Reservoir Physics and Chemistry (GEO502)

Exploiting sedimentary rock reservoirs for water supply, waste storage, or hydrocarbon production in a sustainable an energy-efficient way requires a good understanding of the chemistry and physics of the phases involved. Understanding reservoirs is the key to manage, maintain and increase the storage capacity or reserves. Definition of reservoir rocks, their properties and the pressure, volume, and temperature (PVT) conditions that affect their fluids is part of the basic knowledge that both geoscientists and engineers need to confront daily in the industry. This course introduces geological, physical, and chemical processes that control the pressure, volume and temperature (PVT) conditions, which in turn affects the properties of rocks and pore fluids at subsurface reservoir conditions.

Carbon dioxide injection is used for reducing greenhouse emissions. Gas and water injection is common for pressure support and improved displacement of hydrocarbons from reservoirs. The reactive species in the injection fluid could cause dissolution or precipitation of minerals or salts in the injection well, near the wellbore zone, and further into the reservoir. This affects the performance of production wells, influence the rock formation strength/stability, fluid permeability, and reservoir wettability, which controls hydrocarbon recovery. Good knowledge about reservoir chemistry can minimize problems related to reduction in injectivity and productivity, and at the same time optimize the storage capacity or recovery potential from reservoirs.

This course addresses the chemical properties of each phase in the reservoir, Mineral, Water, Gas, and/or hydrocarbon, their chemical and physical interactions, and how this can affect physical flow properties, and the integrity of the reservoir for optimized reservoir management.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


Course code




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Semester tution start


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This course covers:

  • Brine and rock chemistry
  • Reservoir mineralogy
  • PVT properties of brines, hydrocarbons and inorganic gasses
  • Interactions between reservoir minerals and fluids
  • Reservoir wettability
  • Fluid flow in porous media
  • Wettability alteration processes for optimized fluid flow in Reservoirs

Learning outcome


After completing the course, students should know:

  • the different elements and processes that lead to the formation of porous reservoir traps, and the charging of pore fluids, brine, gas, or hydrocarbons in the subsurface.
  • Porous reservoirs contain several phases: minerals, formation water, gas, and liquid hydrocarbons. The students should know chemical terms and definitions related to minerals and mineral surfaces, and the chemistry of the pore fluids, water, gas, and hydrocarbons.
  • Basic knowledge about the type of pore fluids, and the behavior of the fluids in the reservoir, through production and process systems.
  • Knowledge related to liquid-liquid and liquid-solid interactions, and an increased understanding of the factors/parameters that influence mineral surface charges, mineral dissolution, and the integrity of the reservoir during operations.
  • Knowledge related to Crude oil - Brine- Rock (CoBR) interactions dictating initial reservoir wettability
  • how fluid flow in porous media is controlled by wettability and how chemical induced wettability alteration processes could optimize oil recovery by e.g. Smart Water injection.


After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the behavior of the reservoir mineral and fluid phases.
  • Calculation of storage capacity of waste fluids in reservoirs, or in place reserves based on petrophysical, and production/test data.
  • Perform representative sampling of reservoir fluids for compositional and PVT analysis.
  • Conduct experimental techniques for compositional and PVT analysis in the laboratory.
  • Use compositional and PVT simulation tools for reservoir and production-fluid property calculations.
  • Do simple calculations within water chemistry, use the geochemical modelling tools to investigate compatibility between formation and injection fluids, phase interactions between brines and minerals effecting mineral dissolution and precipitation, and report these observations.
  • Evaluate reservoir wettability, and evaluate the potential for chemical wettability alteration to improve Oil recovery
  • Communicate the chemical and physical knowledge in a good and straightforward way.

General competence:

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Communicate and explain to industry and society how reservoir fluids systems work with respect to pressure, volume, and temperature.
  • Describe how the reservoir phases could interact with injection fluids during reservoir operations.
  • Evaluate the potential for waste fluid storage, injection, and production of fluids in a sustainable way without affecting the reservoir integrity during operations.
  • Design optimal and environmentally responsible solutions for the utilization of reservoirs in the subsurface

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 4 Hours Letter grades Standard calculator

Written pen and paper exam

Coursework requirements

Mandatory assignments

The following repports must be approved in order to have access to the final exam.

  • Project report; Laboratory exercises in PVT analysis of reservoir fluids.
  • Project report; Brine chemistry and geochemical interactions

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Skule Strand

Study Program Director:

Lisa Jean Watson

Study Adviser:

Karina Sanni

Method of work

The course includes lectures, excercises, and laboratory practices.

6 hours per week with organized lectures and problem solving.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
PVT of Petroleum Reservoirs and Fluids (PET500_1) 5
Reservoir Chemistry (PET570_1) 5

Open for

Admission to Single Courses at the Faculty of Science and Technology
Energy, Reservoir and Earth Sciences - Master of Science Degree Programme Petroleum Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme Petroleum Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme, Five Years
Exchange programme at Faculty of Science and Technology

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto