Petrophysics and Geomechanics

Petrophysics is the study of the physics of rocks and is particularly interested in how the microstructures of these porous media affect their mechanical, electrical, thermal, fluid flow and sonic properties. 

We concentrate on five principal areas of research in the University of Leeds Petrophysics Laboratory:

  • The electrical properties of rocks.
    • Our expertise is in modelling and developing fundamental theory in this area. Recent breakthroughs have included the generalisation of Archie’s law and the unification of the cementation and saturation experiments, the measurements of the most accurate steady-state electrokinetic measurements and the development of methodologies for measuring frequency-dependent streaming potential coefficients. These techniques help us develop methods for imaging the subsurface remotely.
  • Nanoparticle-based enhanced oil recovery.
    • We collaborate with the School of Chemical and Process Engineering to study how production from existing reservoirs can be significantly improved by using nanoparticles to mobilise the remaining oil by modifying the internal characteristics of the reservoir. These techniques have the potential for making existing hydrocarbon resources last at least 20% longer and result in significant mitigation of environmental damage.
  • The microstructural and flow properties of gas shales.
    • This new project, in collaboration with the School of Chemical and Process Engineering and UK-based hydrocarbon companies, studies the interplay between prostate, connectivity and fluid flow involved in the production of gas from very low permeability shales through fractures. Experimental measurements and modelling are being undertaken to discover methods for the optimisation of gas production.
  • Carbonate petrophysics.
    • Over half of the world’s hydrocarbon resources are in carbonate reservoirs, and many of these are of low permeability. This project is concerned with the understanding of the microstructures of carbonate reservoirs and the processes involved in their creation, as well as linking those microstructures to judgements of reservoir quality for the improvement of hydrocarbon production. Research is highly experimental but has also resulted in new methods for predicting fluid flow in tight carbonate reservoirs.
  • Advanced fractal reservoir modelling.
    • This research explores the new idea that reservoir models based on fractal mathematics might improve on conventional reservoir modelling approaches. We have successfully achieved a full reservoir modelling approach with this new method.

Our facilities include research grade porosimeter and permeameter, an apparatus for measuring the steady-state streaming potential coefficients of rock cores, apparatuses for measuring both the steady-state and frequency-dependent streaming potential of rock cores and unconsolidated aggregates, and an impedance spectrometer. The advanced nature of the experimental measurements carried out in petrophysics laboratory has required that most of the laboratory equipment has been designed and built in-house to exacting standards.

Further information

View all members of our research group, our recent projects and publications.

PhD projects

We have opportunities for prospective postgraduate researchers. Find out more.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail please contact the Research Group Lead: Professor Paul Glover