Dr. Reza Barati Ghahfarokhi
- Director, Tertiary Oil Recovery Program (TORP)
Reza Barati, PhD is an Associate Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas (KU). In addition to his 7 years of academic experience, Dr. Barati has five years of industry experience. He has also worked on several industry and state-funded projects as a consultant. Dr. Barati has authored or co-authored more than 50 technical papers and edited two technical books. He has received several SPE awards including the 2015 SPE Faculty Innovative Teaching Award and the 2019 Regional Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty. His areas of expertise include reservoir engineering of both conventional and unconventional oil and gas reservoirs, reservoir simulation, improved oil recovery (IOR), and reservoir stimulation.
Reza Barati, PhD
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department
My philosophy for graduate research is to meet with students early and often to define a clear research topic. I typically provide them with literature to review and over the first 3-4 months of their research, I train the graduate students in the lab. Next, I give them the freedom to try new ideas while they are accomplishing the main research goals.
My philosophy for undergraduate researchers is to first educate them about the topic in hand while I make sure they understand basic research techniques. I match them with graduate students next and train them to follow specific procedures. I typically meet with both undergraduate and graduate students every week to make sure that they are making progress towards the goals defined in the previous meeting.
Unconventional reservoirs and mature oilfields are the two main sources of hydrocarbon for the United States and worldwide. The industry needs novel production methods from these two significant sources of hydrocarbons and research funds in our discipline are shifting towards these directions. Tight and ultra-tight shale oil and shale gas reservoirs have been developed by combining two previously known technologies, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Mature oilfields have been produced using Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques such as CO2 flooding.
I have developed a research group focusing on several research topics related to unconventional reservoirs and EOR methods. When it comes to unconventional reservoirs, the focus of my research group is on the following areas:
• Fracture conductivity improvement using chemical carrier nanoparticles and nanoproppants for unconventional reservoirs
• Waterless fracturing: Stability improvement of foam systems used in fracturing with polyelectrolyte complexes
• Development of environmentally- and equipment-friendly HCl alternatives for matrix acidizing and acid fracturing of tight reservoirs
• Gas huff-n-puff for improved shale oil recovery: An experimental and modeling study
• Reservoir characterization of shale oil/gas rocks
• Development of the new generation of acid fracturing models using extended finite element models
Since 50% of the US’s production comes from mature old reservoirs, I am convinced to maintain a conventional component in my research group. Below are the EOR research projects that are currently under investigation in my lab:
• Stability improvement of CO2 foam systems used in EOR using polyelectrolyte complexes
• Effect of water composition on oil production during waterflooding
Major Accomplishments/Significance of Contributions
Since 2012, I have spent a significant portion of my time developing a lab that is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment capable of conducting reservoir condition experiments. Except for two setups, we built everything in-house. I personally designed each setup, obtained quotes for different pieces, and purchased the components. Currently, my lab is equipped with the following experimental setups:
• A coreflooding setup capable of conducting waterflooding, chemical flooding and matrix acidizing experiments at reservoir temperature of maximum 60 ◦C, and pressures of maximum 2500 psi was built in-house. These current temperature and pressures ranges cover the current conditions of most of conventional oil reservoirs in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. This setup can be upgraded to 5000 psi pressure by changing the tubing and valves.
• A high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) coreflooding system has been developed in-house for CO2 and CO2 foam flooding. This setup is equipped with a shear loop, a view cell to condition and view the generated foam, a sand pack module, as well as a dynamic fluid loss module. This setup can run CO2 for shale experiments as well.
• An API fracture conductivity system capable of measuring the conductivity of hydraulic and acid fractures under both static and dynamic conditions.
• A HPHT pendant drop interfacial tension and contact angle measurement system.
• A HPHT rheometer capable of measuring foam rheological properties (shared with TORP).
• A Dean-Stark core cleaning setup.
• A HPHT Rotating Disk setup capable of running experiments at temperature of maximum 250 ◦C and pressures as high as 5000 psi.
