Vertical and Lateral Heterogeneity in Unconventional Source Rock Sequences


Project Description

Economic production of a hydrocarbon reservoir is critically influenced by a good understanding of the distribution of litho- and organo-facies, porosity, geochemical and geomechanical properties of the reservoir layers. This, in turn, is primarily a function of both the vertical and lateral heterogeneity in the distribution and geochemical composition of soft organic-rich layers and more brittle organic-lean layers, taking in an account the regional assessment of the stress regime, heatflow and thermal conductivity. The proposed study will help to conduct a detailed assessment on a production scale of depositional and geochemical heterogeneities with unconventional development scenarios. The main aim of this research project is to describe and analyze the vertical and lateral heterogeneities of unconventional reservoirs through outcrop analogue investigations, in order to: 1. characterize the lateral and vertical changes in cyclicity and its impact on the occurrence, distribution and geochemical composition of organic-rich and organic-lean facies in a basinal setting; 2. provide based on the results of the fieldwork an assessment of possible variations in production behaviour of unconventional reservoirs in rocks of similar origin. The candidate will perform, along with fieldwork, a variety of microscopic and geochemical analyses on systematically collected sample from different outcrops exposing the Upper Cretaceous-Eocene Rocks of Jordan, which has a great potential as an unconventional reservoir.​​​​
Program - Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering
Division - Physical Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center
Field of Study - ​Geology, Carbonate Geology, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Unconventional Source Rocks, Facies Analysis

About the

Volker C. Vahrenkamp

Professor, Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering

Volker C. Vahrenkamp
​Professor Vahrenkamp's research aims at securing future energy supply with three main thrusts:
  1. Refine the understanding of modern and ancient carbonate depositional environments and associated diagenesis for improved perception of reservoir heterogeneities on multiple scales,
  2. Advance the quantification of the complex pore networks of Arabian carbonate reservoirs and its impact on reservoir performance,
  3. Explore and develop geothermal energy in Arabian countries with special focus on desalination and cooling applications and suitable drilling techniques.

Desired Project Deliverables

​1. The project will form a Masters Thesis of the proposed student. 2. The results will published in peer reviewed Journals. 3. The results will be presented in international conferences.​