Professor Sheik   Rahman

Professor Sheik Rahman

Minerals and Energy Resources


Sheik S Rahman is a Professor at the School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, UNSW and a leading researcher in the areas of special core analysis, enhanced oil and gas recovery, fractured reservoir simulation, application of AI in petroleum exploration and production, geothermal energy development from hot rocks and gas production from coal-seams and shales.

 Biography / Professional Service

  • Professor (since 2006) - School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Industry Consultant
  • PhD (1984) in Petroleum Engineering( Institut Fuer Tiefbohr Technik, Erd Oel und Erd Gas Gewinnung, Technische Universitaet, Clausthal, Germany)
  • MEngSc (1980) Marine Technology, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK
  • BSc (1974) Mechanical Engineering, Chittagong University, Bangladesh

Membership of Professional Bodies

  1. Fellow of Institute Engineers Australia
  2. Member Society of Petroleum Engineers

Research Interests:

  1. Fluid Flow Simulation and fractured reservoirs: Multi phase flow simulation of porous fractured reservoirs by discrete fracture approach in THMC (thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical) frame work. Outputs of these research are directly applicable to the development of reservoirs which otherwise couldn’t have been developed by conventional drilling and completion techniques (coal bed methane, tight gas, fractured basement reservoirs, fractured carbonate reservoirs and geothermal reservoirs).
  2. Smart water flooding: pore scale modelling and laboratory study of rock surface and wetting phase interaction and resulting wettability alteration;  upscaling of pore scale wettability model to core scale and estimation of relative permeability and oil recovery from porous fractured reservoirs and upscaling  to field scale for planning and evaluation of water flood and chemical EOU projects.
  3. Hydraulic and acid fracturing: laboratory studies of material behaviour and its effect on fracture propagation, modelling single and multi-stage fracturing from horizontal well bores (in THMC frame work) in tight gas sands, brittle-ductile shale formations and coal seam gas reservoirs and acid fracturing of carbonate reservoirs.
  4. Enhance gas production from coal seams by methanogens: develop a detailed understanding of how direct electron transfer to methanogens operates,  assess the utility of the technology across a broad range of coal types in laboratory tests, and explore the impact of increased temperature and pressure on enhanced methane production from coal in laboratory and field tests.
  5. Well design: THM analysis of wellbore stability and selection of optimum mud weight and mud chemicals for wells in reactive formations, well design for deep waters, high pressure and high temperature cementing, well control at high temperature and high pressure and formation damage analysis well deign to prevent sand production.

Links with Other Academic Bodies

Professor Rahman is also part of the Australian Energy Research Institute (AERI) at UNSW. AERI is a sustainable think tank that focuses on transforming energy research into practical applications and is located within the Tyree Energy Technologies Building at the UNSW Kensington campus.

 Research Team

  1. Prof. Sheik S Rahman, Team leader (PhD, T U Clausthal, Germany, 1984)
  2. Prof. Steve Tyson, subsurface modelling, UQ (PhD, University of New South Wales)
  3. Dr. Zhixi Chen, Lecturer UNSW (Geo-mechnics, PhD, from University of Petroleum, PR China)
  4. Dr Fengde Zhou, Post Doc., UQ (Petroleum Geophysicist, PhD from Uhan University, PRChina)
  5. Dr. Liuqi Wang, Senior Scientist (geophysicist), Geoscience Australia (PhD from UNSW, 2000)

 Research Capability

Professor Rahman conducts research on a wide range of areas covering drilling and completion, simulation of fluid flow and heat transfer and stimulation of fractured reservoirs. The group has developed leading edge laboratory and computational facilities for fundamental and applied research.

The laboratory facilities:

  • API standard equipment as well as high pressure high temperature equipment to evaluate performance properties of drilling fluid and cement additives.
  • High pressure and high temperature equipment (dynamic filtration apparatus) to study formation damage mechanism under simulated wellbore circulation, bottom-hole temperature and pressure. This facility also allows us to study near wellbore acid treatment/stimulation under simulated wellbore and down hole conditions.
  • Advanced electronic microscopy, analytical equipment and other specialised facilities are used to study the effect of mud chemistry on the microscopic structure of mud-cake and mud caking process, which control water loss, and fluid-rock interaction at the pore level. 
  • Equipment and facility to study effects of mud weight, fluid composition (chemical), fluid flow (physical) on Borehole Stability under simulated wellbore and bottom-hole conditions.
  • High pressure and high temperature fluid displacement test cells and associated equipment to study Multi Phase Behaviour in tight and fractured rocks.
  • High precision Tri-axial Testing facility to study rocks mechanical behaviour under in-situ condition and fracture initiation and propagation behaviour in both homogeneous and fractured rock system.
  • Research team has access to School’s mcro-CT (computer aided x-ray tomography) and NMR facility to study (1) changes micro-structure under compound loading, (2) fracture propagation and interaction behaviour under tri-axial loading, characterisation of fracture surface roughness and its influence on residual aperture retention by induced fluid pressure, (3) characterisation microstructure shale and coal seam gas reservoir and (4) wettability of water, oil and gas phases.

 Computational facilities:

Research team has access to standard work stations, parallel computation and super computers with a wide range of analysis and simulation packages including:

  • Full scale drilling simulation (DrillSim and MudSim) to study drilling processes, material and chemical additives for improving drilling performance.
  • Genesis 2000, a data management and drilling design simulator to develop directonal well path casing design drilling program.
  • Geology and geo-statistical modelling (Geoframe, RMS and Geocard including GEOCAD (groups own developed software)) to characterise reservoir rock, stress and natural fractures.
  • BORECAD (group’s own developed software) to study fluid rock interaction and its effect on wellbore stability under simulated Hydro-Thermo-Mech-Chemo (HTMC) environment.
  • 3D-FLOWSIM (group’s own developed software) to study multiphase flow in fractured reservoir under Poro-Thermo-Elastic-Elastoplastic environment
  • Ansays and 3D-FracPlan (group’s own developed software) to study (1) rock fracturing process (multiple fractures from horizontal wellbore) in low permeable, brittle to ductile environment and (2) reservoir stimulation by shear displacement due to fluid induced pressure.
61 2 9385 5659/5192
Room 212, Level 2, Tyree Energy Technologies Building (Bldg H6). UNSW Kensington Campus Sydney NSW 2052 Australia
  • Journal articles | 1997
    Khan MA; Idriss Ali KM; Shafiur Rahman M, 1997, 'Swelling and thermal conductivity of wood and wood-plastic composite', Polymer - Plastics Technology and Engineering, vol. 36, pp. 179 - 187,
  • Conference Papers | 2015
    Bazunu G; Rahman SS; Zhou FD; Wang L, 2015, 'Geomechanical characterization of shale gas reservoir rocks for planning and design of stimulation treatment: A Cooper Basin case study', in Society of Petroleum Engineers - Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, URTeC 2015,