Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Senior Lecturer

School of Engineering

Career Summary

Biography

Dr Firouzi has a strong interest in fundamental and practical research collaborating with industry and different disciplines across a broad range of areas with a focus on Energy and Resources. 

Her research projects focus on experimental investigation and mathematical modelling of interfacial interactions in multiphase flows (foams/emulsions, bubble coalescence, thin liquid films) and process optimisation of engineering processes. 

She utilises mathematical modelling and advanced data analytics in process optimisation of engineering processes through timely diagnosis of system faults, resulting in minimising risk, downtime and cost of maintenance in different sectors. 

Recently she has been applying her skills in multiphase flow systems and process optimisation to decarbonisation with the specific focus on production of CO2-free hydrogen from natural gas and plastic waste.

Her research achievements have been recognised through multiple awards including the 2018 UQ Engineering Faculty Early Career Researcher Award and being one of two Australian female scientists profiled by the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland

Keywords

  • Advanced data analytics
  • Foams/emulsions
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Multiphase flows
  • Unconventional gas

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
400499 Chemical engineering not elsewhere classified 30
340699 Physical chemistry not elsewhere classified 30
401211 Multiphysics flows (incl. multiphase and reacting flows) 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Engineering
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/1/2021 - 9/7/2021 UQ Amplify Senior Lecturer The University of Queensland
School of Chemical Engineering
Australia
1/6/2020 - 31/12/2020 UQ Amplify Research Fellow The University of Queensland
School of Chemical Engineering
Australia
1/6/2017 - 31/5/2020 Advance Queensland Research Fellow The University of Queensland
School of Chemical Engineering
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
12/7/2021 -  Honorary Senior Research Fellow The University of Queensland
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Nguyen A, Firouzi M, 'Collision and attachment interactions of single air bubbles with flat surfaces in aqueous solutions', Drops and bubbles in contact with solid surfaces, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, U.S.A. 211-240 (2013)

Journal article (29 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Buckley T, Xu X, Rudolph V, Firouzi M, Shukla P, 'Review of foam fractionation as a water treatment technology', Separation Science and Technology (Philadelphia), (2021)

Foam fractionation is a well-developed technology used to separate surface-active compounds from solution by exploiting their affinity for the air¿water interface. The technology ... [more]

Foam fractionation is a well-developed technology used to separate surface-active compounds from solution by exploiting their affinity for the air¿water interface. The technology was founded in the 1940s and has since evolved into a key technology for treatment of many different pollutants from a variety of different industries such as textiles and dyes, heavy metals, proteins in food processing waste and even per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The technology has even progressed from a standard batch process to a continuous process with an applied reflux to being presently used as an in-situ groundwater remediation and soil remediation process. This review provides a snapshot of the historical evolution of foam fractionation, a discussion of the mechanism behind foam fractionation, the effect of key operating variables on the performance parameters, identification of the key transport processes that take place within a foam fractionation system, a review of the modeling of foam fractionation as a water treatment technology and a review of the applications of foam fractionation as a water treatment technology.

DOI 10.1080/01496395.2021.1946698
2021 Abdul-Majeed GH, Firouzi M, 'Prediction of slug/churn transition for viscous upward two-phase flows in vertical pipes', SPE Production and Operations, 36 637-658 (2021)

In this study, we investigate the effect of liquid viscosity (lL) on the slug/churn transition in gas/liquid flows in vertical pipes. A total of 80 experimental churn-flow data po... [more]

In this study, we investigate the effect of liquid viscosity (lL) on the slug/churn transition in gas/liquid flows in vertical pipes. A total of 80 experimental churn-flow data points from two different sources are compiled as a data set, covering liquid viscosities from 17.23 to 586 mPa·s. Air was used in these studies as a gas phase with two different liquids, aqueous glycerol and a commercial synthetic mineral oil, flowing in vertical pipes of 0.0192- and 0.0508-m inner diameter (ID). The data set is used to examine the existing slug/churn-flow-transition models and provide further insights into the effect of lL on the transition. The existing models are categorized into two groups according to their response of the slug/churn transition to the increase in liquid superficial velocity (Vsl) on the Vsg/Vsl flow map. The first category exhibits a decrease in superficial gas velocity (Vsg) with the increase in Vsl at slug/churn (the transition concave to the left). The other one predicts an increase in Vsg with increasing of Vsl (the transition concave to the right). Analysis of the data set reveals that on the Vsg/Vsl flow map, the slug/churn transition moves toward lower superficial gas velocities as liquid viscosity increases and occurs approximately at a constant Vsg for low to medium Vsl. The predictions of these models were tested against the data set and poor results were shown by most models. The best performance is given by the Abdul-Majeed (1997) model. A dimensional analysis is applied in the present study to develop a new slug/churn-transition model. This analysis indicates that the transition is related to three dimensionless numbers, namely gas- and liquid-phase Froude numbers, in addition to the inverse liquid-viscosity number. An improved revision to the Abdul-Majeed model is achieved using these three dimensionless numbers. The revision enables the model to predict the transition for low, medium, and high liquid viscosity. The revised model clearly outperforms all the existing models for the present data and viscous data from independent studies. Furthermore, the revised model exhibits the expected trend against changes in pipe diameter and gas density.

