Dr Jim Underschultz

CSG Professorial Chair in PetroHydr

UQ Centre for Coal Seam Gas
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Overview

With over 25 years’ experience, more than 50 publications on the subject, Jim has an international reputation in petroleum hydrogeology and carbon capture and storage projects. He is currently holding the Professorial Chair of Petroleum Hydrodynamics at the Centre for Coal Seam Gas at the University of Queensland. Prior to this Jim was managing the research program for ANLEC R&D with an annual research budget of ~$18 million AUS applied to more than 50 active research projects supporting Australia’s CCS demonstration. He sat on the Sustainable Energy for the Square Kilometre Array (SESKA) geothermal project control group and the Australian Standards mirror committee for international standards on carbon capture and storage. Previously, Jim was the CSIRO Lead for the Unconventional Petroleum and Geothermal Energy R&D program, with more 50 Full Time Equivalents and an annual budget of ~$16 million/yr AUS and he concurrently managed the hydrodynamics and geochemistry discipline group within the Australian Cooperative Research Centre on CO2 (CO2CRC).

Research Interests

  • Fluid flow in porous media and hydrodynamic seals analysis
    Recently Jim’s research has focused on petroleum hydrodynamics of faulted strata and the incorporation of hydrodynamics into seals analysis with application to both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons, geothermal energy and carbon storage. At the Centre for Coal Seam Gas Jim has an interest in research on: - CSG Reservoir performance and compartmenalisation - CSG water quality forecasting - Hydrodynamic systems analysis

Research Impacts

Jim's early research in Canada, pioneered the characterisation of hydrodynamic systems in thrust fold belts that contributed to successful development of some Canadian foothills conventional gas discoveries.

Jim's work on the initial assessment of coal bed methane potential in Alberta helped form the pre-competative data that provided the foundation of a new resource type to be developed. His work on faults and hydrodynamics brought him to Australia to assist in the first hydrodynamic assessment of Australia's NW Shelf that provided industry a basis for pre-drill de-risking of fault seals.

Jim translated his knowledge of seals analysis unconventional gas to applications for Carbon Storage, teaming up with Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and participating in the Frio carbon storage pilot in Texas.

His experience provided him the opportunity to take a leading role in the development of carbon storage research in Australia, including the design and execution of Australia’s first carbon storage demonstration at the CO2CRC Otway site in Victoria. The success of Otway led to Australia's investment in the CCS Flagship program.

Jim's current research associated with hydrodynamic processes relating to Coal Seam Gas in Australia is helping lay the foundation for de-risking uncertainty in production performance and aquifer integrity. This supports Australia's ability to capture a share of the rapidly developing international gas market and enables a global shift from coal to gas.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Curtin University
  • Master of Science, University of Alberta
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Alberta

Publications

  • Underschultz, J. R. (2017) Linking capillary and mechanical seal capacity mechanisms. Petroleum Geoscience, 23 1: 3-9. doi:10.1144/petgeo2016-032

  • Underschultz, Jim, Dodds, Kevin, Michael, Karsten , Sharma, Sandeep , Wall, Terry and Whittaker, Steve (2017). Carbon capture and storage. In Sheila Devasahayam, Kim Dowling and Manoj K. Mahapatra (Ed.), Sustainability in the mineral and energy sectors (pp. 437-452) Boca Raton, FL, United States: Taylor &​ Francis Group. doi:10.1201/9781315369853-24

  • Underschultz, Jim (2017). Unconventional Gas. In Sheila Devasahayam, Kim Dowling and Manoj K. Mahapatra (Ed.), Sustainability in the mineral and energy sectors (pp. 545-560) Boca Raton, FL, United States: Taylor &​ Francis Group. doi:10.1201/9781315369853-29

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • UQ collaboration with the CSIRO

    Sedimentary basins host important groundwater resources in Australia. Due to their large size, groundwater can be important to multiple users from multiple industries, including the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry. Regional scale groundwater modelling is critical to understand water movement within sedimentary basins and to predict cumulative impacts from groundwater pumping on water users and the environment.

    Regional groundwater models are based on hydrogeological conceptualisations developed using 3D geological models and knowledge of aquifer and aquitard properties and boundary conditions. However, the representation of geological structures such as faults and the hydraulic property attribution of aquifers and aquitards in groundwater models are often informed by sparse data, resulting in large scale uncertainties of the model impact predictions.

    Available PHD Topic: Characterisation and parameterisation of uncertainty induced by faults in regional groundwater models

    This PhD project will focus on the characterisation and representation of the macroscopic hydraulic properties of faults in regional scale groundwater models and quantification of associated uncertainties. The student will apply methods from groundwater and petroleum system approaches for solving a real-world problem of quantifying uncertainty induced by geological structures in the simulation of hydrological variables using a regional scale groundwater model in co-operation with Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA), University of Queensland (UQ) and CSIRO.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Underschultz, Jim, Dodds, Kevin, Michael, Karsten , Sharma, Sandeep , Wall, Terry and Whittaker, Steve (2017). Carbon capture and storage. In Sheila Devasahayam, Kim Dowling and Manoj K. Mahapatra (Ed.), Sustainability in the mineral and energy sectors (pp. 437-452) Boca Raton, FL, United States: Taylor &​ Francis Group. doi:10.1201/9781315369853-24

  • Underschultz, Jim (2017). Unconventional Gas. In Sheila Devasahayam, Kim Dowling and Manoj K. Mahapatra (Ed.), Sustainability in the mineral and energy sectors (pp. 545-560) Boca Raton, FL, United States: Taylor &​ Francis Group. doi:10.1201/9781315369853-29

