PROF Stephan Matthai

PROF Stephan Matthai


  • 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)



  • 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 t   


Member of

  • European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). contributing member: steering committees etc. 2011 - 2015
  • Society for Industrial Applications of Mathematics (SIAM). standard professional membership 2005 - 2015
  • Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). contributing, active, member: shortcourses, conferences etc. 2004 - 2015
  • The Geological Society of London (GeolSoc). standard professional membership 2004 - 2015
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU). standard professional membership 1985 - 2015


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • From 2002 to 2014, SKM lead an industry consortium on the “Improved Simulation of Fractured and Faulted Reservoirs.” He initiated this JIP in 2001 together with Martin Blunt at Imperial College London and in response to a call by the UK industry technology facilitator (itf). Since 2009, Heriot Watt University and the Montanuniversitaet of Leoben, Austria, were also part of it. His team also contributes to another (itf) project, the IRT-MODE consortium (2012-2015) on the “Integrated reactive transport modelling of dolomite evolution.” at Bristol University, UK. Its research objectives prompted a new strategic liaison with the GEMS reactive transport modelling software group at the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland. In 2012, with BRIDGE1 funding from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the OMV oil company, his team started the implementation of a simulator matching the EU’s requirements for geological carbon storage forecasting, including a discrete event simulation (DES) module for multiphase fluid flow and chemical reactions. This project will come to completion in 2015. The “Sun-Storage Lehen” European consortium (2013-present) is a field trial of hydrogen storage in a former gas reservoir, and SKM’s team investigates the performance of this engineered system. Since 2014, SKM also contributes to the Swiss National Fund supported, “Modelling permeability and stimulation processes for deep heat mining.” project that is part of the larger research initiative on geothermal energy extraction with the collaborators T. Driesner (ETHZ) and. R. Krause (Supercomputing Centre Lugano, Switzerland).   


Education and training

  • Prof., Conseil National des Universités 2005
  • PD, Stanford University 1995
  • PD, Cornell University 1994
  • PhD, Australian National University 1994

Awards and honors

  • Governor's Lectureship, Imperial College London, 1999


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Reservoir Engineering represents an applied scientific discipline that is crucial for the human condition in the twenty-first century: (1) it guarantees the supply and efficient recovery of natural energy resources; (2) it offers the expertise to create a carbon-neutral economy; and (3) it could improve the management of the world’s fresh water supply and its protection from pollutants. Whether it will live up to these high expectations depends on how many bright undergraduates it will be able to attract and the problem-solving skills it will be able to equip these with. The University of Melbourne is in a favourable position to assume a leadership role in undergraduate /graduate education and research in reservoir engineering world-wide. Each new team member can contribute to this longterm goal. Own research activities are sponsored by international companies (AmaradaHess, BP, BG, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Hydro, OMV, PetroCanada, RAG, Shell, Statoil, SaudiAramco, Total), Golder Associates. Government awarded research funding and income from commercial applications of the original software “Complex Systems Modelling Platform” (CSMP++) makes up the rest. CSMP is now available as a commercial finite element - finite volume software tool with an application programmer interface and an international developer and user community; contributions are welcome. Graduate students and postdocs contributing to our activities have backgrounds including applied mathematics, computer science, computational fluid dynamics, C++ programming, finite-element modeling, reservoir engineering, and earth science. Intensive training ascertains that new team members communicate effectively, and the joint broad level of expertise allows us to address many specific reservoir characterisation and enhanced recovery questions with a short turnaround time. Apart from valuable experience, this facilitates an inside view of current industry workflows and opportunities for internships and em