[RG]2 The Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group 

The Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group is a dynamic team of HQP from around the globe. Known as [RG]2 ("RG-squared"), the team's research is carried out in our completely integrated GeoInnovation Environments (GIEs), unique research facilities that allow our international team to carry out cutting-edge research using state-of-the-art equipment. 

Our senior research team also provides reservoir geomechanical expertise in reservoir simulation, reservoir surveillance design and implementation, field services including core preservation and transport, instrumentation design, and experimental programs. You can learn more about our team here.

January 22, 2024

Invitation to apply for 2024 summer I-STEAM Summer Internship

"The I-STEAM Pathways Environmental Education and Research Program for Indigenous undergraduate students responds to the imperative for Indigenous worldviews to be incorporated into environmental policy and practice.

An experiential, cross-disciplinary learning program, it enables First Nations, Métis and Inuit students to gain research experience in a range of environmental fields, including science, environmental engineering, environmental law and policy. The program also provides a pathway to graduate studies in environmentally-related disciplines and opportunities to explore career possibilities in environment-related fields.

The long-term goal of the I-STEAM Pathways program is systemic change in addressing critical environmental issues through the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge, ethics and worldviews in environmental policy, planning and practice."

The newly-established Subsurface Energy Research Group (SERG), under the supervision of Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano, is pleased to invite First Nations, Métis, and Inuit undergraduate students to apply for a fully-funded summer internship experience. Working in close partnership with the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group ([RG]2) led by Dr. Rick Chalaturnyk, the successful applicant will explore environmental challenges associated with transitioning to cleaner energy. This opportunity prioritizes student-led development of the project from research design to desired and projected outcomes while using the cutting-edge technology, equipment, and software in our world-class GeoInnovation Environments (GIEs).

To learn more about iSTEAM Pathways and to apply for this unique hands-on training opportunity, visit https://isteam-pathways.ualberta.ca/

Complete details on the SERG 2024 iSTEAM Pathways internship are included below.

Geoscience for Subsurface Energy Assurance

Gonzalo Zambrano Narvaez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Project Location: Edmonton, AB

Project Abstract

As Canada and the world move towards using cleaner energy, many upcoming technologies will depend on using resources beneath the ground in a responsible and secure way for storing energy for the long term or periodically. The Subsurface Energy Research Group (SERG), led by Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano Narvaez, an Assistant Professor specializing in Geotechnical Engineering, focuses on Subsurface Energy. Dr. Zambrano and the SERG team's research is about making sure we can rely on resources below the surface for different ways of transitioning to cleaner energy, like H2, geothermal energy and storing compressed air with renewable energy (e.g. wind and solar). 

Dr. Zambrano is also dedicated to teaching the next generation of students and engineers to handle the current challenges in the energy world. The Subsurface Energy Research Group, working with the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group, is starting an internship program. This program will give Indigenous communities the ability to deal with the environmental challenges that come with transitioning to cleaner energy. The program will be integrated into the existing framework for understanding what's below the surface, which is a crucial part of evaluating risks.

The Subsurface Energy Research Group, along with the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group (PI: Rick Chalaturnyk), will provide access and training for this internship I-STEAM Pathways program to advanced laboratory facilities like GeoREF (a lab for high temperature and pressure experiments), GeoCERF (a facility for beam centrifuge research), GeoPrint (for 3D printing of rocks and fractures), and GeoRMT (a platform for modeling reservoir geomechanics).

Anticipated Student Involvement

This program offers an amazing chance for students to learn and get hands-on experience in a wide range of experimental, numerical, and field studies. We're really dedicated to helping the next generation of researchers grow. The center also has training opportunities for students who are working part-time and focusing on instrumentation and process control. Students in the I-STEAM Pathways will collaborate with co-op students, research engineers, and Dr. Chalaturnyk and Dr. Zambrano on projects related to Subsurface Energy, like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and understanding rocks mechanical properties.

Anticipated Indigenous Community Benefits

Discover the research endeavors of engineers, scientists, and students focused on understanding the current and future impacts of the subsurface on the transition to clean energy. The program is committed to combining outreach efforts and building relationships with Indigenous communities, fostering collaboration between engineering students and researchers.

January 5, 2024

Tech Talks start January 9, 2024

Register now to join the [RG]2 team for a virtual lunch presentation (12:10pm - 12:50pm MST) on the second Tuesday of each month. These brief presentations are an opportunity for members of [RG]2 to share technical presentations, research updates, and more with sponsors, industry, colleagues, and peers.

Follow us on LinkedIn for current updates and news.

PLEASE NOTE: Some presentations may be restricted to current research program affiliates. Schedule is subject to change without notice.

