PetroPhase2021 (Virtual)

The 21st International Conference on Petroleum Phase Behavior and Fouling

June 7-9

Content available online through July







About the Event

PetroPhase is a major international, technical conference for scientists and field engineers to exchange research on the chemistries, properties, phase behaviors, upgrading, and fouling issues etc. of petroleum. Since 1999, PetroPhase has been held 20 times rotating locations each year among different continents or countries. Over 200 participants regularly attend the conference, During the conference, keynotes, podium and poster presentations from invited or selected speakers by the technical committee are presented from six different technical themes including petroleum chemistry and properties, flow assurance, upgrading and fouling, emulsion and interfacial phenomena, unconventional resources and enhanced oil recovery.

The 21st conference PetroPhase2021 will be held online for the first time, during June 7 – July 7, 2021 with live events on June 7–9. We hope that you will reconnect with your colleagues, make new acquaintances, listen to the latest research in your fields, and engage stimulating discussions during the virtual conference. We are looking forward to a great conference despite the ongoing pandemic.

Keynote Speakers

For more information on speakers, click images below.

Emulsion and Interfacial Phenomena

Professor Lamia Goual - University of Wyoming "Microscopic Perspectives on Interfacial Phenomena in Petroleum Systems"

Professor Lamia Goual (Wyoming University)

Title: Microscopic Perspectives on Interfacial Phenomena in Petroleum Systems


Dr. Lamia Goual is an Associate Professor in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Wyoming and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Energy Resources. She received her MS and PhD degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Imperial College London. Dr. Goual’s research interests are in colloid and interface science, nanotechnology, and flow through porous media with applications to hydrocarbon recovery, flow assurance, remediation of contaminated aquifers, geological storage of greenhouse gases, and carbon engineering. She is particularly interested in intermolecular and surface interactions, wetting phenomena, functional materials, and structure-function relationships. Her fundamental understanding of microscopic phenomena in petroleum systems has numerous implications to complex processes at larger scales. She has authored 45 peer-reviewed journal publications, 2 book chapters, 2 patents, and mentored over 20 graduate students. Dr. Goual is the recipient of the Institute of Petroleum Prize (1998), the NSF CAREER Award (2014), and the A.J. Castagne Professorship (2016).

Flow Assurance

Dr. Zhongxin Huo - Shell "Bridging Flow Assurance with Other Disciplines"

Dr. Zhongxin Huo (Shell)

Title: Bridging Flow Assurance with Other Disciplines


Zhongxin Huo started his flow assurance specialist career in Shell in 2005. His current role in Shell is the FA-PC (flow assurance and production chemistry) technology deployment lead for the Deepwater Technology group, responsible for FAPC technology deployment and replication in GoM deep water producing assets. Zhongxin is also Shell’s subject matter expert in asphaltenes since 2009. In the SME role, in addition to deliver significant value, he is leading a comprehensive technology development program, and is responsible to develop Shell’s global asphaltene management strategy.

Prior to Shell he worked for Schlumberger in Houston and Edmonton for 3 years. He holds a PhD from the Colorado School of Mines under the supervision of Professor Dendy Sloan.

Petroleum Chemistry

Dr. Scott Horton - ExxonMobil "Heavy Oil Compositional Modeling at ExxonMobil"

Dr. Scott Horton (ExxonMobil)

Title: Heavy Oil Compositional Modeling at ExxonMobil


Scott Horton is a Senior Researcher at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia and graduated with a PhD at the University of Delaware with Michael Klein in 2016. He has worked in kinetic modeling of complex systems for the past 9 years in areas ranging from the gasification of biomass and plastics to more conventional refining, and has published 19 peer-reviewed journal articles. He now works on compositional modeling of heavy oil conversion processes.

Petroleum Properties

Professor Michael Hoepfner - University of Utah "Basic and Applied Scientific Challenges Toward Understanding Asphaltene Properties"

Professor Mike Hoepfner (University of Utah)

Title: Basic and Applied Scientific Challenges Toward Understanding Asphaltene Properties


Michael P. Hoepfner is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah. He completed his BS degree at the University of Utah and PhD at the University of Michigan, both in chemical engineering. Prof. Hoepfner’s research focuses on the interaction and assembly of complex molecules in the liquid phase, and frequently visits national and international facilities labs to perform neutron and X-ray scattering experiments. Prof. Hoepfner is currently the Chair of the Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance (UEFA) Forum of AIChE, Co-Chaired the 2018 PetroPhase Conference, and received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. In addition, Prof. Hoepfner’s research interests also include petroleum phase behavior, deposition and aggregation processes, modeling-based studies, molecular simulations, nanoparticle self-assembly, and heterogeneous catalysis.

