School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences


Grant Douglas Nicoll

Picture of Grant

PhD Student: Modelling CO2 Flow and Chemistry in Sedimentary Basins

Supervisor: Professor Stuart Haszeldine

Project Details

The link between anthropogenic CO2 emissions from industrial processes and global warming has been well documented over the past few decades. Developing technology for the capture, transport and storage of anthropogenic CO2 has now become a major priority for industrialised countries bound by international treaties to reduce their CO2 emissions to agreed limits.

The identification and accurate characterisation of potential storage sites combined with a better understanding and quantification of physical/chemical processes associated with CO2 storage are key factors for modelling and predicting long-term storage security and reducing the perceived uncertainties and risks associated with CO2 storage projects.

This project will involve the use of proprietary basin modelling software to construct a series of structural/lithological models populated with petrophysical parameters for running fluid flow simulations of CO2 (and/or CH4) - brine systems.


  • To select and analyse several known sites of CO2 (and/or CH4) accumulation and leakage as analogues for modelling and predicting CO2 retention over a period of 10,000 yr +.
  • To identify, investigate and quantify areas of current uncertainty in existing models, such as retention/migration/leakage processes, rates and spatial pathways affecting the upward migration of CO2 from a storage reservoir, through overlying caprocks and overburden sediments to the seabed or surface.


  • Assess existing models held at Edinburgh University, identify shortcomings and improve if necessary. Additional models and case histories may be constructed if time permits.
  • Examine relevant technical literature to extract the most relevant information on physical and chemical processes relating to CO2/fluid/rock interactions and modelling CO2 flow and storage in the sub-surface.
  • Design a test program and run a range of sensitivities based on observations made from the previous objective, to elicit the most useful data from simulations.
  • Overall objective is to improve the understanding of CO2 flow modelling in the sub-surface, provide better quantification of migration and leakage rates, thus increasing overall prediction accuracy for future studies.

Previous Education:

1999-2000 Heriot-Watt University – Pg.Dip. Information Technology (Human Computer Interaction)

1991-1992 Robert Gordon University - M.Sc. (Dist.) Offshore Engineering

1988-1991 Aberdeen University - B.Sc. (Hons – 1st Class) Geology and Petroleum Geology

Papers Published

Researcher, compiler and co-author of SPE Paper 38033, “The Optimal Application of Multilateral/Multibranch Completions”, H. Sugiyama, T. Tochikawa, J.M. Peden and G.D. Nicoll, presented at the 1997 SPE Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition, 14-16 th April, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Employment History

2001-2007 Edinburgh Petroleum Services Ltd., Edinburgh (Software Engineer/Technical Author)

1997-1999 Reservoir Management Ltd. (Advanced Technology Group), Edinburgh (Project Engineer)

1995-1997 Horizontal Well Technology Unit, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (Petroleum Engineering Research Associate)

1992-1995 Fugro-Geoteam Ltd., Aberdeen (Project Geophysicist)

1992 (summer) Core Laboratories, Aberdeen (Research Student - MSc.)

1991 (summer) British Geological Survey, Wales (Geochemical Survey Team Member)

Contact Details

University email: (alternative -

Telephone: 0131-650-5936

Contact Address: School of GeoSciences, Room 401, The Grant Institute, The University of Edinburgh, The King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JW