I was awarded the SPE Junior Faculty Research Initiation Fellowship ($40,000) in 2012. I was nominated as a co-PI of the Kansas Interdisciplinary Carbonates Consortium in 2013. I am also one of the founders and a PI of the Sustainable Hydrocarbon Recovery for Unconventional Resources. Overall, I have secured $559,843 of research funds from external sources as a single PI. I have also secured $3,898,637 of research funds from external sources as a co-PI. Internally, I have helped secure some $658,335 of funds as a PI or co-PI.
In addition to the above funding, I have obtained several major in-kind donations ($99,009,727 in total) from Schlumberger and IHS-Mrkit. Some of those major donations are listed below:
1. A $26,902,126 donation of software for my research group (2012).
2. A $29,000,000 donation of software for my research group (2015).
3. A $ 37,290,343.2 donation of software for my research group (2017).
4. A $300,000 worth donation of a Dynamic Fluid Loss Equipment for my research group (2014).
5. A $230,000 worth donation of a Fracture Conductivity Equipment for my research group (2015).
6. A of $4,175,800.00 worth donation of software by IHS-Markit (2016)
I currently advise 9 graduate students working on different research topics. My group has published 11 peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters, and has another two manuscripts under review. In addition, we have published 11 conference proceeding papers and made 34 presentations in major and minor conferences and research gatherings.
Objectives for the Next Five Years
My objectives for the next five years:
1. I am planning to have complete hydraulic fracturing and acidizing fluids lab and a research group focused primarily on the unconventional reservoir aspects of these subjects. A variety of nanoparticles will be explored for fluid and proppant improvement purposes by my students.
2. I will continue my work in gas huff-n-puff for improved shale oil recovery and try to understand the underlying mechanisms of this method.
3. My third objective is to understand the underlying mechanisms for low salinity water flooding and stabilization of foams for EOR purposes.
I would like to see my research group become well-recognized amongst peer institutions as well as major and small oil and gas companies. I always welcome opportunities to evaluate my research impact or view it from a different perspective to challenge myself, to consider other opportunities, and to grow research production. I will be open to new and interesting research topics that can impact the oil industry or facilitate new research initiatives.
- Shale Oil, Unconventional Reservoirs, CO2, CO2 foam,
Reza Barati, PhD
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department
Statement of Teaching and Advising Philosophy and Goals
My first teaching experience began in high school when our high school math teacher asked me to tutor students and help them solve complex problems. Later on, when I was attending college, I started tutoring math and physics courses for high school students. This experience shaped my teaching philosophy. My approach to student assessment reflects my two goals. First, I thoroughly demonstrate the concept very well using state-of-the-art techniques. I find software with high quality graphics, interesting pictures, lab utilities and small experiments are particularly useful. I try to relate to the audience by starting from what they know and building upon it. Second, I assess the knowledge of my students with in-class discussions, one-on-one interactions, pop quizzes, exams, homework assignments and projects. I have applied interactive teaching to improve the efficiency of the learning process by achieving the summative, formative and motivational aspects of these techniques.
In addition to faculty input, and discussions with peers, I deeply value my students’ responses to improve my teaching techniques, which are evolving on a continuous basis.
Petroleum Engineering Capstone Design Course (C&PE 628, GEOL 528, and GEOL 837)- Spring 2013-Spring 2016
Petroleum engineering involves a significant amount of teamwork. For this purpose, I strongly advocate design projects involving student groups, which provide vital opportunities to effectively work as a team. Both interactive teaching and team-based learning methods are experienced during this course.
This unique course literally makes a bridge between these two disciplines and provides the students with an opportunity to interact and collaborate with students from the other disciplines. Students are asked to work on a new set of data related to a new field provided to us by an oil company from scratch as if they are working for a company and are assigned to study a newly developed oil field. Teams of three students, one geologist and two engineers, are typically selected by matching students with similar performance in their course work. I and my colleague from the geology department believe that such combination of team members will leave less room for one to get a “free ride” and makes the team members work together and equally to accomplish tasks in a competitive environment. In addition to a weekly lecture, 20-minute meetings are conducted with each team in the computer lab. During our meetings, team members update us of their progress within the last week and ask questions. Students will also be asked several questions about the approaches and methods that they have taken to solve the problem. Students learn how to use three major software by the end of this course.