DOI 10.2118/203832-PA
Citations Scopus - 2
2021 Amani P, Karakashev SI, Grozev NA, Simeonova SS, Miller R, Rudolph V, Firouzi M, 'Effect of selected monovalent salts on surfactant stabilized foams.', Adv Colloid Interface Sci, 295 102490 (2021)
DOI 10.1016/j.cis.2021.102490
2020 Towler B, Hywel-Evans D, Firouzi M, 'Failure modes for hydrated bentonite plugs used in well decommissioning operations', APPLIED CLAY SCIENCE, 184 (2020)
DOI 10.1016/j.clay.2019.105385
2020 Wu B, Ribeiro AS, Firouzi M, Rufford TE, Towler B, 'Use of pressure signal analysis to characterise counter-current two-phase flow regimes in annuli', CHEMICAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH & DESIGN, 153 547-561 (2020)
DOI 10.1016/j.cherd.2019.11.009
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4
2020 Amani P, Hurter S, Rudolph V, Firouzi M, 'Comparison of flow dynamics of air-water flows with foam flows in vertical pipes', EXPERIMENTAL THERMAL AND FLUID SCIENCE, 119 (2020)
DOI 10.1016/j.expthermflusci.2020.110216
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4
2020 Amani P, Miller R, Ata S, Hurter S, Rudolph V, Firouzi M, 'Dynamics of interfacial layers for sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate solutions at different salinities', JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL AND ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY, 92 174-183 (2020)
DOI 10.1016/j.jiec.2020.09.002
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2020 Abdul-Majeed GH, Firouzi M, Soto-Cortes G, 'Prediction of Slug Frequency for Medium Liquid Viscosity Two-Phase Flow in Vertical, Horizontal, and Inclined Pipes', SPE PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS, 35 885-894 (2020)
DOI 10.2118/202473-PA
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3
2019 Karakashev SI, Firouzi M, Wang J, Alexandrova L, Nguyen AV, 'On the stability of thin films of pure water', ADVANCES IN COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, 268 82-90 (2019)
DOI 10.1016/j.cis.2019.03.005
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7
2019 Abdul-Majeed GH, Firouzi M, 'The suitability of the dimensionless terms used in correlating slug liquid holdup with flow parameters in viscous two-phase flows', INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS IN HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER, 108 (2019)
DOI 10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2019.104323
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 4
2019 Wu B, Firouzi M, Rufford TE, Towler B, 'Characteristics of counter-current gas-liquid two-phase flow and its limitations in vertical annuli', EXPERIMENTAL THERMAL AND FLUID SCIENCE, 109 (2019)
DOI 10.1016/j.expthermflusci.2019.109899
Citations Scopus - 9Web of Science - 5
2019 Towler B, Firouzi M, Wilkinson R, 'Australia's gas resources and its new approaches', JOURNAL OF NATURAL GAS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 72 (2019)
DOI 10.1016/j.jngse.2019.102970
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
2018 Hassanzadeh A, Firouzi M, Albijanic B, Celik MS, 'A review on determination of particle-bubble encounter using analytical, experimental and numerical methods', MINERALS ENGINEERING, 122 296-311 (2018)
DOI 10.1016/j.mineng.2018.04.014
Citations Scopus - 41Web of Science - 37
2018 Peng H, Firouzi M, 'Evaluation of interfacial properties of concentrated KCl solutions by molecular dynamics simulation', COLLOIDS AND SURFACES A-PHYSICOCHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING ASPECTS, 538 703-710 (2018)
DOI 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2017.11.063
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7
2017 Firouzi M, Nguyenn AV, 'The Gibbs-Marangoni stress and nonDLVO forces are equally important for modeling bubble coalescence in salt solutions', COLLOIDS AND SURFACES A-PHYSICOCHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING ASPECTS, 515 62-68 (2017)
DOI 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2016.12.004
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 9
2017 Towler BF, Lehr HL, Austin SW, Bowthorpe B, Feldman JH, Forbis SK, et al., 'Spontaneous Imbibition Experiments of Enhanced Oil Recovery with Surfactants and Complex Nano-Fluids', JOURNAL OF SURFACTANTS AND DETERGENTS, 20 367-377 (2017)
DOI 10.1007/s11743-017-1924-1
Citations Scopus - 24Web of Science - 22
2017 Wu B, Firouzi M, Mitchell T, Rufford TE, Leonardi C, Towler B, 'A critical review of flow maps for gas-liquid flows in vertical pipes and annuli', CHEMICAL ENGINEERING JOURNAL, 326 350-377 (2017)
DOI 10.1016/j.cej.2017.05.135
Citations Scopus - 69Web of Science - 53
2016 Firouzi M, Towler B, Rufford TE, 'Developing new mechanistic models for predicting pressure gradient in coal bed methane wells', JOURNAL OF NATURAL GAS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 33 961-972 (2016)
DOI 10.1016/j.jngse.2016.04.035
Citations Scopus - 11Web of Science - 8
2016 Towler B, Firouzi M, Underschultz J, Rifkin W, Garnett A, Schultz H, et al., 'An overview of the coal seam gas developments in Queensland', Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 31 249-271 (2016)

