Prediction of Petroleum Fluid Properties

Designed and taught by award-winning faculty from Rice's Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department for those engaged in the processing of petroleum fluids such as crude oil and gas mixtures found in Oil & Gas (O&G) exploration and production, this course explores exploiting the knowledge of physical principles to solve practical problems in the characterization of petroleum fluids. The physical principles and foundational understanding enable the effective characterization and effective production of O&G in a variety of geological and process conditions.

The objective of the course is to ground participants in the fundamentals of the reservoir fluids, as well as the state-of-the-art technologies employed. Through the understanding of physical and chemical fluid fundamentals and the geologies from which they are extracted, the practices and processes are analyzed to provide the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound approaches for sustainable transformative operations.

The format of this course includes lectures and problem-solving sessions, interspersed with ample opportunities for informal discussions with the instructors. Taught over a three-day period, this course includes a morning and afternoon session each day, coffee breaks and a lunch break between the morning and afternoon session.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
PENG1001.F18.1 S. Lisa Biswal, Walter G. Chapman, George J. Hirasaki, Philip M. Singer, Francisco Vargas On-campus 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Instructor: S. Lisa Biswal

Dr. S. Lisa Biswal is an associate professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Dr. Biswal joined the Rice University faculty in 2006. She was educated and trained at Caltech, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. Dr. Biswal’s research focuses on soft matter such as colloids, polymers, lipids, and surfactants. As part of this effort, Dr. Biswal uses microfluidic systems to study the complex multiphase flow and its impact on foam stability with applications in enhanced oil recovery. Her teaching interests are in areas of mass and energy balances, polymer physics, and transport phenomena.

Dr. Walter G. Chapman is the William W. Akers Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. He was educated at Clemson and Cornell University. Dr. Chapman’s research uses tools such as statistical mechanics, molecular simulation, computer visualization, and, NMR, to discover how material properties and structure depend on molecular forces. He is the developer of the highly cited statistical associating fluid theory (SAFT), a framework that allows one to develop physics-based equations of state for complex fluids. Dr. Chapman’s research program focuses on polymer solutions and blends, associating fluids, confined fluids, natural gas hydrates, and asphaltenes. 

Dr. George J. Hirasaki joined the Rice faculty after a 26-year career with Shell Development and Shell Oil Company. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Rice University. His research focuses on understanding surfactant and foam transport in porous media, wettability in petroleum systems, NMR for fluid and rock properties, and gas hydrates. Dr. Hirasaki is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Philip M. Singer holds an M.Sc. in physics from the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. in experimental physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he focused on NMR in strongly correlated systems. He then joined Schlumberger as a research scientist, where during his 10-year career he focused on NMR core and fluid analysis, for both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. He is currently a research scientist in the Hirasaki research group at Rice University focusing on NMR in organic-rich shale.

Dr. Francisco “Paco” Vargas is a Louis Owen assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. He was educated and trained at Monterrey Tech, and at Rice University. Dr. Vargas worked for the Petroleum Institute for 3 years, during which time he was also the manager for the Flow Assurance R&D Program of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Dr. Vargas has also worked for the Flow Assurance Team of Chevron Energy Technology Company in Houston and for Deepstar, a joint industry technology development project supported by a number of oil companies. His research is focused on developing innovative experimental approaches and simulation tools to understand and predict the structure, phase behavior and thermodynamic and transport properties of complex fluids, at high temperatures and pressures. A major component of his current research program is dedicated to finding solutions to major flow assurance problems in the oil industry, such as asphaltene deposition.

Term: Fall 2018

Start Date: Aug. 14, 2018

End Date: Aug. 16, 2018

Schedule: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Length: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $2,250 (Group discounts are available. Please contact us at or 713-348-6167 for more information.)

Rice alumni/faculty/staff: $2,025

CEUs: 1.8

Note: This course is not currently accepting registrations. Please select VIEW CURRENT OFFERINGS to browse additional Professional Development offerings.

+ Petroleum engineers

+ Petrophysical engineers

+ Process engineers

+ Facilities engineers

+ Reservoir engineers

+ Design engineers

+ Geologists

+ Production chemists

+ Flow assurance specialists

+ Laboratory technicians

+ Project managers

+ Engineering contractors

+ Anyone who is interested in learning about the characterization of petroleum fluids using modern modeling and experimental techniques

Note: Knowledge of phase equilibrium thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and physical chemistry at the bachelor’s level is desirable but not required. 

+ Basic principles of the thermodynamics of mixtures with emphasis on advanced modeling techniques

+ Modeling of phase behavior using cubic equations of state and advanced molecular-based models such as the SAFT equation of state

+ Interpretation of PVT experiments such as Constant Composition Expansion, Differential Liberation, Flash Separation, and Swell-tests

+ Applications to the water content of hydrocarbons and to asphaltene phase behavior

+ Leading edge experimental and simulation approaches to characterize petroleum fluids, specifically, microfluidics-based approaches to characterize fluids, especially to visualize foam transport in models with permeability contrasts, fractures, and multiple phases

+ NMR logging of in situ fluids and discussion of recent developments integrating atomistic molecular simulations

+ NMR measurements to enhance the interpretation of NMR logs

+ Hands-on calculation examples

+ Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University

Course Coordinators

Dr. Dilip Asthagiri is the director of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering master’s program at Rice University. He is also a lecturer in the department and a senior research scientist in Dr. Chapman’s research group. Dr. Asthagiri received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware for his research on protein solution thermodynamics. He did his postdoctoral research at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), New Mexico. Dr. Asthagiri’s research is in statistical physics of soft matter and liquids, especially theory and modeling of aqueous phase physics and chemistry. Together with Dr. Singer, he leads the effort to integrate computer simulations and measurements for the interpretation of NMR relaxation of hydrocarbons in shale gas/oil systems.

Dr. Michael S. Wong is professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. He was educated and trained at Caltech, MIT, and UCSB before arriving at Rice University in 2001. His research program broadly addresses chemical engineering problems using the tools of materials chemistry, with a particular interest in energy and environmental applications. Current research activities include studying catalysis to clean water and developing chemocatalytic tools to upgrade petroleum. He is the research leader on multifunctional nanomaterials in the NSF-funded NEWT (Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment) Engineering Research Center.

Rice staff/faculty/alumni are eligible for a 10 percent discount.

Financial assistance information can be found on Rice Financial Aid's Visiting and Continuing Education Students page.