Design projects are typically divided into three phases of 1) geologic modelling, 2) simulation of the primary and secondary history, and 3) economic calculations and forecasting for different scenarios. At the end of each phase, students write a comprehensive report. Three top teams are selected and they present their work in front of representatives from the company. All the team members have a role in both reports and oral presentations.
Petroleum Engineering Well Logging Course (C&PE 528)
Prior to teaching CPE 528, I spent a significant amount of time preparing course content and lecture notes. Interactive teaching is the main theme of my Well Logging class (C&PE 528). Students are given reading assignments during the previous session. I typically give a lecture for 40-45 minutes and then I give them an exercise and have them work in teams of three to solve the problem. We go through the exercise for 25 minutes and I randomly ask questions from different teams to make sure that they understand the problem and its solution. Students have to complete a short pop quiz, which is a very trivial questions about the subject that had been taught during that class meeting, at the end of every session (5% of the total grade). Students receive 16 HW (25% of the total grade) assignments and one midterm exam (35% of the total grade). The final exam includes 40% of the total grade.
Unconventional Resources Course (C&PE 625/715)
I have developed a new course about unconventional resources, one of only three courses of this type being offered in universities here in the US. This course is being taught interactively in the newly-designed computer lab (3108 and 3108A Learned Hall) while students are working on class examples in Excel, Techlog, E-Stimplan, PHDWin, and IHS Harmony. This project-based course has been taught three times by myself so far. A large dataset from the Bakken unconventional play in North Dakota was donated to our class for this purpose. All the examples and projects are designed using this dataset and another dataset from the Chattanooga formation here in Kansas. I trained a very capable Teaching Assistant, Mr. Mustafa Alhubail, while teaching the course to teach the course while I am on sabbatical during the fall of 2019.
C&PE 715/CE895 Water Management and Reuse in Oil and Gas Industry
This coruse was developed as a result of a collaborative work between myself, Ted Peltier and Steve Randtke from CEAE. The course was promised to NSF as part of the NSF-EPSCoR project on the subject of Water Management and Ruse in Oil and Gas Industry. In this course, students become familiar with the distribution of produced and flow back water in the country and worldwide, understand different methods being applpied to dispose, treat or reuse the produced water, learn about water copatability and challenges of disposal and reuse, bcome familiar with different water treatment methods and work on real-world problems from the industry. A good section of this course is about environmental aspects of hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas applications. As a result of my participation in development of this course, I was invited to serve in a panel that developed the Energy Module for NSF-supported Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education (CIT-E) in National Academy of Science.
Interacting with undergraduate students during advising sessions, helping them with their plans of studies and talking to students about their future plans reminds me once more of my main responsibility as a KU faculty. My average meeting time with students is around 15 minutes. I typically spend around 10 minutes going through their plans of study and then talk to them for five minutes about their future, their concerns, and their opinions about their experience taking different courses at KU. I always encourage students to find internship opportunities since internships provide them with hands-on experiences that can be the first step for them to find a permanent job. My involvement in undergraduate research has given me the honor of serving as a member of the Faculty Advisory Board for the Center for Undergraduate Research at KU.
Graduate Advising and Mentoring
My philosophy when it comes to advising or mentoring graduate students is to pay attention to their plan of study, research path, and interests as if I am planning for myself to get another M.Sc. or PhD in petroleum engineering.
My office is always open to my graduate students and I spend a great deal of time in the lab and with students on a daily basis. In addition to that, I have weekly meetings with my graduate students. Graduate students are asked to submit a weekly report of their progress on research and submit the report to me the day before the meeting. I always read the report and discuss it with them during the meeting. Students typically discuss their plans for the coming week as well.