The demand for natural gas in Queensland, Australia has historically been supplied from conventional reservoirs. However, depletion in conventional sources has led producers to tu... [more]

The demand for natural gas in Queensland, Australia has historically been supplied from conventional reservoirs. However, depletion in conventional sources has led producers to turn to extensive supplies in Queensland's coal resources. These coal seam gas (CSG) developments not only represent new supplies for the domestic market in eastern Australia, they are also the first time that CSG (aka coal bed methane or CBM) has been liquefied to serve the expanding world LNG market. In order to make this development occur, considerable infrastructure had to be installed, with field developments still on-going. This AUD$60 billion investment precipitated a major overhaul of state regulations to provide not only a safe and clean operating environment, but also to allay the concerns of certain stakeholders.The gas is primarily produced from thin high permeability coals in the Jurassic-age Walloon Coal Measures in the Surat Basin and from several relatively thick Permian-age coal seams in the Bowen Basin, of which the Baralaba Coal Measures and the Bandanna formation are the most important. There are numerous technical challenges with this production, such as fines production from the inter-burden clays, which can form a thick paste that is difficult to pump. Salt extraction by reverse osmosis, from associated water produced to depressurise the coal seams and enable the flow of gas, allows for the beneficial use of the water. Technical challenges also include mathematical modelling of the counter-current two-phase flow (gas and water) in the well annuli because conventional models in simulators only handle co-current two-phase flow in the well-bores. Also, the subject of on-going investigations is decommissioning of the large number of shallow wells over the next few decades in a safe and cost effective manner, with compressed bentonite being a promising option for well plugging.As with any major commercial development, in addition to the technical challenges there have been social challenges as well. These include interaction and coexistence of extensive surface operations with an established agricultural sector, interactions between gas production and ground water aquifers in water-stressed areas, and the cumulative social and economic impacts of 3 large projects on a rural area.Ultimately, the State of Queensland expects to produce more than 1800 BCF/annum, of which about 1400 BCF/annum will be exported as LNG. Depending on the demand and well productivity, up to 1000 CSG wells may be drilled per year for the next thirty years. A review of CSG resources, development, and challenges is presented in this paper to provide context for a stream of research findings that are emerging on the Queensland CSG experience.

