Compositional Simulation of Heavy Oil Production with Steam and Solvent

This PhD project, sponsored by ExxonMobil, is aimed to answer the phase equilibrium related challenges in compositional reservoir simulation of heavy oil production with steam and solvent.

The goal of the research is to investigate the effects of complex phase equilibrium on simulation of steam/solvent injection by use of advanced equation of state (EoS) models. EoS models provide a more rigorous way to describe partition of components in different phases than the commonly employed K-values approach.

Calculation of phase equilibrium and phase properties by an EoS is more accurate and thermodynamically consistent. Considering that heavy oil/steam/solvent systems are characterized by presence of associating compounds (water), high contrast in component properties, and high temperature, we plan to test two types of advanced EoS models: the SAFT (Statistical Associating Fluid Theory)-type EoS models and the cubic EoS models coupled with advanced mixing rules.

The study will consist of three major steps. First, phase equilibrium modeling of heavy oil/steam/solvent systems will be performed by using advanced EoS models and relevant experimental data for well-defined mixtures and real oil mixtures. Second, the advanced EoS models will be implemented into a simulator platform. Finally, the simulator with the advanced EoS models will be used to perform a series of simulations to investigate the effects of advanced EoS models on the simulation outcome. For the last two steps, development of more efficient algorithms to reduce calculation time of stability analysis is an important issue.

The PhD project will be among the first attempts to implement advanced equations of state into compositional reservoir simulators. It will reveal the advantages and limitations of using the advanced equations of state in simulation of heavy oil production with steam and solvent. Improvement in the algorithm efficiency will facilitate the acceptance of more advanced EoS models in compositional reservoir simulation.

Supervisor: Prof. Erling H.Stenby,

co-supervisor: Senior Researcher Wei Yan:

co-supervior: Prof.. Emeritus: Michael L. Michelsen,




Duncan Paterson
DTU Chemistry


Erling Halfdan Stenby
Head of Department
DTU Chemistry
+45 45 25 20 12


Wei Yan
Senior Researcher
DTU Chemistry


Michael Locht Michelsen
DTU Chemical Engineering
+45 45 25 28 65