Professor Ray Johnson


School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 334 61234


Dr Ray Johnson, Jr., Principal at Unconventional Reservoir Solutions (, has been involved with design, execution, and evaluation of reservoir stimulation treatments since 1980 and has a PhD in Mining Engineering relating to pre-drainage of fluids (i.e., gas and water) for coal mining. Prior to moving to Australia in 1998, Ray had 17 years’ experience in engineering and management positions throughout the Central US involving fracture stimulation design, execution and evaluation of coals, shales and other naturally fractured reservoirs and in areas encompassing most currently producing US unconventional basins. Ray holds a MSc in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin where his 2000 thesis was one of the first published there on assessing shale gas resources. Ray is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at the ASP, University of Adelaide and Professor of Well Engineering & Production Technology at the University of Queensland, School of Chemical Engineering.

Research Interests

  • Unconventional Reservoir Appraisal and Development Strategies
    Ray's research focuses on integrating elements of reservoir engineering, geomechanics and hydraulic fracturing to improving appraisal and development strategies for unconventional resources such as gas from coal as well as oil and gas from shales and naturally fractured reservoirs.

Research Impacts

A lot of people state that they are researching or investigating hydraulic fracturing, which in most cases is limited to modelling some aspect of rock fracture mechanics or fracture propogation in some geological or rock mechanical framework. Whist this may progress the science of hydraulic fracture propagation, hydraulic fracturing design optimisation in a petroleum well stimulation context is not that concise, exact or simple!

Well stimulation in the petroleum industry context is much larger and represents an overall process to create an economic outcome from a low-permeability reservoir by implementing the proper selection of fluids, stage/job placement, proppant selection, onsite job execution, post-frac clean-up and long term production management along with the hydraulic fracturing modelling, a small portion of the process. It is an overall design, execute, and then evaluate process that cannot be optimised by a discrete element model.

My research benefits societies' need to identify and develop unconventional resources as a part of it's overall energy mix by effectively implementing economical hydraulic fracturing solutions in unconventional reservoirs. Advances of my research integrating geomechanics, hydraulic fracturing, reservoir engineering, and production technology will aid us in maintaining low cost energy thereby benefitting overall economic growth in Australia by economically unlocking more of Australia's unconventional gas resources (i.e., tight gas sandstone, shale gas, and coal seam gas reservoirs).


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

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Available Projects

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Conference Publication

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PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.