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Hard-to-recover hydrocarbons department focuses on the development of technological solutions and software addressing the increase of the production efficiency of oil and gas fields. The developed software products are based on modern scientific approaches and are designed to give the optimal solutions of up-to-date industrial problems. The developed modules include the calculation core to simulate the key processes (for example, multiphase flow), and a set of engineering tools aiming towards solution of specific applied problems: preparation, analysis and interpretation of data, optimization tasks for selecting the development method, technological and control parameters, etc.

Employees of the department have strong competencies in physics, applied mathematics, programming, oil and gas engineering.

Head of the department: Dmitry Mitrushkin.

Main areas:

  • Reservoir modeling
  • Geomechanical modeling
  • Optimization of field facilities network


Main developments


Major projects:

The department implements large projects as a part of consortium with leading universities and specialized research institutes:

Reservoir simulator on PEBI-grids

The Engineering Center developed a reservoir simulator and a set of tools for reservoir engineering, including history matching and optimization.

Basic features:

  • Three-phase three-component three-dimensional flow model (BlackOil) with phase transition of hydrocarbon components
  • Accounting for gravitational, viscous and capillary forces, various models of aquifers
  • Calculation on Corner Point grid
  • Support of ECLIPSE dataset format
  • Group control of wells, including flood pattern
  • Calculation of single and dual media models
  • Parallel calculations on multi-core processors
  • User interface with tools for visualization of input data and calculation results


Additional features that distinguish the simulator from existing commercial counterparts:

  • Calculation on adaptive dynamic PEBI grids accounting for structural features (wells, faults, fracturing)
  • Automatic local grid refinement of Corner Point meshes using nested Octree grids
  • Loading of the fracture model in the DFN format
  • Loading of real fracture geometry from fracture simulators/ frac-lists
  • The direct calculation of the inflow and the flow inside hydraulic fractures (taking into account its real geometry)
  • Accounting for deviation from the Darcy law for low-permeability reservoirs (critical pressure gradient)
  • Accounting for dependence of permeability on pressure
  • Accounting for clays swelling during water injection
  • Gas diffusion and desorption


Engineering tools:

  • Generator of reservoir model, automated tools for building the PEBI grid
  • Module for lateral and vertical upscaling, including generation of proxy models
  • Module for modeling and interpreting of dynamic well test, including horizontal wells with multi-stage fracturing
  • Module for automated history matching of reservoir models to the exploitation history and the results of dynamic well tests
  • The module for automated selection of interventions (fracturing, branching, well switching) and compaction of the well grid with justification of the activities effectiveness


Example of PEBI-grid near horizontal wells with
multistage fracturing and a fault 
   Example of Octree-grid near SRV
(Stimulated Reservoir Volume)




Specialized reservoir simulator for multiphase flow modeling in fractured and fractured-porous reservoirs

Based on the reservoir simulator, a specialized version has been developed with features:

  • Import/generation of 3D intersecting fractures system (DFN model) using the results of core microtomography, FMI.
  • The direct calculation of the flow inside fractures system
  • Accounting for capillary forces, rock wettability, non-uniform fracture aperture
  • Numerical modeling of experiment of displacement process in the core sample, matching to the results of laboratory experiments
  • Full absolute and relative permeability tensor computation to take into account reservoir anisotropy
  • Scaling of absolute and relative permeability from a core to a cell of a reservoir model
  • Data preprocessing for simulation within single and dual media flow models



  • Increasing the reliability of the DFN model
  • Estimation of the unknown parameters of the fractured medium (wettability, geometry, roughness, absolute and relative permeability)
  • Improving the prediction ability of reservoir models due to the use of the results of laboratory and borehole studies for determination of reservoir properties
  • The integration of software tools into the workflow of creating/updating reservoir models employed in the oil and gas company


Steady-state multiphase flow modeling in a gathering system

Features of the software for gathering system design and steady-state multiphase flow modeling are similar to those implemented in the PIPESIM software. Additionally, it is possible to work with mine surveying data for automatic loading of the topography; convenient tools are added for switching the representation of network from a graph to real geographic coordinates.

Basic functionality:

  • The constructor of a gathering system; linking against topography from mine surveying data
  • Switching the representation of network from a graph to real geographic coordinates
  • Two-phase and three-phase steady-state flow modeling
  • Various flow models: annular, bubble, distributed bubble, divided, cork
  • Accounting for arbitrary network topology (not necessarily a tree), including cycles
  • Convenient interactive 2D and 3D visualizers


  • Network balancing
  • Identification of problematic sections in the existing pipeline (clogging, leakage, unphysical pressure drop)
  • Optimization of flow regimes in a gathering system

Non-stationary multiphase non-isothermal flow modeling in wells

This software is designed to calculate flow in wellbore of a complex structure and is a link between a reservoir and a gathering system.