DOI 10.1016/j.jngse.2016.02.040
Citations Scopus - 98Web of Science - 80
2015 Firouzi M, Howes T, Nguyen AV, 'A quantitative review of the transition salt concentration for inhibiting bubble coalescence', ADVANCES IN COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, 222 305-318 (2015)
DOI 10.1016/j.cis.2014.07.005
Citations Scopus - 72Web of Science - 66
2015 Peng T, Firouzi M, Li Q, Peng K, 'Surface force at the nano-scale: observation of non-monotonic surface tension and disjoining pressure', PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 17 20502-20507 (2015)
DOI 10.1039/c5cp03050a
Citations Scopus - 18Web of Science - 15
2014 Firouzi M, Nguyen AV, 'On the effect of van der Waals attractions on the critical salt concentration for inhibiting bubble coalescence', MINERALS ENGINEERING, 58 108-112 (2014)
DOI 10.1016/j.mineng.2014.01.014
Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 13
2014 Firouzi M, Nguyen AV, 'Effects of monovalent anions and cations on drainage and lifetime of foam films at different interface approach speeds', ADVANCED POWDER TECHNOLOGY, 25 1212-1219 (2014)
DOI 10.1016/j.apt.2014.06.004
Citations Scopus - 33Web of Science - 30
2014 Firouzi M, Nguyen AV, 'Novel Methodology for Predicting the Critical Salt Concentration of Bubble Coalescence Inhibition', JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 118 1021-1026 (2014)
DOI 10.1021/jp409473g
Citations Scopus - 18Web of Science - 17
2011 Firouzi M, Nguyen AV, Hashemabadi SH, 'The effect of microhydrodynamics on bubble-particle collision interaction', MINERALS ENGINEERING, 24 973-986 (2011)
DOI 10.1016/j.mineng.2011.04.005
Citations Scopus - 44Web of Science - 38
2009 Firouzi M, Hashemabadi SH, 'Analytical Solution for Newtonian Laminar Flow Through the Concave and Convex Ducts', JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME, 131 (2009)
DOI 10.1115/1.3184026
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7
2009 Firouzi M, Hashemabadi SH, 'Exact solution of two phase stratified flow through the pipes for non-Newtonian Herschel-Bulkley fluids', INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS IN HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER, 36 768-775 (2009)
DOI 10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2009.03.018
Citations Scopus - 17Web of Science - 14
2008 Firouzi M, Hashemabadi SH, 'Analytical solution for Newtonian-Bingham plastic two-phase pressure driven stratified flow through the circular ducts', INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS IN HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER, 35 666-673 (2008)
DOI 10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2007.12.003
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 14
'Drops and Bubbles in Contact with Solid Surfaces
DOI 10.1201/b13247
Show 26 more journal articles

Conference (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Firouzi M, Rathnayake S, 'Prediction of the flowing bottom-hole pressure using advanced data analytics', SPE/AAPG/SEG Asia Pacific Unconventional Resources Technology Conference 2019, APUR 2019 (2019)

Flowing bottom-hole pressure (FBHP) is a key metric for optimising coal seam gas well performance and enhancement of production. Downhole pressure gauges are increasingly being us... [more]

Flowing bottom-hole pressure (FBHP) is a key metric for optimising coal seam gas well performance and enhancement of production. Downhole pressure gauges are increasingly being used to measure the FBHP. However, they are impractical, expensive, and complex to install and maintain. Consequently, reliable measurement and prediction of the FBHP, required to forecast well production, remains a challenge. This paper aims to predict the flowing bottom-hole pressure in coal seam gas wells by taking advantage of the temporal data and advanced analytics. Data-driven models have been developed to predict the FBHP by leveraging the temporal data gathered at the surface in order to control the performance of the wells. The data used in the study was obtained from five coal seam gas wells containing seven sensor measurements gathered over 15-18 months production period. For the prediction of FBHP, we applied linear regression and neural network-based approaches. Overall, neural networks resulted in the best predictions with the root mean squared error (RMSE) within 198-450 kPa for the five wells.

DOI 10.15530/ap-urtec-2019-198240
Citations Scopus - 1
2019 Mitchell T, Hill B, Firouzi M, Leonardi C, 'Development and evaluation of multiphase closure models used in the simulation of unconventional wellbore dynamics', SPE/AAPG/SEG Asia Pacific Unconventional Resources Technology Conference 2019, APUR 2019 (2019)

A detailed understanding of wellbore flow is essential for production engineers in both the design of site equipment and optimisation of operation conditions. With the depletion o... [more]

A detailed understanding of wellbore flow is essential for production engineers in both the design of site equipment and optimisation of operation conditions. With the depletion of conventional resources, the need for unconventional extraction techniques to leverage untapped reserves has seen the generation of new downhole flow conditions. In particular, the extraction of natural gas from coal seams has led to scenarios where liquid removal from the reservoir can cause the development of a counter-current multiphase flow in the well annulus in pumped wells. In this work, high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics is used to capture the momentum interaction between gas and liquid phases in such a flow configuration, allowing for the evaluation and modification of closure relations used in upscaled models. The computational fluid dynamics model is based on a recently proposed formulation developed using phase-field theory in the lattice Boltzmann (LB) framework. It has been previously applied to the analysis of Taylor bubbles in tubular and annular pipes at a range of inclinations and flow directions. The robustness of the numerical formulation has been proven with a range of benchmark scenarios that extend upon previously reported results in the LB literature. Future investigations will look to apply the developed closure relations into the two-fluid model and compare with in-house experimental and mechanistic results. Using the multiphase lattice Boltzmann model, the drag force closure relations are investigated for bubbles covering a range of parameters. This assesses the accuracy of existing closures and provides confidence in the developed computational tool. Following on from this, the size of the liquid slug behind a Taylor bubble is analysed. Comparison of the results with pre-existing relations provides a means to modify current large-scale simulators to accurately capture the momentum exchange between gas and liquid phases in a wellbore. With the improved understanding of phase interactions developed in this study, upscaling work is to be conducted through the implementation of closure models within a two-fluid-type model, not unlike OLGA, as well as in a recent mechanistic model. The novelty of the high-fidelity computational model is in its ability to resolve high density ratio (liquid-gas) flows under complex, dynamic conditions within the lattice Boltzmann framework. Additionally, the development and validation of novel closure relations for mechanistic and two-fluid models improves the accuracy of predictions associated with wellbore operations, ultimately allowing for more optimised production.

