Logo: University of Southern California

Iraj Ershaghi

Omar B. Milligan Professor
Director of Petroleum Engineering

Research Topics

  • Naturally fractured reservoirs
  • Pressure transient modeling
  • Reservoir characterization and compartmentalized systems
  • Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources
  • Smart Oilfield Technologies 
  • Honors and Awards

  • Member, National Academy of Engineering (elected 2014)
  • USC Viterbi School Senior Researcher Award (2014)
  • SPE/AIME Honorary Member Medal (2014)
  • SPE John Franklin Carll Award (2010)
  • USC School of Engineering, Distinguished Service Award (2010)
  • SPE North America Western Region, Reservoir Description and Dynamic Award (2007)
  • SPE Technology Transfer Award for Development of the Smart Oilfield Technology Curriculum (2006)
  • SPE Western North America Distinguished Service Award (2005)
  • Outstanding Educator Award, Orange County Council of Engineers and Scientist (2003)
  • Outstanding Educator Award, American Association for Advancement of Engineering (2003)
  • Fellow Institute for Advancement of Engineering (2002)
  • USC School of Engineering, Distinguished Service Award (1996)
  • SPE, Distinguished Member Award (1996)
  • SPE, Distinguished Faculty Award (1983)
  • Research Overview

    Conditioning of Stochastic Reservoir Models with Performance Data 

    Simulations of transport processes in complex geological structure require detailed microlamination studies and inter-flow unit characterization. Synergistic approaches to combine signals from pressure transients and performance data for correlation of geological markers are being developed. Heterogeneities in subterranean reservoirs associated with faults need to be characterized. Multiple interference tests can potentially provide a significant insight into lateral and vertical communications. Predictive models are being developed to examine the impact of fault zones in terms of their transmissivities on pressure transient tests. Various conceptual models should be scrutinized to minimize the non-uniqueness of the predictive process.

    Geostatistical Methods 
    Techniques are being developed for short to long range characterization of flow units using stochastic modeling of reservoir response. Geostatistical models are developed for a variety of sedimentation processes. Studies are in progress to model discontinuities commonly observed in turbidite series. A combination of sequence stratigraphy, geological modeling, and geostatistical technique are necessary to examine discontinuity of flow units and crossflow across such units. A major concern in stochastic modeling of subterranean reservoirs is history matching methods that can capture the essence of various geological realization models. Without an effective dynamic programming approach, the process can become computationally cumbersome. Complexity of the problem becomes more intense when finely girded structures are selected to represent detail flow unit heterogeneities. Studies are underway to develop methodologies for addressing the history matching for stochastic models.

    Fractured Reservoirs
    Multi-phase flow and pressure transient response characteristics of complex fractured rocks are being investigated. Improvements for scale-up processes of laboratory-derived pseudo-properties to large scale networks of fracture are being developed. Process related recovery issues are examined for systems exhibiting multiple porosity behaviors. Interporosity characteristics of tight rocks are being examined for various system properties. Predictive techniques are being developed for recovery processes in fractured systems under the influence of steam, solvent, and low tension floods.

    Well Productivity Improvement
    Studies are underway to develop effective methods for augmenting lift mechanisms in low pressure reservoirs. Initial studies are focused on low pressure gas reservoirs as affected by liquid loading.

    Integrated Asset Mangement
    Collaborative studies are underway addressing the issues related to data mining of massive data from continuously recorded sensors, asset component definition and diagnostics for detection of reservoir flow units.

    Most Recent Publications

    Rezapour, A., Ortega, A., & Ershaghi, I. (2015, April 27). Reservoir Waterflooding System Identification and Model Validation with Injection/Production Rate Fluctuations. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/174052-MS

    Tehrani, N. F., & Ershaghi, I. (2015, April 27). Common Sense Reconditioning Experiences with Idle Wells in California. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/174030-MS

    Sharifi, M., Yao, K.-T., Raghavendra, S., Ershaghi, I., House, R., & Blouin, J. (2015, April 27). Prediction of Remaining Life in Pipes using Machine Learning from Thickness Measurements. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/173995-MS

    Korjani, M. M., Mendel, J. M., & Ershaghi, I. (2015, April 27). A Predictive Model for Improving the Efficiency of Frac Jobs. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/174058-MS

    Tafti, T., Ershaghi, I., Rezapour, A., & Ortega, A. (2013, April 19). Injection Scheduling Design for Reduced Order Waterflood Modeling. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/165355-MS

    Paul, D. L., Asaithambi, R., Ershaghi, I., Crompton, J., & Gautier, D. (2015, April 27). Energy Security in the Los Angeles Basin: A New Look at an Old Treasure. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/174029-MS

    Sarna, A., Xing, Q., Mork, J., & Ershaghi, I. (2014, April 17). Impact of Fracture Closure on Productivity Decline of Unconventional Wells. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/169590-MS

    Qi, Q., Zhang, Q., & Ershaghi, I. (2014, April 17). Complexities Associated with Thermal Stimulation of Low Gravity Oil Sand Using Horizontal Wells. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/169583-MS

    Gentile, L., & Ershaghi, I. (2014, April 17). An Integral Type Curve for Managing Cyclic Steam Processes. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/169561-MS

    Wu, H., Najem, N., & Ershaghi, I. (2014, April 17). A Method for Pinpointing The Location of High Permeability Channels. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/169591-MS

    Williams, W. M., Hauser, M. K., Woodall, D., & Ershaghi, I. (2013, September 30). Technology as an Enabler. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/166516-MS

    Qi, Q., & Ershaghi, I. (2013, September 30). Aspects of Oilfield Related Accidents. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/166412-MS 

    Raghavenda, C. S., Liu, Y., Wu, A., Olabinjo, L., Balogun, O., Ershaghi, I., … Yao, K.-T. (2013, April 19). Global Model for Failure Prediction for Rod Pump Artificial Lift Systems. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/165374-MS

    Tafti, T., Ershaghi, I., Rezapour, A., & Ortega, A. (2013, April 19). Injection Scheduling Design for Reduced Order Waterflood Modeling. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/165355-MS

    Lin, Y., Ortega, A., Tafti, T. A., & Ershaghi, I. (2012, January 1). Detecting Shale Discontinuity Between Different Layers Using Waterflood Tomography. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/154724-MS

    Lee, K.-H., Ortega, A., Ghareloo, A., & Ershaghi, I. (2011, August 1). An Active Method for Characterization of Flow Units Between Injection/Production Wells by Injection-Rate Design. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/114222-PA

    Iraj Ershaghi, “The Amazing Monterey Formation,” Paper 147585-MS Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference, 15-17 November 2011, Alberta, Canada

    Ku-Han Lee, Antonio Ortega, Amir M. Nejad and I. Ershaghi:” An Active Method for Characterization of Flow Units Between Injection/Production Wells by Injection-Rate Design SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering Volume 14, Number 4 August 2011

    Hyokyeong Lee, Ke-Thia Yao, Olu Ogbonnaya Okpani, Aiichiro Nakano, Iraj Ershaghi: "Hybrid Constrained Nonlinear Optimization to Infer Injector-Producer Relationships in Oil Fields," INternational Journal of Computational Science, Volume 4, Number 1, 2010