Suzanne Hurter

Professorship chair: (Unconventional) Onshore Gas Reservoir Modelling

My research program focuses on unconventional onshore gas reservoir modelling and combines disciplines from Earth Sciences and Petroleum Engineering.

Research area

It is partially funded through Energi Simulation (Energi Simulation, ES, a Canadian foundation), UQ’s Centre for Natural Gas (with industry funding) and the Australian Research Council. These funds support 2 post-doctoral fellows and several PhD students. This research seeks to improve models for sustainable, onshore gas production at reduced cost and environmental footprint. Natural gas plays a key role in Australia’s transition to a low carbon future by moving away from coal. Areas such as CCS, methane emissions and underground hydrogen storage are also included. The focus is developing suitable modelling techniques and workflows to model multi-phase flow in highly heterogeneous reservoirs, e.g. with copula-based geostatistics.  Another goal is to grow professional and technical capability for the growing unconventional gas industry in Australia and enable UQ graduates from this program to support this industry globally.

ES+UQ has provided ~€1.65 million over 5 years and has enabled additional industry funds to leverage research worth more than €3 million.

The alignment with TNO: this research is applied and contributes towards the Energy Transition with themes in sustainable gas production, CO2 storage and impact of gas industry on water resources. It aims at the development of modelling techniques and workflows, one of TNO’s strengths.

Recent results

  • Research funded by NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) has resulted in a commercially available Petrel-PlugIn allowing copula geostatistics to improve flow simulations of highly heterogeneous reservoirs.
  • Three of my PhD students have graduated and found positions in industry (Li Wan, Zhengguang Zhao) and academia (Pouria Amani).
  • Prepared and submitted a proposal to the Australian Research Council for a Linkage Project (i.e. with industry contributions) about improving stratigraphy and geostatistical techniques for the modelling of gas and water production. The proposal was successful and started in 2020. The total value of this 3-year project is ~1,08 million euros.

PhD supervision

All students listed below receive an RTP (Research Training Program) scholarship from the university through the Australian government. This includes tuition fees and a living stipend. It is awarded through a competitive process and award criteria include the students academic record, the quality of the proposed PhD topic and the capability of the supervisors. The title of the thesis research is given in brackets […] after the student’s name

    • Iftikar Altaf[Reservoir geostorage capacity modification due to long-term CO2-rock chemical interactions: a rock mechanics perspective]
    • Vanessa Santiago Salomão [Stress-dependent flow behaviour in coal seam gas reservoirs: implications for gas production and reservoir stimulation]
    • Ilaina Rakotondrazaka [Development of modeling strategy and methodology for optimising carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) in heavy oil reservoir with a focus on the Tsimimoro field]
    • Claudio de Andrade Vieira Filho [Characterisation of the Walloons-Springbok interval: implications for gas development]
    • Zhenkai Bo (Josh) [Hydrogen storage in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs under Australian conditions]
    • Zijian Shen [Effective monitoring and modelling techniques to evaluate the impact of coal seam gas on water resources]
    • Xinzhe Zao [Numerical modelling of transient water-steam phase change in geothermal and heavy-oil steam injection processes]

Top publications

  • Wan L., Bianchi V. Hurter S., Salles T. (2020), Evolution of a delta-canyon-fan system on a typical passive margin using stratigraphic forward modelling, Marine Geology, 429,
  • Amani P., Hurter S., Rudolph V., Firouzi M. (2020), Comparison of flow dynamics of air-water flows with foam flows in vertical pipes, Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science, 119,
  • Hurter, S., Rodger, I., and Garnett, A., (2019) Comment on “Numerical investigation of the potential contamination of a shallow aquifer in producing coalbed methane” by Xianbo Su, Fengde Zhou, and Stephen Tyson. Energy Exploration & Exploitation, 37, 593-601,


Princetonlaan 6
NL-3584 CB Utrecht

Postal address

P.O. Box 80015
NL-3508 TA Utrecht