DOI 10.15530/ap-urtec-2019-198239
Citations Scopus - 2
2019 Wu B, Firouzi M, Ribeiro AS, Rufford TE, Towler B, 'Investigating the effect of salinity on counter-current two-phase flow regimes in Annuli', SPE/AAPG/SEG Asia Pacific Unconventional Resources Technology Conference 2019, APUR 2019 (2019)

In coal seam gas (CSG) operations gas and associated water enter the casing-tubing annular space of wells from multiple producing intervals, forming counter-current two-phase flow... [more]

In coal seam gas (CSG) operations gas and associated water enter the casing-tubing annular space of wells from multiple producing intervals, forming counter-current two-phase flow patterns within the wellbore. These flow patterns, or regimes, determine the pressure profile in the wellbore, influencing flow and the production efficiency. Salts such as sodium chloride (NaCl) are abundant in the formation water, and are known to inhibit the coalescence of gas bubbles within gas-liquid flows. However, the effect of salinity on all of the flow regimes and their transitions has not previously been clarified. To investigate the influence of salinity on two-phase flows we conducted experiments in an apparatus designed to resemble a pumped CSG well in Queensland, Australia consisting of 7-in casing and 23/4-in tubing. Two-phase flow regimes (homogeneous and heterogeneous) and their transition zones (homogeneous-heterogeneous and post-heterogeneous) were induced using saline solutions of up to 11,198±142 ppm, and associated differential pressure measurements recorded for comparison with results using fresh water. Formation water produced from a Queensland CSG well was also tested. Signal processing techniques (autocorrelation, power spectral density, Shannon entropy and permutation entropy) and high-speed image analysis were applied to characterize the two-phase flow regimes. Reduced bubble coalescence resulted in higher void fractions developing within saline water at equivalent flow rates to fresh water during the homogeneous regime and homogeneous to heterogeneous transition zone, with an increase in void fraction of up to 5-6%. These flow behaviours predominantly consist of small gas bubbles and so are most affected by salinity. Once the flow rates were increased and the system transitioned to heterogeneous and post-heterogeneous flow, the impact of turbulence became increasingly dominant and the effect of salinity was less significant.

DOI 10.15530/ap-urtec-2019-198228
2018 Mitchell TR, Leonardi CR, Firouzi M, Towler BF, 'Towards closure relations for the rise velocity of Taylor bubbles in annular piping using phase-field lattice Boltzmann techniques', Proceedings of the 21st Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, AFMC 2018 (2018)

Two-phase slug flow is a common phenomenon observed in oil and gas wells and pipelines. Mechanistic modelling approaches used in industry for design and monitoring rely on closure... [more]

Two-phase slug flow is a common phenomenon observed in oil and gas wells and pipelines. Mechanistic modelling approaches used in industry for design and monitoring rely on closure relations (e.g. Taylor bubble rise velocity in a stagnant fluid) to approximate phase interactions. In this work, the phase-field lattice Boltzmann method (PFLBM) originally proposed by Fakhari et al. [4] and extended to three dimensions by Mitchell et al. [10] is employed to investigate the validity of some of these closure relations. The PFLBM solves the conservative phase-field equation to capture the interfacial dynamics while resolving the hydrodynamics through a velocity-evolution LBM. To assist with model stability at high density and viscosity ratios, a weighted-multiple-relaxation-time (WMRT) operator is incorporated in the hydrodynamic scheme. The model is first validated for Taylor bubble transport in vertical pipes at a range of Morton (Mo) and Eötvös (Eo) numbers. The effect of inclination in tubular pipes is then investigated and compared with existing correlations in the literature. The study concludes with an assessment of the Taylor bubble rise velocity in annular piping with comparison to experimental results.

