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IIT Roorkee establishes state of the art ‘Rock and Fluid Multi Physics Laboratory’ to aid in Efforts of Energy Resource Exploration in the Country

It can handle characterization challenges of the oil and gas reservoir in routine and complex formations including the hydrates and geothermal systems & carry out carbon utilization and storage feasibility studies

(Figure 1) Dr. V. K. Saraswat inaugurating the Rock & Fluid Multiphysics Laboratory in the Department of Earth Sciences, IIT Roorkee. 


Roorkee, 3rd October 2022: Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) in its pursuit to lead the future by providing cutting-edge science and technology solutions took another big leap when it opened up a state-of-the-art laboratory named ‘Rock & Fluid Multiphysics Laboratory’.

The lab was inaugurated by Padma Bhushan Dr. Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Honorable Member, NITI Aayog in the august presence of Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, Prof. Manoranjan Parida, Deputy Director, IIT Roorkee, and Prof. Akshay Dwivedi, Dean SRIC, IIT Roorkee. Prof. Manika Prasad, Colorado School of Mines, USA, along with Prof. Anand Joshi, Head Earth Sciences, and other respected faculty colleagues of IIT Roorkee and students also graced the inaugural ceremony (Figure 1).

This lab hosts some of the cutting-edge tools and technologies in the domain of Applied Geoscience and Petroleum Engineering. It can facilitate Multiphysics and multiscale experiments and create feasibility models for increasing the success rates of the exploration and development targets of energy companies in their efforts to successfully exploit conventional and unconventional energy resources.

The laboratory has a Low-Frequency System (Figure 2) that provides dynamic estimates of the seismic rock property response in the range of 0.1 Hz to 3000 Hz, under insitu conditions. This simulates the insitu reservoir under hydrostatic assumptions. The Pseudo Triaxial Setup provides the static (0 Hz) estimates of the elastic and the associated geo-mechanical attributes in the formations of mineral deposits under more realistic subsurface conditions.

In addition to these seismic domain investigations, the laboratory is also capable of making an observation in the resistivity domains using economic and non-destructive techniques like spectral induced polarization (SIP) measurements and the cation exchange capacity (CEC) measurements. This Multiphysics approach to understanding the physical processes of rock & fluid and their interactions in the laboratory and helps a great deal in upscaling the observations to understand the field measurements.

Given the complexity of the subsurface in terms of its constituents and environment, the energy resource can be extremely challenging to identify and characterize. The key is to unlock the precious energy resources held in these rocks using a Multiphysics approach where the constraints from each physics principle help in getting a fully converging solution with the least uncertainty. The Rock and Fluid Multi-physics laboratory at IIT Roorkee is well equipped to fulfill this role.

This lab can handle characterization challenges of the oil and gas reservoir in routine (more homogeneous and good permeability) and complex (very heterogeneous and poor permeability) formations including the hydrates and the geothermal systems. The lab can also carry out carbon utilization and storage feasibility studies for formations such as shales, organic-rich resources, carbonates, coals, saline aquifers, coals, and volcanic rocks. Hence, this lab can prove to be of significant value addition in helping the geoscientist and petroleum engineers in having an insight into the physical processes happening inside the earth and make well-constrained decisions with minimum possible uncertainty.

Prof. Ravi Sharma, Ph.D., In-charge, Rock and Fluid Multi-physics Laboratory, IIT Roorkee, highlighted, "In the laboratory, we simultaneously experiment with rock physics modeling to investigate the multi-physical properties of rocks, fluids and their interactions at benchtop and in-situ condition. It is very challenging to invert for the subsurface properties but the critical feasibility models from this laboratory can help reduce the uncertainty to understand the potential of oil & gas, hydrates, and geothermal resources."

Dr. Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog, said, State of the art laboratory like these fits very well into the dynamics of the challenges associated with exploration and development of energy resources hosted in the complex subsurface formation. This laboratory would also be a significant boost to the efforts of carbon sequestration and a good understanding of the associated implications with the help of feasibility models created in the lab. My best wishes to Prof. Sharma and hope to see some field applicable solutions coming out from the laboratory in near future.”

Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, said, The Rock and Fluid Multi-physics Laboratory at IIT Roorkee is ideally located near the Himalayan Mountain ranges and very close to the headquarters of ONGC. This lab will significantly contribute to the petroleum engineering profession, groundwater exploration and resource characterization. This will help towards a sustainable approach in energy exploration.”

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