Impact of faults on fluid flow in carbonates

Faults can have a major impact on fluid flow in the subsurface where they can act as barriers or conduits to flow. A huge amount of knowledge has been gained on the structure and properties of faults in siliciclastic reservoirs but far less is known about faults in carbonates. This represents a major knowledge gap not just because carbonates currently hold most of the worlds discovered petroleum but also they are of great interest for carbon capture and storage projects and geothermal energy extraction. We have now secured funding for a PhD research project to fill this knowledge gap by combining field work with laboratory analysis of the microstructure and petrophysical properties (i.e. porosity and permeability). It is expected that the successful candidate will visit a wide range of locations (e.g. Argentina, Italy, Greece, Oman, Turkey) to map faults in the outcrop and collect samples of fault rocks for analysis in the laboratory. The samples will then be analysed for microstructural (using optical and electron microscopy), flow (e.g. porosity, permeability and capillary pressure) and geomechanical (e.g. unconfined compressive strength, yield curve etc.) properties. The results will be incorporated into flow models to assess the implications of the results.

The successful applicant will receive a multidisciplinary training (outcrop analysis, laboratory methods and flow modelling). This would place them in an ideal position to gain employment in industry or academia. The funding is currently for UK students only but there is a possibility that further funding could be obtained to pay the fees of international students.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the University's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the research degree you wish to be considered for is Impact of faults on fluid flow in carbonates as well as Professor Quentin Fisher as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (below).

As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.

Entry requirements

University standard requirement is Bachelor Degree with UK 2:1 and/or good Masters in specified subject area (e.g. Environment or science subjects) - can edit for different discipline(s) or higher requirements

English language requirements

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

Funding on offer

Fees for UK students and maintenance matching UKRI

Contact details

For further information please contact Earth and Environment PGR Admissions by emailing

posted: 04 October 2023     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.