Citations Scopus - 4
2018 Towler B, Firouzi M, Wilkinson R, 'Australia's world scale gas resources, its markets and why new approaches are required', Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition 2018, APOGCE 2018 (2018)

Australia is uniquely positioned globally as a major energy provider, but this comes with multiple challenges that must be overcome to realize its full potential. LNG developments... [more]

Australia is uniquely positioned globally as a major energy provider, but this comes with multiple challenges that must be overcome to realize its full potential. LNG developments that are nearing fruition are set to make Australia the largest supplier of LNG in the world. The Asian LNG market continues to be the growth market. The development of the world's first coal bed methane (coal seam gas) to LNG projects on the east coast has created a robust east coast LNG export market, which in the near future is expected to coincide with domestic energy shortages arising from low exploration activity, maturing fields, higher costs, the interaction of government policy, commercial decisions and activism. As a result, unique approaches to project management and community relations have been developed that are complementary to the Australian consumer's needs for reliable, affordable and cleaner energy. The east coast demand for gas is likely to trigger new development of onshore Northern Territory gas in the short term, if political opposition can be managed. In Western Australia, new approaches leverage technologies such as floating LNG, and more utilization of existing infrastructure and plant capacity to achieve lower costs. This paper outlines Australia's natural gas supply & demand and the challenges to be faced in the coming years.

DOI 10.2118/191895-ms
Citations Scopus - 1
2018 Wu B, Firouzi M, Rufford TE, Towler B, 'Mitigating the failure of downhole pumps due to gas interference in coal seam gas wells', Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition 2018, APOGCE 2018 (2018)

Coal seam gas (CSG) well operators typically follow an industry rule of thumb 0.5 ft/s liquid velocity to prevent the onset of gas carryover during CSG dewatering operations. Howe... [more]

Coal seam gas (CSG) well operators typically follow an industry rule of thumb 0.5 ft/s liquid velocity to prevent the onset of gas carryover during CSG dewatering operations. However, there is very little experimental data to validate this rule of thumb with only a publication by Sutton, Christiansen, Skinner and Wilson [1] available in the open literature. A review of more general studies on two-phase gas-water flows in vertical pipes and annuli revealed that experimental conditions, especially pipe and annuli diameters, can have a significant impact on development of two-phase flow phenomena. As such, the limited available data may not be applicable due to differences in experimental conditions. This study experimentally investigates the onset of gas carryover using an experimental setup intended specifically for the study of CSG wells. The University of Queensland Well Simulation Flow Facilities were designed to replicate as closely as possible the production zone of a typical vertical CSG well in Queensland, Australia in transparent acrylic pipes to observe two-phase flow behavior in simulated downhole conditions. The annular test section in the rig was constructed of a 7-in casing and 2¾-in tubing. Modification of the experimental setup to include a vertical separator allowed for the detection of gas carryover. Conceptual demonstrations of gas carryover were captured and have been illustrated. The experiments in this study validate the industry rule of thumb of 0.5 ft/s liquid velocity as an appropriate guideline for onset of gas carryover in a casing-tubing annulus dimension similar to a typical CSG well in Queensland.

DOI 10.2118/191910-ms
Citations Scopus - 1
2016 Towler BF, Firouzi M, Holl HG, Gandhi R, Thomas A, 'Field trials of plugging oil and gas wells with hydrated bentonite', Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition 2016 (2016)

Many field trials have been conducted to explore the effectiveness of using hydrated bentonite as a sealing material for plugging and abandoning (P&A) operations of oil and ga... [more]

Many field trials have been conducted to explore the effectiveness of using hydrated bentonite as a sealing material for plugging and abandoning (P&A) operations of oil and gas wells. Many of those trials are reviewed here, including trials in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Queensland, most of which have not been previously reported. All of these trials have been successful, even though a few wells have been eliminated from the programs because they were found to be unsuitable. In most jurisdictions regulation changes are necessary to allow bentonite to be used in order to plug wells. This has been done in California, Texas and Oklahoma. In Wyoming it is currently permitted as the bottom plug in coal-bed methane wells. In Queensland a field trial has been allowed under the experimental materials clause in the regulations.

DOI 10.2118/182199-ms
Citations Scopus - 3
2015 Towler BF, Firouzi M, Mortezapour A, Hywel-Evans PD, 'Plugging CSG wells with bentonite: Review and preliminary lab results', Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Asia Pacific Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition (2015)

Oil and gas wells are required to be plugged when the production of these wells is no longer economical. Cement is the current standard method for plugging wells. However, this pr... [more]

Oil and gas wells are required to be plugged when the production of these wells is no longer economical. Cement is the current standard method for plugging wells. However, this process has limitations because cement is expensive and prone to cracking and unsealing. This paper aims to review and investigate the use of a naturally occurring clay called bentonite to plug CSG wells in Queensland as well as oil and gas wells in general. Bentonite is cheaper and easier to handle and when hydrated it creates a more reliable plug because it is malleable and self-healing when disturbed. We also experimentally and theoretically investigate the mechanisms for failure of bentonite plugs. The plug failure mechanisms can be determined by comparing the measured dislodgement pressure and the predictions of the theory developed in our group. Based on our preliminary results we found that the hydrated plugs can be made significantly stronger by restricting the expansion space. This allowed us to measure the internal swelling pressure at 8 MPa which corresponded to measurements reported in the literature at a reduced density of 1.6755 g/cm3.

