News

Cullen College Grad Student Analyzes Oil Fractures, Wins SPE Best Paper Award

By: 

Laurie Fickman
Youssef El Waziry is representing UH internationally
Youssef El Waziry is representing UH internationally

Petroleum engineering Ph.D. student Youssef El Waziry nabbed first place in the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Gulf Coast North America regional student paper contest and is headed to represent UH and compete in the international contest.

El Waziry’s paper, “DFIT/MiniFrac Analysis of Hydraulically Fractured Dual-Porosity Formations” tells the story of how to analyze fractured rock to make sure no oil is left behind in the extraction process. It will be published by the SPE during the international convention.

During the traditional process of getting oil out of the ground, engineers study such things as reservoir pressure and permeability of underground formations to make sure the extraction is effective and efficient.

El Waziry has added something new to their analysis.

“Before they would analyze the tests but they didn’t have a solution if the reservoir was already hydraulically fractured, so we added hydraulic fracturing to their analysis,” said El Waziry. 

His post-fracking analysis will deliver information to engineers about which layer will deliver the most oil and which may not contain any oil at all. El Waziry uses software and math to determine how a reservoir will act over time.

“Based on the results I developed a technique that was applied in West Texas to analyze the data and it was successful,” said El Waziry, who earned his master’s degree at Texas Tech University in West Texas. At the time he studied under Mohamed Soliman, then a professor at Texas Tech who now serves as chair of the Cullen College’s petroleum engineering department. El Waziry said he was so impressed with Soliman he followed him to Houston, enrolling as a petroleum engineering doctoral student at UH.

“I couldn’t have done it without him,” El Waziry’s says of his mentor Soliman. El Waziry’s goal is to continue helping the world face critical oil and gas challenges.

“Technically what’s happening is that we’re producing, but sometimes we’re leaving a lot of oil behind. My goal is not to leave that oil behind, to make sure we’re using the right technology,” he said.

Department/Academic Programs: 

Related News Stories

UH, HCC partnering on Engineering Academy at Fraga campus

An exterior shot of the flags flying at the Houston Community College's Fraga Campus. The University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering and HCC will be partnering to create an Engineering Academy on the campus.

The University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering and Houston Community College have reached an agreement to offer UH Engineering Academy courses at the HCC Felix Fraga Academic Campus on the east side of Houston on Navigation Boulevard.

With Lithium in High Demand, UH Researcher Examines New Sources

Kyung Jae Lee, assistant professor of petroleum engineering, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation for $508,722 to contribute to the enhancement and diversification of the domestic supply of lithium.

As the energy transition motors on to reduce the use of fossil fuels, the need for lithium has grown exponentially over the past decade because lithium-ion energy storage (i.e., lithium-ion batteries) powers both electric vehicles and renewable solar and wind electricity generation.