The University of British Columbia
Alberta’s oil sands producers use steam injection techniques to maximize yields from reservoirs. A University of British Columbia student is developing new computational tools that are giving companies and regulators a clearer picture of what’s happening underground so they can better manage Canada’s oil resources and protect the environment.
Rowan Cockett is using data from geophysical monitoring to develop numerical models that generate real-time depictions of underground processes. He specializes in the field of hydrogeophysics, which combines hydrology, geology, physics and computer modeling to create accurate 3D images of subsurface activity. Through his research Cockett is designing numerical frameworks that enable scientists from multiple disciplines to communicate and combine their results and expertise.
Cockett’s models and techniques will give Enhanced Oil Recovery and carbon capture and storage operations an early warning system to avert environmental contamination and management oversights. Resource managers and regulators will be able to generate images of fluid movements over time to predict and prevent dangerous scenarios.
The Vanier scholar is also passionate about geoscience education, and has developed a widely used web-based program called Visible Geology. The program introduces students to geological concepts by enabling them to interactively create their own 3D geological models with geological beds, basins and faults.
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