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Bhaskar Bhargav


UH petroleum students work as part of team to enhance oil recovery in India  

10/23/2017 | By Claire Andersen

Two graduate students from the Cullen College of Engineering’s petroleum engineering department traveled to India this summer for a ten-week internship with Oil India Limited, the nation’s national oil companies.

The University of Houston and Oil India have partnered for the last year on a project focused on optimizing the company’s oil recovery using carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (EOR) strategies. Ganesh Thakur, Distinguished Professor of Petroleum Engineering and expert in enhanced oil recovery, is leading the $1.4 million, multiphase project.  

Bhaskar Bhargav, who will graduate in December, traveled to the Makum-North Hapjan field in northeast India for his internship, where he gained upstream field experience and worked to collect data for Thakur’s carbon capture project. With five years of midstream and downstream work experience already, he was eager to expand his knowledge of the upstream sector. 

“Upstream is something I always liked; in fact, I’ve been a fan of the oil and gas industry as a whole from the beginning,” he said. “That’s why I want to have an overall understanding of everything from downstream to upstream.” 

His work consisted of creating well surveys and collecting subsurface well data that he used to create models that pinpoint areas for improving production maximization. Through first-hand experience, Bhargav was able to master various data-collection techniques and familiarize himself with the software used to create well models. 

“There were many things that were new to me. I was picking things up on the go, learning the software and how different data is collected,” he said. 

Anisha Deka, also a UH petroleum graduate student, was nominated by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston and the University for the internship with Oil India. She spent 10 weeks in Guwahati at Oil India’s Center of Excellence for Energy Studies office, where she collected and analyzed data on several reservoirs. 

“My duty was to look at performance, to optimize the oil recovery efficiency and to recommend how the oil recovery could be increased at the reservoirs,” Deka said. “Second, I had to see if any of the reservoirs were good candidates for the EOR study.” 

Since returning to Houston, both Bhargav and Deka have joined Thakur’s team and are working to create reservoir models. These models are created using geological data and well data like that which Bhargav collected over the summer. The models are part of phase two of the project, and will be used to run various simulations that test what strategies can be used to optimize oil recovery.