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New EERC Employee: Dr. Jose Torres

The EERC is pleased to welcome Dr. José Torres to the Reservoir Engineering Group. As a Senior Reservoir Engineer – Unconventional Reservoirs, José works to resolve the advanced challenges of unconventional reservoirs related to production mechanisms and CO2enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in tight reservoir rocks, CO2 storage, high-volume brine disposal, and advanced reservoir-monitoring techniques.

José’s areas of expertise include reservoir simulation, production mechanisms and EOR for unconventional reservoirs, fluid flow in porous media, and thermodynamics of reservoir fluids.  He is particularly interested in the technology development of oil recovery and carbon sequestration processes.

José earned his Ph.D. degree in Chemical and Process Engineering from Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain, and his Reservoir Engineering Specialist and Chemical Engineer degrees from Universidad Simόn Bolίvar in Caracas, Venezuela.

José comes to the EERC from ConocoPhillips in Houston, Texas, where he served as a Senior Reservoir Engineer/Technology Engineer for conducting and supervising original research projects to improve the understanding of production from unconventional reservoirs, interpreting physical phenomena involved in fluid flow in porous media, and conceptualizing mathematical models and designing algorithms for reservoir performance evaluation. Previously, José held the position of Research Engineer at the applied research unit “Open and Experimental Centre for Heavy Oil,” a partnership between Adera and the University of Pau, France, sponsored by TOTAL. There, he developed simulation workflows and numerical studies to improve the understanding of novel recovery processes.

As a native of Caracas, José grew up with the oil and gas industry all around him, including an important petroleum technology center, so he and his friends were all on STEM career paths early. High school piqued his interest in research and development. His curiosity was captivated by chemical processes in college, and work afterward exposed him to “some fascinating reservoir engineering problems” found at the very beginning of the Orinoco Belt development.

“At that moment, I discovered that my background as a chemical engineer may help to find new ways to think about technical challenges in reservoir engineering,” José said.

About his new work with EERC projects in the unconventional oil fields of the Bakken Formation, José said, “Once again in my career, I have found very interesting work assignments related to fascinating reservoir engineering challenges found in the beginning of field development. Many factors are still not well understood, such as the influence of small pores in the thermodynamics of reservoir fluids, the flow effects due to the presence of fractures, and the interaction of coupled mechanisms occurring simultaneously. All of these factors make unconventional reservoirs very interesting to someone curious to understand how nature works. Having the ability to think out-of-the-box has been instrumental to finding effective technologies,” José said.

“In particular, the Bakken is a vast natural resource that opens new doors to generate a positive impact on society,” José continued. “As an engineer, my final goal is to invent efficient and environmentally friendly processes to enable sustainable progress. Working with unconventional reservoirs allows me to work on topics that I am passionate about, knowing that I can help give back some benefit to society.”

Happily married with a 12-year-old boy and a 10-month-old girl, José says most of his time outside of work is spent with his family, going to local parks or nature areas and watching European soccer and movies that can help with the kids' education.