EOR group photo
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

By Jennifer Matthews

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—The Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Joint Industry Project (JIP) held its 14th Annual Workshop on November 22 on the University Park campus, including a dinner on November 21.

The EOR JIP focuses on industrial supported research topics in gas flooding, chemically-tuned water flooding and alkali-surfactant-polymer flooding, along with various hybrid techniques. Current funded research projects use analytical, experimental and numerical methods supervised by five Penn State faculty members. 

“Besides important research funding, the JIP allows our students to interact with industry through technical questions of each presentation. These questions often lead to other projects either through the JIP or as separate funded projects,” said Russell Johns, director of the EOR JIP, George E. Trimble Chair of Energy and Mineral Sciences and the Energi Simulation Chair in Fluid Behavior and Rock Interactions.

More than 20 attendees listened to presentations on topics including:

  • Experimental Analysis of Alkali-Salt-Alcohol Phase Behavior with OMV Crude Oil
  • Oil Recovery from Diffusive Transport During Huff’n’Puff
  • Development of an Accurate Lattice Boltzmann (LBM) Code for Permeability Estimation from computed tomography (CT) Images
  • Advances in Developing a New Relative Permeability Equation-of-State
  • High Temperature Contact Angle Modeling for Enhanced Oil Recovery
  • Investigating the Effect of Oil Chemistry on Chemically-Tuned Waterflooding
  • Modeling the Effect of Reaction Kinetics and Dispersion during Low-Salinity Waterflooding
  • Improved Equation-of-State Modeling for Surfactant EOR
  • Measurement of Microemulsion Phase Behavior of Complex Alcohol-Surfactant Mixtures at High Pressure
  • Theory of Bicontinuous Microemulsion Viscosity Considering Interfacial Phenomenon
  • Incorporation of Physical Viscosity Model into a Chemical Flooding Simulator
  • Compositional Dependence of Viscosity in Microemulsion Systems

They also received a demonstration of the new PennShale Toolkit, which allows for recovery estimates to be made in ultra-tight reservoirs, such as the Marcellus Shale. The new toolkit is based on a recent paper that was awarded the Best International Paper at the fall International Society of Petroleum Engineers’ annual technical meeting and conference in Calgary, Canada. 

The EOR IAP has some notable accomplishments, which include developing the first multiple contact mixing cell algorithm to calculate the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) for combined condensing/vaporizing drives; developing the first surface complexation reaction equations for wettability alteration in low salinity waterflooding; publishing the first equation-of-state for microemulsions; developing a novel coupled equation-of-state approach for relative permeability and capillary pressure that make compositional simulation truly compositional, more robust, more accurate and faster computationally; and developing a new transport mechanism based on diffusion as the primary unifying mechanism of oil and gas production in shales.  

According to Johns, “These breakthroughs would not have been possible without the support of the member companies who have asked great questions through the years and inspired much of our research direction.”


The EOR JIP was initiated at the University of Texas at Austin in 2006 under the name Gas Flooding Joint Industry Project. The initial objective of the research group was to provide a wide range of research topics in the area of gas flooding.

In 2010, the group was moved to Penn State, where faculty from both Penn State and the University of Texas lead fundamental research projects. Industrial affiliates are encouraged to provide topics and data for this research so that the research is company-led, rather than university-led. In 2014, the name of the group changed to Enhanced Oil Recovery Joint Industry Project in order to encompass a broader range of research topics.

To become a member of the Enhanced Oil Recovery Joint Industry Project or to receive more information, please contact Russell Johns at rjohns@psu.edu.