Subsurface Conventional and Unconventional Resources

Dr. Oliver Mullins - Schlumberger "From Nanometers to 100 Kilometers; Fundamentals and Applications of Asphaltene Science"

Dr. Oliver C. Mullins (Schlumberger)

Title: From Nanometers to 100 kilometers; Fundamentals and Applications of Asphaltene Science


Dr. Oliver C. Mullins is a Schlumberger Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He is leading a newly discipline “reservoir fluid geodynamics” (RFG) utilizing Downhole Fluid Analysis (DFA) and asphaltene science for novel reservoir evaluation. RFG accounts for processes dictating fluid and tar distributions in oilfield reservoirs. He led the inception and development of DFA in well logging. Dr. Mullins also leads an active research group in petroleum science leading to the Yen-Mullins model of asphaltenes and the Flory-Huggins-Zuo Equation of State. He has won several awards including the George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the SPWLA Gold Medal for Technical Achievement and an SPE Regional Formation Evaluation Award. He has been Distinguished Lecturer 7 times for SPWLA and SPE (currently for SPE). His latest book was just released on “Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics and Reservoir Evaluation”. He authored the award-winning book on DFA, coedited 3 books and coauthored 14 chapters on asphaltenes and related topics. He has coauthored 280 publications, ~½ on petroleum science, ~½ on oilfield applications, and has coinvented 131 allowed US patents. He has accumulated 20,000 citations on Google Scholar to his work. He is Fellow of two professional societies and is Adjunct Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University.

Upgrading & Fouling

Dr. Cesar Ovalles - Chevron "Subsurface Upgrading of Heavy Crude Oils and Bitumen"

Dr. Cesar Ovalles (Chevron Energy Technology Company)

Title: Subsurface Upgrading of Heavy Crude Oils and Bitumen


Cesar Ovalles is Technical Team Leader at Chevron Energy Technology Company located in Richmond, California.  He has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Simon Bolivar University and Ph.D. in the same field from Texas A&M University.  He worked for 16 years at Petróleos de Venezuela Sociedad Anónima-Instituto de Tecnología Venezolano del Petróleo (PDVSA–INTEVEP). In 2006, he joined Chevron to work in R&D in petroleum chemistry and characterization of heavy and extra-heavy crude oils and their fractions. He is also involved in new methods for the analysis of asphaltenes and R&D in the chemistry of heavy and extra-heavy crude oil upgrading processes. He currently supervises a 7-member team in a variety of projects. After his thirty-three years of industrial experience, Cesar has published 62 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, four books and has been awarded 18 patents. He has also presented 120 papers at scientific and technical conferences.


See Full Agenda

All times US Eastern

Monday June 7


Microscopic Perspectives on Interfacial Phenomena in Petroleum Systems

Lamia Goual, Wyoming University


Bridging Flow Assurance with Other Disciplines

Zhongxin Huo, Shell




Impact of Asphaltene Structure and Chemical Functionality on Emulsion Stability, Emulsion Ageing, and Aggregation

Ryan Rodgers, Florida State Univ., US

Analogues for Live Oil in Assessment of Asphaltenes and Paraffin Wax Precipitation Risk

Andrew Farrell, Scaled Solutions, UK


Tuning Viscoelasticity at Crude Oil-water interface: Implications on Emulsion Stability

Sharath Mahavadi, Schlumberger, US

New NMR approaches on the quantification of wax-inhibitor interactions in crude oils

George Claudiu Savulescu, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology, NO


Using the oscillatory spinning drop interfacial rheology technique as a tool to select demulsifiers according to their emulsion breaking performance at optimum formulation (HLDN=0)

Ronald Marquez, Universidad de los Andes, VE

Real-time Chemical Sensing Enhances Asphaltene Management

John Lovell, MicroSilicon Inc, US


Impact of Asphaltene Inhibitors on the Elasticity of a Crude Oil-Water Interface and its Correlation to Demulsification under Desalting Conditions

Peter Perez, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, US

Performance of a diamond-like-carbon coating for solids management in production systems

John Ratulowski, John Ratulowski Consulting, LLC., US


Probing the interactions between Pickering emulsion droplets with pH-responsive nanoparticles

Xiaohui Mao, Univ. of Alberta, CA

Case Study: Investigation of the performance of an asphaltene inhibitor in the laboratory and the field

