievement Award, 2015 AIME Rossiter W. Raymond Memorial Award. He was 2014-2015 SPE Distinguished Lecturer.