I pay close attention to graduate students’ plans of studies and identify elective courses across the campus that can help them with their research topic. My students are typically taking courses in the geology, civil and environmental engineering, mathematics, and mechanical engineering departments depending on their research topics.
- Well Logging, Petroleum Engineering Design
Selected Publications —
Selected Presentations —
Barati, R., Pennell, S., Matson, M., & Linroth, M. (4/9/2016 - 4/13/2016). Overview of CO2 Injection and WAG Sensitivity in SACROC. SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium. Tulsa, OK
Vinassa, M., Cudjoe, S., Gomes, J., & Barati, R. (10/20/2015 - 10/22/2015). A Comprehensive Approach to Sweetspot Mapping for Hydraulic Fracturing and CO2 Huff-n-Puff Injection in Chattanooga Shale Formation. SPE Unconventional Resources Conference. Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Kalyanaraman, N., Arnold, C., Tsau, J., & Barati, R. (8/11/2015 - 8/13/2015). Stability Improvement of CO2 Foam for EOR Applications Using Polyelectrolytes and Polyelectrolyte Complex Nanoparticles. SPE Asia Pacific Enhanced Oil Recovery Conference. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/174650-MS
Bose, C., Fairchild, B., Gul, A., Jones, T., & Barati, R. (4/27/2015 - 4/30/2015). Nano-Proppants for Fracture Conductivity Improvement and Fluid Loss Reduction. SPE Western Regional Meeting. Garden Grove, California, USA. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/174037-MS
Awards & Honors —
Men of Merit
University of Kansas
2017 - 2018
University of Kansas School of Engineering Miller Scholar Award
The University of Kansas
2015 - 2016
School of Engineering Miller Scholar Award
The University of Kansas School of Engineering
2014 - 2015
Grants & Other Funded Activity —
RII Track 2: Improving Water Management, Treatment and Recovery in Oil and Gas Production. NSF. $3898637.00. Submitted 2/4/2016 (8/1/2016 - 8/31/2020). Federal. Status: Funded
Stability Improvement of CO2 Foam for Enhanced Oil Recovery Applications Using Polyelectrolyte Complex Nanoparticles: High Salinity Application. KICC-KS Interdisc Carbonates Consortium. $5347.00. Submitted 12/21/2016 (1/1/2017 - 8/18/2018). State of Kansas. Status: Funded
A Reconstructed Lattice Boltzmann Pore Network Model Investigating the Effect of Supercritical CO2 on Kerogen Pores. KICC-KS Interdisc Carbonates Consortium. $10000.00. Submitted 12/21/2016 (1/9/2017 - 1/8/2018). State of Kansas. Status: Funded
Understanding the Underlying Mechanisms of Low Salinity and Modified Salinity Water-Flooding Processes for Limestone Formations. KICC-KS Interdisc Carbonates Consortium. $36837.00. Submitted 12/20/2016 (1/1/2017 - 1/8/2018). State of Kansas. Status: Funded
Stability Improvement of CO2 Foam for Enhanced Oil Recovery Applications Using Polyelectrolyte Complex Nanoparticles. KICC-KS Interdisc Carbonates Consortium. $39655.00. Submitted 11/30/2015 (1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016). State of Kansas. Status: Funded
Understanding the Underlying Mechanisms of Low Salinity and Modified Salinity Water-Flooding Processes for Limestone Formations. KICC-KS Interdisc Carbonates Consortium. $1201.00. Submitted 10/18/2016 (10/17/2016 - 12/31/2016). For Profit (company/corporation). Status: Funded
Understanding the Underlying Mechanisms of Low Salinity and Modified Salinity Water-Flooding Processes for Limestone Formations. KICC-KS Interdisc Carbonates Consortium. $37686.00. Submitted 11/30/2015 (1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016). State of Kansas. Status: Proposal Submitted
Hydraulic Fracture propagation and Cleanup in Tight Unconventional Reservoirs - A Simulation Study. University of Kansas. $7474.00. (8/1/2015 - 5/31/2016). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded
Sustainable Hydrocarbon Recovery in Unconventional Reservoirs Initiative. Collaborative proposal between TORP, C&PE and CEAE. $396255.00 (343861.00). Submitted 10/30/2013 (1/1/2014 - 1/1/2016). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded
