PhD scholarship: Near well bore formation damage by produced water reinjection – microfluidics and core floods

Updated: 24 days ago

The Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre (DHRTC), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), invites applicants for a PhD position on produced water re-injection and its impact on near well bore damage. This position is part of a larger project portfolio relating to management of produced water from Danish North Sea Chalk reservoirs. DHRTC was established by the Danish Underground Consortium and DTU in 2014 as part of a national strategy for energy, the research Centre is an ambitious, targeted effort to improve recovery of hydrocarbons from the Danish North Sea sector. DHRTC has initiated a research program with a focus on solutions to the ambition of zero harmful discharge through improved produced water management.  The solutions developed in this program will target industrial and environmental challenges with produced water management and be more generally applicable to water treatment technology, geothermal energy and subsurface storage technologies. The advertised PhD project is a close collaboration between the Ugelstad Laboratory at NTNU, Norway and DHRTC.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The oil industry produces large volumes of water along with the hydrocarbons (gas and oil), and in many cases the volumes of produced water exceeds the volume of water. Sustainable disposal of this contaminated water is a great challenge for the industry, however on fields where the wells are operated with seawater injection an alternative disposal method can be re-injection of the produced water. The major challenges with injectivity decline and formation damage during produced water re-injection are observed in the near wellbore region. Deposits of emulsions, bacteria, production chemicals, oil components, scale and corrosion products are formed at the reservoir rock surfaces and will reduce the injectivity of produced water and seawater, containing dispersed components like solids and droplets. The main goal of the project is to investigate the optimization of the water composition for re-injection in chalk reservoirs by core flooding and filter cake studies to identify the effects and main causes of injectivity loss, well bore damage and skin formation. The experimental work will be carried out in core flooding experimental set-ups running at reservoir conditions with the possibility of varying temperature and pressure. The core material for core plugs will be chosen from available drill core material from the Danish North Sea. The core flooding experiments will also be performed with in situ X-ray computed micro-tomography monitoring using the micro-CT system at DHRTC to study the penetration of deposits into the core material. The characterization of additives in real produced water samples will be carried out by chemical analysis in close collaboration with ongoing analytical studies in the Produced Water program and the flooding experiments will be carried out in parallel with a PhD study at NTNU, Norway on microfluidic experiments where different fluid compositions can be tested in detail in functionalized microfluidic systems prior to planning the large scale core flooding experiments.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in environmental or analytical chemistry, chemical engineering, petroleum engineering or similar fields.

You must also have

  • Exceptional skills and interest in environmental and chemical engineering.
  • Experience with and interest in environmental science and water treatment;
  • Experience with high pressure flow systems and core flooding;
  • Experience with analytical chemistry of water samples (e.g. by IC, ICP-OES) is an advantage;
  • A strong interest in applied research;
  • The ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English;

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide .

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Karen Feilberg, email: ,  tel.: +45 9351420.

You can read about the scientific basis for the centre’s activities here:

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .

Please submit your online application no later than 20April 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

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