Basic functionality:

  • Model of three-phase three-component non-isothermal unsteady flow in the wellbore (drift flux model)
  • Multi-segment well model
  • Coupling with reservoir simulator
  • Accounting for facilities (ESP, separator, etc.)
  • Accounting for complex non-stationary fluid rheology (hydraulic fracturing fluid)
  • Accounting for proppant solid particles transport
  • Modeling of flow stabilization in well
  • Optimization parameters of the borehole intermittent flow (ESP, gaslift)


Integrated flow modeling in the system "reservoir – well – gathering system - flood pattern"

Full coupling of flow simulators in the reservoir, well and the gathering system for an integrated modeling and complex optimization of field development

Complex optimization of field facilities network at the stage of conceptual design

Unique development of the MIPT Center for engineering and technology for optimization of well pad clustering, well trajectories and a gathering system within the framework of a single optimization problem. As a result, a digital model of the field development is created, corresponding to the minimum CAPEX and taking into account the specified technological and regulatory constraints, the drilling and production plan.

Addressable problems:

  • The joint solution of optimization problems: optimal well pad clustering, drilling and pipe network optimization
  • Estimation of optimum amount of well pads and wells in pads
  • Estimation of optimum well pad pivoting angle
  • Estimation of optimum drilling order
  • Optimization of drilling trajectories
  • Generation of pipe network with optimal topology
  • Integration with the existing gathering system
  • Selection of optimal pipe diameters
  • Multiphase flow calculations for pipeline network balancing
  • Generation of digital model of the field development


Inputs and constraints:

  • Location of geological objectives
  • Existing gathering system and the areas for new branches
  • Technological well constraints (number of sections, angle, length, facilities installation areas, etc.)
  • Geological structure of the reservoir, geomechanical properties, drilling rates
  • Wells crossing risks
  • Map with limitations or prohibitions on pipeline laying, the cost of pipeline segments
  • The cost of mobilization / demobilization of the drilling rig, engineering preparation and arrangement of pads
  • Drilling schedule, proposed well operation modes, fluid properties


  • Reduction of CAPEX
  • Estimation of the construction and the justification cost for making investment and technical decisions
  • Digital model of the field development
  • Significant reduction in design time
  • Reduction of the human factor due to automatic consideration of a large number of parameters and limitations
  • Reengineering of the existing gathering system


Modeling of multi-stage hydraulic fracturing

The software is a hydraulic fracturing simulator based on cell-based Pseudo 3D fracture model.

The software is intended to simulate the geometric characteristics of fractures, determine the proppant supported geometry, and also to analyze and assess the risks of possible complications during hydraulic fracturing. The results of fracture modeling (fracture geometry and conductivity distribution) can be used in a reservoir simulator (developed by MIPT Center for engineering and technology) to assess the inflow to the fracture.

Basic functionality:

  • Calculation of hydraulics in the wellbore (multiphase flow of n liquids and m proppants, taking into account the compressibility of the non-Newtonian rheology fluid)
  • Calculation of fracture geometry and flow of a mixture of liquid and proppant (cell-based Pseudo 3D model; homogeneous multiphase model of mass transfer of a mixture, non-stationary leakage into the formation, modeling of crack closure)
  • Modeling of multistage fracturing (calculation of local change of stress-strain state near fractures, calculation of simultaneous fractures within one stage of fracturing)
  • Interactive graphical user interface for data loading, visualization of calculation results, analysis of actual PRC curves and well logging.


  • Calculation of geometry and conductivity of hydraulic fractures
  • Analysis of technological risks taking into account available data and existing limitations
  • Solution of optimization problems of improving the efficiency of multi-stage hydraulic fracturing technology


Example of fracture geometry (cell-based Pseudo 3D model)
a) hydraulic geometry;   b) proppant-fixed geometry

"Cyber fracturing" – Development of the industrial hydraulic fracturing simulator

The project is part of the Federal program "Research and development on priority directions of scientific and technological complex of Russia for 2014-2020» (№426 from May 21, 2013) from October 2017 tillDecember 2019

(Agreement No. 14.581.21.0027 of October 3, 2017)

Goal: Development and pilot testing of complex software which includes calculation modules for modeling of geomechanical and flow processes during fracturing and a set of engineering modules for monitoring, analysis, optimization and increasing the efficiency of fracturing operations in hard-to-recover formations.


  • Development of physico-mathematical models describing geomechanical and technological processes associated with fracturing
  • Implementation of calculation modules in the software complex
  • Development of a common user interface for a modular software suite
  • Development of modules for engineering analysis, control and optimization of fracturing
  • Population of databases (fracturing fluids, proppant, acid compositions, production columns and completion elements)
  • Experimental and industrial use of the developed software

Consortium members:

  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology - Consortium leader
  • Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
  • M.A. Lavrentyev Institute of Hydrodynamics RAS
  • Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University
  • MIPT Center for engineering and technology
  • Industrial partner - Gazpromneft Science & Technology Centre

The use of the simulator in the workflow of hydraulic fracturing:

Key features of the project:

  • Cyber fracturing - A comprehensive software product for solving the entire list of tasks of the workflow
  • The project unites leading scientific teams that have significant groundwork and necessary competences
  • Modern software development approaches are applied
  • A hierarchy of models is to be developed (from simplified semi-analytical to fully three-dimensional)
  • The simulator under development to pass all the necessary stages of testing, verification and validation
  • The project is focused on industrial implementation of production results to meet the technological challenges in development of hard-to-recover formations