DOI 10.2118/176987-ms
Citations Scopus - 3
2015 Firouzi M, Towler BF, Rufford TE, 'Mechanistic modelling of counter-current slug flows in vertical annuli', Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Asia Pacific Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition (2015)

A range of mathematical models and correlations is used to estimate the pressure drop for co-current two-phase flows in vertical wells in the conventional oil and gas industry. Ho... [more]

A range of mathematical models and correlations is used to estimate the pressure drop for co-current two-phase flows in vertical wells in the conventional oil and gas industry. However, in the annulus between casing and tubing of a coal seam gas (CSG) well, the upward flow of gas and downward flow of water results in counter-current two-phase flows. The flow regimes developed in such a counter-current system are noticeably different to co-current flow regimes, and thus the existing models used to predict pressure profiles in co-current wells do not adequately describe two phase flows in a (pumped) CSG well. In this study, we modified existing mechanistic models for co-current flow and counter-current flow in a pipe to predict liquid holdup and pressure profiles of counter-current flows in vertical annuli for the slug flow, which is the dominant flow regime. A model, based on the work of Taitel and Barnea (1983), was also developed to predict the transition from slug flow to annular flow in counter-current flows in annuli. Our comparison of the pressure profiles of co-current and counter-current flows in annuli for the slug flow regime indicates that the pressure loss of counter-current flows could be appreciably different to that in co-current flows under the same conditions. This highlights the need to modify the models that are currently applied in typical commercial well flow simulators to better predict the pressure drop across CSG wells.

DOI 10.2118/176885-ms
Citations Scopus - 4
2008 Firouzi M, Hashemabadi SH, 'Analytical solution for rheological properties effects on two-phase stratified flow through the pipes', THEORETICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL ASPECTS OF CONTINUUM MECHANICS, Univ Cambridge, Cambridge, ENGLAND (2008)
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Patent (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Firouzi M, Rudolph V, Greenway B, Method for dewatering and operating coal seam gas wells (2020)

Thesis / Dissertation (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
Firouzi M, Drainage and stability of foam films during bubble coalescence in aqueous salt solutions,
DOI 10.14264/uql.2015.53
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 12
Total funding $3,554,734

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20203 grants / $1,106,295

Development of next generation smart sucker rod wear guides$660,295

Funding body: ARC Linkage Partners

Funding body ARC Linkage Partners
Project Team

Dr Michael Heitzmann, Prof Darren Martin, Dr Mahshid Firouzi and Dr Byron Villacorta Hernandez

Scheme ARC Linkage
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2023
GNo
Type Of Funding C1200 - Aust Competitive - ARC
Category 1200
UON N

Dynamic characterisation of foam structure and drainage under a wide range of pressure and temperature$346,000

Funding body: One UQ Research Infrastructure Investment Scheme

Funding body One UQ Research Infrastructure Investment Scheme
Project Team

Dr Mahshid Firouzi, Emeritus Victor Rudolph, Prof Jason Stokes, Prof Anh Nguyen, ...

Scheme One UQ Research Infrastructure Investment Scheme,
Role Lead
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2021
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Smart wear guide detection system$100,000

Funding body: Innovation Connections

Funding body Innovation Connections
Project Team

Dr M. Heitzmann, Dr B.V. Hernandez, Dr M. Firouzi & Dr L. Vandi

Scheme Innovation Connections
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2020
GNo
Type Of Funding C2200 - Aust Commonwealth – Other
Category 2200
UON N

20195 grants / $1,254,000

Enhanced productivity of coal seam gas wells by continuous gas circulation $428,000

Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)

Funding body ARC (Australian Research Council)
Project Team

Dr Mahshid Firouzi, Emeritus Prof Victor Rudolph, Prof Anh Nguyen and Prof Brian Towler

Scheme Linkage Projects
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2021
GNo
Type Of Funding C1200 - Aust Competitive - ARC
Category 1200
UON N

