Professor Stephan Matthai

Research Interests

  • Enhanced oil recovery (EOR WAG wettability alteration)
  • Geological storage and immobilisation of carbon dioxide (CCS)
  • Geological storage of hydrogen as an energy carrier (hydrogen economy)
  • Naturally fractured hydrocarbon reservoirs (NFR fracture porous media)
  • Nuclear waste repositories (radionuclide transport in fractured rock)
  • Numeric method and simulation software development (FEM FVM hybrid methods THMC)
  • Numeric simulation of multiphase fluid flow (fractured porous media)
  • Recovery of unconventional hydrocarbon resources (fracking CBM ECBM stimulation)
  • Simulation of (enhanced) geothermal systems (EGS)
  • Software development for subsurface system computation (continuum mechanics C++ object-oriented design CSMP)
  • Upscaling (feature reduction)

Personal webpage


Professor Stephan K. Matthäi earned a Diplom (MSc) degree in structural geology from the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany, and a PhD focusing on the characterisation and numerical simulation of hydrothermal gold deposits from the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University, Canberra. He conducted postdoctoral research on hydrocarbon systems in the Gulf of Mexico basin at Cornell University, and fluid flow in fractured rock masses at Stanford University. At the Swiss ETH Zürich, he implemented subsurface fluid convection and heat transfer models. In 2001, he became a Senior Lecturer of Computational Hydrodynamics at Imperial College London, UK, focusing on multiphase flow in fractured hydrocarbon reservoirs. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, he was Chair and Head of the Petroleum Reservoir Engineering Institute at the Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Austria. His publications range from meteorite impact cratering to the formation of hydrothermal gold deposits, and the development of new computational algorithms. Perhaps he is best known for his contributions to the understanding of multiphase flow in fractured porous media and multidisciplinary field- and numerical simulation studies. He also is the originator of the Complex System's Modeling Platform (CSMP++), a hybrid finite element - finite volume tool for the solution of multi-physics problems in geometrically complex models, enjoying a growing international user community, both in academia and the O&G industry. In this role, he has consulted extensively to company research labs and operators. Collaborative research efforts involve scientists at the ETHZ (Switzerland), Heriot Watt University (Scotland), Imperial College London (UK), and ENSG Nancy (France). They underpin multidisciplinary field and numerical simulation studies and are financed by government grants, industry consortia and individual stakeholders. At Imperial College London and as the head of the Reservoir Engineering Institute in Leoben, Matthäi has delivered numerous keynote lectures on international conferences. He has co-organised and chaired SPE's 2006 and 2008' Fori on Naturally Fractured Reservoirs and served on the organising committees of many other SPE and EAGE events. Professor Matthai also has a strong interest and track record in teaching, course- and curriculum design. In addition to teaching conventional petroleum engineering and earth science subjects, he has lead field trips, supervised field camps and mapping courses as well as classes and workshops in C++ programming and numerical simulation. He also has delivered professional short courses for the SPE and HOT engineering.

Recent Publications

  1. Milliotte C, Matthai S. From seismic interpretation to reservoir model: An integrated study accounting for the structural complexity of the Vienna Basin using an unstructured reservoir grid. First Break. 2014, Vol. 32, Issue 5.
  2. Mosser LJ, Matthai S. Tessellations stable under iteration. 1st International Conference on Discrete Fracture Network Engineering (DFNE). 2014.
  3. Bazrafkan S, Matthai S, Mindel J. The Finite-element-centered Finite-Volume Discretization Method (FECFVM) for Multiphase Transport in Porous Media with Sharp Material Discontinuities. 14th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery (ECMOR). 2014.
  4. Milliotte C, Matthai S, Agar S, Benson GS. 3D deterministic multi-level fracture and matrix flow model of a layered platform carbonate reservoir analog (Morocco). 2nd EAGE Workshop Naturally Fractured Reservoirs: Naturally Fractured Reservoirs in Real Life. 2013.
  5. Akanji LT, Nasr GG, Matthai S. Estimation of hydraulic anisotropy of unconsolidated granular packs using finite element methods. International Journal of Multiphysics. 2013, Vol. 7, Issue 2.
  6. Doan T, Milliotte C, Matthai S, Phuoc L. Exploring a new characterization, modeling and simulation workflow for vietnamese basement reservoirs. PGCE 2013 - Petroleum Geoscience Conference and Exhibition 2013: Innovative Geoscience: Securing Energy Needs. 2013.
  7. Yapparova A, Mindel JE, Maierhofer M, Matthai S. Geothermal simulation applied to the optimization of underground energy storage systems. Sustainable Earth Sciences, SES 2013: Technologies for Sustainable Use of the Deep Sub-Surface. 2013.
  8. Matthai S, Bazrafkan S. Simulation of gas oil gravity drainage: Comparison of the dual continuum with the discrete-fracture and matrix approach. 2nd EAGE Workshop Naturally Fractured Reservoirs: Naturally Fractured Reservoirs in Real Life. 2013.
  9. Lang P, Steinecker S, Bazr Afkan S, Matthai S. Stress dependent anisotropy of relative permeabilities in naturally fractured reservoirs. ECMOR 2012 - 13th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery. 2012.
  10. Matthai S. Keynote address: Understanding flow in naturally fractured reservoirs with the aid of numerical simulation. Naturally and Hydraulically Induced Fractured Reservoirs: From nanoDarcies to Darcies. 2011.
  11. Belayneh M, Matthai S. Comparison between natural and DFN models in water-flooding numerical simulations. 1st International Petroleum Conference and Exhibition. 2009.
  12. Unsal E, Lu H, Matthai S, Blunt MJ. A fracture-only reservoir simulator with physically transfer functions. 70th European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers Conference and Exhibition 2008: Leveraging Technology. Incorporating SPE EUROPEC 2008. 2008, Vol. 4.
  13. Paluszny A, Matthai S. Numerical simulation of geomechanic fracture networks: application to measuring effective permeability variability. 42nd U.S. Rock Mechanics - 2nd U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium. 2008.
  14. Geiger-Boschung S, Matthai S, Niessner J, Helmig R. Black-oil simulations for three-component - Three-phase flow in fractured porous media. 69th European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers Conference and Exhibition 2007: Securing The Future. Incorporating SPE EUROPEC 2007. 2007, Vol. 6.
  15. Geiger S, Driesner T, Heinrich CA, Matthai S, MatthÄi SK. Multiphase thermohaline convection in the earth's crust: I. A new finite element - Finite volume solution technique combined with a new equation of state for NaCl-H2O. Transport in Porous Media. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 2006, Vol. 63, Issue 3.

Stephan Matthai

Level: 02 Room: 207
Engineering Block B, Parkville
University of Melbourne
3010 Australia

T: 83446084

View a full list of publications on the University of Melbourne’s ‘Find An Expert’ profile