  • Langhi, Laurent, Zhang, Yanhua, Gartrell, Anthony, Brincat, Mark P., Lisk, Mark, Underschultz, Jim and Dewhurst, David (2013). Mechanism of Upfault Seepage and Seismic Expression of Hydrocarbon Discharge Sites from the Timor Sea. In Hydrocarbon Seepage: From Source to Surface (pp. 11-41) Tulsa, OK, United States: Society of Exploration Geophysicists. doi:10.1190/1.9781560803119.ch2

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Underschultz, J., Pasini, P. and Grigorescu, M. (2015). Applying Hydrocarbon Systems Analysis and Basin Hydrodynamics to Onshore Gas in Australia. In: European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers Workshop - Basin Hydrodynamic Systems, Utrecht Netherlands, (). 6 - 8 May 2015. doi:10.3997/2214-4609.201412344

  • Underschultz, J. (2015). Keynote speech - Hydrodynamic constraints on fault seal analysis-linking capillary and fault reactivation processes. In: 4th International Conference on Fault and Top Seals 2015: Art or Science?. 4th International Conference on Fault and Top Seals 2015: Art or Science?, Almeria, Spain, (51-54). 20-24 September 2015. doi:10.3997/2214-4609.201414054

  • Kaldi, John, Daniel, Ric, Tenthorey, Eric, Michael, Karsten, Schacht, Ulrike, Nicol, Andy, Underschultz, Jim and Backe, Guillaume (2013). Containment of CO2 in CCS: Role of caprocks and faults. In: GHGT-11 Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies. International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technologies (GHGT), Kyoto Japan, (5403-5410). Nov 18-22, 2012. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.458

  • Verweij, Hanneke, Simmelink, Erik and Underschultz, Jim (2011). Pressure and Fluid Flow Systems in the Permian Rotliegend in the Netherlands Onshore and Offshore. In: Jurgen Grotsch and Reinhard Gaupp, Permian Rotliegend of the Netherlands. Symposium and Core Workshop on 50 Years of Petroleum Exploration in the Netherlands after the Groningen Discovery, Utrecht Netherlands, (247-263). 15 - 16 January 2009. doi:10.2110/pec.11.98.0247

  • Ennis-King, J., Dance, T., Xu, J., Boreham, C., Freifeld, B., Jenkins, C., Paterson, L., Sharma, S., Stalker, L. and Underschultz, J. (2011). The role of heterogeneity in CO2 storage in a depleted gas field: history matching of simulation models to field data for the CO2CRC Otway Project, Australia. In: 10Th International Conference On Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies. 10th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, (3494-3501). 19 -23 September 2010. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.276

  • Kirste, D., Perkins, E., Boreham, C., Stalker, L., Schacht, U. and Underschultz, J. (2010). Geochemical monitoring and geochemical modeling of the CO2CRC Otway Project CO2 storage pilot, Victoria, Australia. In: Goldschmidt 2010: Earth, Energy, and the Environment: Abstracts. Conference on Goldschmidt 2010 - Earth, Energy, and the Environment, Knoxville TN, United States, (A521-A521). 13-18 June 2010.

  • Tenthorey, Eric, Boreham, Chris, Hortle, Alison, Underschultz, James and Golding, Suzanne (2010). Importance of mineral sequestration during CO2 gas migration: A case study from the Greater Gorgon area. In: 10th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, (5074-5078). 19-23 September, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.481

  • Stalker, Linda, Boreham, Chris, Underschultz, Jim, Freifeld, Barry, Perkins, Ernie, Schacht, Ulrike and Sharma, Sandeep (2009). Geochemical monitoring at the CO2CRC Otway Project: tracer injection and reservoir fluid acquisition. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-9). 9th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-9), Washington, United States, (2119-2125). 16-20 November 2008. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2009.01.276

  • Freifeld, Barry M., Daley, Thomas M., Hovorka, Susan D., Henninges, Jan, Underschultz, Jim and Sharma, Sandeep (2009). Recent advances in well-based monitoring of CO2 sequestration. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-9). 9th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-9), Washington, United States, (2277-2284). 16-20 November 2008. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2009.01.296

  • Underschultz, JR and Lytviak, AT (1993). Deep Waste Injection, Western Canada - Analysis of Data and Requirements for Numerical-Simulation. In: Application of Geographic Information Systems in Hydrology and Water Resources Management. International Conf On Application of Geographic Information Systems in Hydrology and Water Resources Management ( Hydrogis 93 ), Vienna Austria, (271-278). Apr 19-22, 1993.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

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.

  • UQ collaboration with the CSIRO

    Sedimentary basins host important groundwater resources in Australia. Due to their large size, groundwater can be important to multiple users from multiple industries, including the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry. Regional scale groundwater modelling is critical to understand water movement within sedimentary basins and to predict cumulative impacts from groundwater pumping on water users and the environment.

    Regional groundwater models are based on hydrogeological conceptualisations developed using 3D geological models and knowledge of aquifer and aquitard properties and boundary conditions. However, the representation of geological structures such as faults and the hydraulic property attribution of aquifers and aquitards in groundwater models are often informed by sparse data, resulting in large scale uncertainties of the model impact predictions.

    Available PHD Topic: Characterisation and parameterisation of uncertainty induced by faults in regional groundwater models

    This PhD project will focus on the characterisation and representation of the macroscopic hydraulic properties of faults in regional scale groundwater models and quantification of associated uncertainties. The student will apply methods from groundwater and petroleum system approaches for solving a real-world problem of quantifying uncertainty induced by geological structures in the simulation of hydrological variables using a regional scale groundwater model in co-operation with Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA), University of Queensland (UQ) and CSIRO.