Priyanka Juyal, ChampionX, US


Role of Solvent in the Stability of Water-in-Heavy Oil Emulsions

Harvey Yarranton, Univ. of Calgary, CA

Wax Deposition Characterization Under Flowing Conditions Using an Oscillatory Flow Setup

Amadeu Sum, Colorado School of Mines, US





Tuesday June 8


Heavy Oil Compositional Modeling at ExxonMobil

Scott Horton, ExxonMobil


From Nanometers to 100 kilometers; Fundamentals and Applications of Asphaltene Science

Oliver Mullins, Schlumberger




Synthetic Asphaltene Model Compound Looks Like Real Asphaltene

Masato Morimoto, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, JP

Effect of Confined PVT on Enhanced Oil Recovery in Unconventional Reservoirs: Convergence, Isotropic, and Miscible Behaviors

Bita Bayestehparvin, Schlumberger, US


Petroleum Refining Optimization by Molecular Management

Linzhou Zhang, China Univ. of Petroleum, CN

Non-Equilibrium Molecular Dynamics Study of Fluid Transport of Multicomponent Mixtures through Nanoporous Materials

Maziar Fayaz-Torshizi, Imperial College London, UK


Structural analysis of petroporphyrins from asphaltene by trapped ion mobility coupled with a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer

Carlos Afonso, Univ. of Rouen Normandy, FR

Efficient Use of Wettability Modifier for Enhancement of Water Imbibition in Shales

Mingyuan Wang, Univ. of Texas Austin, US


Overcoming process issues in Refining & Petrochemical assets with bio and plastic based feedstocks: developing tailormade analytical tools to tackle new challenges

Pierre Giusti, TOTAL SE, FR

SAR-ADTM 2G Developments: Drilling Down into Maltenes and Asphaltene Subfractions with Combinations of Fluorescence and Absorbance Spectroscopy and Size Exclusion Chromatography to Unlock Greater Information from the SARA-AD Separation

Jeramie Adams, Western Research Institute, US


Exploring Complex Mixtures by Cyclic Ion Mobility High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry: Application Toward Petroleum

Christopher P. Rüger, Univ. of Rostock, DE

Molecule-based Software Framework to Model Heavy Oil Upgrading

Zhen Hou, Aspen Technology, Inc., US


Ultra-low Hydrogen Content Bowl-shaped Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Petroleum

Kuangnan Qian, ExxonMobil, US

Lessons Learned from a Decade-Long Assessment of Asphaltenes by Ultrahigh Resolution Mass Spectrometry

Martha Liliana Chacón-Patiño, Florida State Univ., US




Poster II

Wednesday June 9


Basic and Applied Scientific Challenges Toward Understanding Asphaltene Properties

Michael Hoepfner, University of Utah


Subsurface Upgrading of Heavy Crude Oils and Bitumen

Cesar Ovalles, Chevron




Inorganic Solids Effect on Asphaltene Precipitation Kinetics Using Optical Microscopy

Ayodeji Ajani, Univ. of Utah, US

Opportunities for Manufacturing Carbon Fibers from Asphaltenes

Paolo Bomben, Alberta Innovates, CA


Hydrocarbon Fluid Modeling through Molecular Structure-Oriented Characterization

Herbert Loria, Schlumberger, US

Co-feeding light cracked products during visbreaking: Observations about reactions and insolubility

Joy Tannous, United Arab Emirates Univ., AE


On the kinetics of asphaltenes instability

Mohamed Saïdoun , TOTAL SE, FR

An investigation on crude oil fouling behavior

Estrella Rogel, Chevron, US


Investigation of fluid phase equilibria of crude oil, methane, and carbon dioxide systems using short-wave near-infrared (SWIR) imaging and quartz crystal resonator (QCR) at high pressure conditions

José F. Romero Yanes, Univ. Pau, FR

Product yields from conversion of archipelago and island asphaltenes

Murray Gray, Univ. of Alberta, CA


Super high molecular weight cluster presence in THF solutions of asphaltenes and subfractions A1 and A2, by GPC-ICPHR MS crude oil maturity relationship

Génesis González, Universidad Central de Venezuela, VE

Engineering Petroleum-Derived Aromatics: Fundamentals and Novel Opportunities for Developing Green Applications

Cuiying Jian, York Univ., CA


Reconstruction of a synthetic crude oil for molecular dynamics simulations: Understanding aggregation behavior from a multi-structural view

Iván Darío Moncayo Riascos, Meridian-Ecopetrol S.A., CO

Continuous Production of Mesophase-Rich Fractions from Pyrene Pitch

William Cabell Lamie, Clemson Univ., US




Poster III


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