Simulation Study of Hydraulic Fracture Propagation and Cleanup in Tight Unconventional Reservoirs. KICC-KS Interdisc Carbonates Consortium. $39944.00. (1/1/2015 - 12/31/2015). Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded
Understanding the Underlying Mechanisms of Low Salinity and Modified Salinity Water-Flooding Processes for Limestone Formations. Kansas Interdisciplinary Carbonates Consortium (KICC). $39944.00. (1/1/2015 - 12/31/2015). Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded
Application of Nano- and Micro-Sized Particles for Fracture Conductivity Improvement in Tight Oil-Bearing Formation. KU New Faculty General Research Fund Proposal. $8000.00. (4/1/2013 - 4/30/2015). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded
Recovery Potential of Chemical Flood for Heavy Oil San Miguel Reservoirs in Trinity Field, TX- Experimental & Numerical Analysis. Quadrant Energy. $86397.00. Submitted 6/1/2014 (6/17/2014 - 3/17/2015). For Profit (company/corporation). Status: Funded
Understanding the Underlying Mechanisms of Low Salinity and Modified Salinity Water-Flooding Processes for Limestone Formations. Kansas Interdisciplinary Carbonates Consortium (KICC). $38018.00. (1/1/2014 - 12/31/2014). Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded
Reza Barati, PhD
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department
Service is another rewarding aspect of my job. The following summary highlights my service activities and their relationship to the overall goals of the units that I have served.
• C&PE Departmental:
o Serving in committees: by serving in committees such as the Undergraduate Petroleum Engineering Curriculum Committee, Undergraduate Student Support Committee, and Graduate Committee, my main objectives are to assure that 1. Our courses are updated with the needs of oil and gas industry and cover a variety of topics that can give our students a strong background. 2. Students are successful and we can help them resolve issues such as basic computer needs or getting them in touch with more companies when it comes to job search. 3. Graduate students with strong technical background are recruited.
o Renovation of the C&PE Petroleum Design computer lab: Dr. Paul Willhite and I led the renovation project of the computer lab in Sumer 2014. Our senior design class has been equipped with the state-of-the-art software used by the industry and the quality of our design work has improved because of this renovation. I have secured the donation of millions of dollars’ worth of software for this lab since then.
• School of Engineering:
o I have participated in SELF interviews for the school of engineering since 2015. In doing so, I have helped KU with recruiting some of the most talented students with strong leadership capabilities for the SELF prestigious fellowship.
o I have participated in the Honors Program since 2015 trying to encourage high quality senior high school students to attend the school of engineering and inform them about the Petroleum Engineering major so they can make the best possible decision for their future.
o Served as a judge for the university research poster competition since 2013, this acknowledges the high quality research work conducted by our graduate students at the university level.
• National and International:
o I founded KU’s SPE PetroBowl team and coached them in both national and international events since 2012. This has given our program and students a good deal of exposure. Our team has been selected as one of the top 4 teams in regional competitions twice.
o I was invited to serve as a member of the Steering Committee and a Session Chair for the SPE’s “Waterless Frac – Reducing Water use and the Future of Reservoir Stimulation in a Waterless World” forum (2017). This service will also expose our work on waterless fracturing to the industry and give an opportunity to discuss our work with esteemed researchers from industry.
o I organized the 12th International Symposium on Reservoir Wettability and its Effects on Oil Recovery at the Oread Hotel, Lawrence, KS on October 7-8 of 2015. Nearly 70 researchers attended the symposium, which drew visitors from as far away as China, Norway, France and Brazil. This was the first international Petroleum Engineering meeting hosted by KU.