Institute of Drilling Engineering and Fluid Mining

Institutsgebäude At the Technical University Bergakademie of Freiberg in Saxony/Germany, the oldest mining science and energy University in the world, students have been able to study in one of the four core fields (Geo, material, energy and environment) since 1765. The Institute of Drilling Engineering and Fluid Mining, established in 1962 within the Faculty of Geosciences, Geoengineering and Mining, is one of the most reputed institutes in Europe for its unique petroleum engineering program due to its quality of teaching and research excellence. After completing the basic engineering studies (4 semesters), the students can be enrolled in the German Diploma (equal to Master of Science) of Petroleum Engineering (PE) program for additional 5 semesters. The program comprises of two departments: the Chair of Drilling Engineering and Mining Machinery (Prof. Dr. M. Reich) and the Chair of Reservoir, Production Engineering and Underground Storage (Prof. Dr. M. Amro). The institute offers a modern curriculum that covers engineering fundamentals, advanced subjects not only in drilling and production engineering but also in renewable and sustainable energy (e.g. geothermal energy and underground storage of hydrocarbons, CO2, H2). The department currently enrolls more than 80 students in its Petroleum Engineering program and 20 in the PhD program. Additionally, about 15-20 students from other faculties per year join different PE-courses as visiting or exchange students. The institute has very strong links with the petroleum industry and oil/gas service companies as well as with SPE chapters in Europe and all over the world. Most of the institute members have a long industry experience, and keep strong ties through consulting, industrial joint research projects and delivering short courses. The department's teaching and research laboratories are fully equipped with state-of-the art equipment and software. The laboratories cover special equipment and advanced experimental setups for topics like drilling fluids, oil-well cementing, data transmission in bore holes and enhanced oil recovery. In addition the institute owns sophisticated equipment relevant to measuring permeabilities of very tight rocks such as cap and salt rocks (up to 10-22 m²) and proving its tightness under in situ conditions using unsteady state methods. Current research and development projects include: 

Development of hammer drill systems for deep boreholes

  • Electro Impulse drilling • Hydraulic and acoustic high speed telemetry systems,
  • HT/HP return permeability tests and drilling fluid management,
  • Energy fluid storage in salt caverns and porous reservoirs,
  • Stimulation technologies,
  • CO2-Storage in porous reservoirs,
  • Enhanced oil recovery (e.g. microbial EOR, acoustic wave stimulation, thermal EOR)

Other major research areas include geothermal reservoirs and unconventional reservoirs such as shale gas and submarine hydrate reservoirs. It is worth mentioning that in 1919, the TU Bergakademie Freiberg took over the mine “Reiche Zeche”, consisting of up to 14 km of galleries at depths down to 230 m. It provides unique opportunities for various research projects requiring certain conditions and thus some of the above listed projects have been running in the mine. Based on the available infrastructure (laboratories and personnel) at the Institute, there is flexibility to meet the industrial requirements and to handle state of the art problems.