Professor Stephan Matthai

  • Room: Level: 02 Room: 205a
  • Building: Engineering Block B
  • Campus: Parkville

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. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Matthai, SK.; Ranjith, PG.; Dong-yin, L. Modelling of fully-coupled CO<inf>2</inf> diffusion and adsorption-induced coal matrix swelling. Fuel. Elsevier BV. 2020, Vol. 262, pp. 116486-116486. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2019.116486
  2. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK.; Tao, X.; Wu, B. Application of neural networks and fuzzy systems for the intelligent prediction of CO2-induced strength alteration of coal. Measurement. ELSEVIER SCI LTD. 2019, Vol. 135, pp. 47-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.measurement.2018.11.031
  3. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Li, D-Y.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK. Characterization of dynamic mechanical alterations of supercritical CO2-interacted coal through gamma-ray attenuation, ultrasonic and X-ray computed tomography techniques. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. 2019, Vol. 174, pp. 268-280. DOI: 10.1016/j.petrol.2018.11.044
  4. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK. CO2 interaction induced mechanical characteristics alterations in coal: A review. International Journal of Coal Geology. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. 2019, Vol. 204, pp. 113-129. DOI: 10.1016/j.coal.2019.02.004
  5. Ahamed, MAA.; Perera, MSA.; Matthai, SK.; Ranjith, PG.; Li, D-Y. Coal composition and structural variation with rank and its influence on the coal-moisture interactions under coal seam temperature conditions - A review article. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. Elsevier. 2019, Vol. 180, pp. 901-917. DOI: 10.1016/j.petrol.2019.06.007
  6. Sedaghat, M.; Azizmohammadi, S.; Matthäi, SK. Does the symmetry of absolute permeability influence relative permeability tensors in naturally fractured rocks?. Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s13202-019-00756-9
  7. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Elsworth, D.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK.; Rathnaweera, T.; Zhang, G. Effect of coal maturity on CO2-based hydraulic fracturing process in coal seam gas reservoirs. Fuel. ELSEVIER SCI LTD. 2019, Vol. 236, pp. 179-189. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2018.08.150
  8. Shao, Q.; Matthai, SK.; Gross, L. Efficient modelling of solute transport in heterogeneous media with discrete event simulation. Journal of Computational Physics. ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE. 2019, Vol. 384, pp. 134-150. DOI: 10.1016/
  9. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Li, DY.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK. Evaluation of the mechanical behaviour of brine+CO2 saturated brown coal under mono-cyclic uni-axial compression. Engineering Geology. Elsevier BV. 2019, Vol. 263, pp. 105312-105312. DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2019.105312
  10. Ahamed, MAA.; Perera, MSA.; Li, D-Y.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK. Proppant damage mechanisms in coal seam reservoirs during the hydraulic fracturing process: A review. Fuel. Elsevier. 2019, Vol. 253, pp. 615-629. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2019.04.166
  11. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK.; Li, D-Y. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the alteration of micro-fracture characteristics of supercritical CO2-interacted coal. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. 2019, Vol. 147, pp. 90-101. DOI: 10.1016/j.supflu.2019.02.014
  12. Chen, SJ.; Chen, WQ.; Ouyang, Y.; Matthai, S.; Zhang, L. Transitions between nanomechanical and continuum mechanical contacts: new insights from liquid structure.. Nanoscale. Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). 2019, Vol. 11, Issue 47, pp. 22954-22963. DOI: 10.1039/c9nr07180f
  13. Matthai, SK.; Sedaghat, M.; Agheshlui, H. Aperture modelling for the flow-based determination of fracture-matrix ensemble saturation functions for naturally fractured reservoirs. 3rd EAGE Workshop on Naturally Fractured Reservoirs. 2018, Vol. 2018-February.
  14. Sampath, KHSM.; Perera, MSA.; Elsworth, D.; Ranjith, PG.; Matthai, SK.; Rathnaweera, T. Experimental Investigation on the Mechanical Behavior of Victorian Brown Coal under Brine Saturation. Energy & Fuels. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2018, Vol. 32, Issue 5, pp. 5799-5811. DOI: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.8b00577
  15. Patterson, JW.; Driesner, T.; Matthai, S.; Tomlinson, R. Heat and Fluid Transport Induced by Convective Fluid Circulation Within a Fracture or Fault. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION. 2018, Vol. 123, Issue 4, pp. 2658-2673. DOI: 10.1002/2017JB015363
  16. Patterson, JW.; Driesner, T.; Matthai, SK. Self-Organizing Fluid Convection Patterns in an en Echelon Fault Array. Geophysical Research Letters. AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION. 2018, Vol. 45, Issue 10, pp. 4799-4808. DOI: 10.1029/2018GL078271
  17. Agheshlui, H.; Sedaghat, MH.; Matthai, S. Stress Influence on Fracture Aperture and Permeability of Fragmented Rocks. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION. 2018, Vol. 123, Issue 5, pp. 3578-3592. DOI: 10.1029/2017JB015365
  18. Sedaghat, MS.; Matthai, SM.; Azizmohammadi, SA. Tensorial fracture-matrix ensemble relative permeabilities in naturally fractured reservoirs: Evidence from discrete fracture and matrix simulations. 3rd EAGE Workshop on Naturally Fractured Reservoirs. 2018, Vol. 2018-February.
  19. Revil, A.; Ahmed, AS.; Matthai, S. Transport of water and ions in partially water-saturated porous media. Part 3. Electrical conductivity. Advances in Water Resources. ELSEVIER SCI LTD. 2018, Vol. 121, pp. 97-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2018.08.007
  20. Milliotte, C.; Jonoud, S.; Wennberg, OP.; Matthaei, SK.; Jurkiw, A.; Mosser, L. Well-data-based discrete fracture and matrix modelling and flow-based upscaling of multilayer carbonate reservoir horizons. . GEOLOGICAL SOC PUBLISHING HOUSE. 2018, Vol. 459, pp. 191-210. DOI: 10.1144/SP459.7

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