Optical Equipment for Advanced Thermofluid Measurements$396,000

Funding body: The University of Queensland

Funding body The University of Queensland
Project Team

Dr A. Veeraragavan, … Dr M. Firouzi, et al.,

Scheme UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Enhancing well deliverability and reducing work-over cost using big data predictive analytics $392,000

Funding body: National Energy Resources Australia (NERA)

Funding body National Energy Resources Australia (NERA)
Project Team

Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2021
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

Use of Distributed Acoustic Fibre Optic Sensing In In-Situ Measurement of Multiphase Flow Dynamics $38,000

Funding body: The University of Queensland

Funding body The University of Queensland
Project Team

Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Scheme Early Career Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Multiphase and multicomponent modelling of bubble and suspension transport in CSG production$0

Funding body: Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

Funding body Pawsey Supercomputing Centre
Project Team

Dr Chris Leonardi and Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Scheme Pawsey Supercomputing Centre
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding C1700 - Aust Competitive - Other
Category 1700
UON N

20181 grants / $0

Multiphase and multiscale modelling of gas-liquid-particle transport in CSG reservoirs and wells $0

Funding body: Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

Funding body Pawsey Supercomputing Centre
Project Team

Dr Chris Leonardi, A/Prof Tom Rufford, Prof Brian Towler and Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Scheme Pawsey Supercomputing Centre
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

20172 grants / $812,439

Enhancing CSG well production through well bottom-hole pressure control$459,232

CSG provides 90% of Queensland¿s natural gas and is a fast growing energy source and global export. CSG extraction is associated with production of a significant amount of water, which is removed to reduce the flowing bottom-hole pressure (FBHP) to enhance well production. Reducing the FBHP and therefore abandonment pressure (AP) (the point where the production of CSG wells is no longer economic) increases the CSG recovery factor (RF). Given Queensland¿s 42020 PJ 2P(proved and probable) CSG reserves, reducing the AP by 10% would lead to 3% increase of RF, resulting in additional annual royalties of $39.5 million to the State government. This project aims to develop novel mathematical models to precisely estimate the FBHP in CSG wells to replace the available models in industry simulators, which were designed for conventional wells. More accurate modelling will assist companies to enhance gas production with reduced cost and environmental impact. This project is supported by APLNG, Arrow, QGC (Shell) and Santos with Arrow as the lead company contributing to the project by providing technical advice, field data for models validation and evaluation of the project outcomes. This helps to ensure that the technology addresses the real unsolved needs of the CSG industry.

Funding body: Advance Queensland Research Fellowsship

Funding body Advance Queensland Research Fellowsship
Project Team

Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Scheme Queensland Government Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2020
GNo
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210
UON N

Improving run-time of PC-Pumps through torque data analytics$353,207

Funding body: Industry funded

Funding body Industry funded
Project Team

Dr M. Firouzi, Prof B. Towler and Dr S. Singh

Scheme APLNG, Arrow Energy, Santos
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Contract - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFC
UON N

20151 grants / $382,000

Mathematical modelling of wellbore pressure profiles in CSG (pumped) wells$382,000

Funding body: QGC Pty Limited

Funding body QGC Pty Limited
Project Team

Prof Brian Towler, Dr Mahshid Firouzi and A/Prof Tom Rufford

Scheme QGC Pty Limited
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed8
Current2

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2019 PhD Skid-based transportable plant for PFAS contaminated site remediation Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland Co-Supervisor
2018 PhD Investigation of the dynamic foam flow in vertical pipes for sustainable production of unconventional gas Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland Principal Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2021 Masters Economic optimization of gas turbine-compressor operation in a LNG plant Information Technology, The University of Queensland Co-Supervisor
2021 PhD Abandonment of economically depleted coal seam gas wells with bentonite Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland Co-Supervisor
2020 PhD Quantification of fluidization and bubble-particle collision interaction in a HydroFloat cel Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland Co-Supervisor
2019 PhD Development of a multiphase lattice Boltzmann model for high-density and viscosity ratio flows in unconventional gas wells Mechanical Engineering, The University of Queensland Co-Supervisor
2019 PhD Experimental study of counter-current two-phase flows in annuli Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland Principal Supervisor
2019 Masters Analysis of Multiphase Flow Patterns in Vertical Pipes with the Help of CFD Simulations Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland Sole Supervisor
2017 Masters Plugging coal seam gas wells with bentonite Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland Co-Supervisor
2016 Masters Identifying flow regimes of counter-current two-phase flow in annuli Chemical Engineering, Technical University of Bergakademie Freiberg Co-Supervisor
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Dr Mahshid Firouzi

Position

Senior Lecturer
School of Engineering
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Contact Details

Email mahshid.firouzi@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4033 9364

Office

Room NIER A-238
Building NIER A
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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