2024 Tech Talk Schedule

Start Time 12:10pm MST End Time 12:50pm MST

January 9, 2024

Angel Sanchez – Measuring Two phase Flow in Intact and Fractured Rock at In-situ Conditions: Results and Applications.

February 13, 2024

Dr. Nathan Deisman (& GeoREF Team) - Measuring Ultralow Permeability, Poroelastic Constants, Thermal Expansion, and Thermal Conductivity as In Situ Conditions

March 12, 2024

Sebastian Saavedra (PhD) - Use of 3D Printed Rock Analogues to Study Two-Phase Flow in Fractures

April 9, 2024

Prof Rick Chalaturnyk – The Current State of CCUS in Alberta and Canada: Technical Challenges and Research Visions

May 14, 2024

Daniel Cartagena (MSc) - Novel Beam Centrifuge Experiments for Post-CHOPS CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery

June 11, 2024

Dr Gonzalo Zambrano – Applications of Beam Centrifuge Technology and Field Instrumentation for Subsurface Energy Storage

July 9, 2024

Bingyu Xie (PhD) - Characterizing Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical Behaviour of Inclined Heterolithic Sequences

August 13, 2024

Dr. Alireza Rangriz Shokri -  Overview of Issues with CO2 Storage, CO2 Geothermal, and CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery

September 10, 2024

Yessica Peralta (& Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano) - Comparison of TOUGH and GEM Simulation Platforms for CCS Applications

October 8, 2024

Jhon Uribe (PhD) - Mitigation of Casing Damage During Unconventional Multistage Hydraulic Fracturing

November 12, 2024

Lifeng Xu (PDF) - Basement Flexure of Structures and Their Influence on Deformation Structure within Injection Horizons and Caprocks and Possible Impacts on Both Brine and CO2  Flows

December 10, 2024

Athena Bahramiyarahmadi (PhD) - Rock Property Assessments over Multiple Scales Using Triaxial, mTRIAX, and SILC Testing Approaches

September 19, 2023

Registration is now open for the 2023 Annual [RG]2 Research Symposium

The Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group, is pleased to announce that Registration is Now Open for the 2023 Annual Research Symposium taking place at the University of Alberta on November 1st and 2nd, 2023. 

The theme for this year’s Research Symposium is “Subsurface Assurance for Energy Technologies” and we are very excited this year as it provides us with an opportunity to not only share updates on current research projects supported through our NSERC/Energi Simulation Industrial Research Consortia on Reservoir Geomechanics but highlight the exciting future ahead as we pursue our GeoSAFETY (“Geoscience for Subsurface Assurance oF Energy TechnologY”) initiative. GeoSAFETY provides opportunities to integrate the full range of research activities (experimental, numerical and field) we have been pursuing over the last two decades – from in situ thermal recovery in oil sands to geological storage of CO2.


The symposium will include presentations from our talented team of students and researchers, several industry-focussed panel sessions, and tours of our GeoInnovation Environments (GeoREF, GeoCERF, GeoPRINT). Day One will focus on ongoing research through our NSERC/Energi Simulation IRC while Day Two will highlight the research progress leading to the establishment of GeoSAFETY and its vision for the future. Following the conclusion of Symposium on Day Two we will hold the annual Research Advisory Committee meetings for the NSERC/ES IRC.

We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to share with you our continued journey towards advancing knowledge with a particular focus on ensuring the subsurface remains a sustainable environment for managing the range of challenges associated with our energy transition future including oil and gas recovery, nuclear waste storage, geological storage of CO2/H2 and geothermal applications.


A detailed agenda will be provided in October, but we ask that you please block November 1-2, 2023 in your calendar now so that you can join us at our 2023 Research Symposium. We also encourage you to share this information with any colleagues you feel would find the Symposium of value. Register Now

PLEASE NOTE: while everyone is welcome to attend the public sections of our Symposium online, due to the size of our venue, in-person attendance is restricted to Invited Guests until October 17, 2024. If space is available for additional attendees, registered individuals who have indicated an interest in attending in person will receive email notification on or about October 23, 2023.

If you have questions regarding the Research Symposium or would like assistance with making arrangements for visiting the University of Alberta, please do not hesitate to reach out to Rick Chalaturnyk (rjchalaturnyk@ualberta.ca), Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano (gonzalo@ualberta.ca), or Hope Walls (hwalls@ualberta.ca).


Looking forward to seeing you in Edmonton this November!

The Team at [RG]2

March 18, 2022

Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano accepts position as Industrial Professor of Subsurface Energy

Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano Narvaez, a senior member of [RG]2 - the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group - has accepted a new academic position with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta. In his role as Industrial Professor of Subsurface Energy, Dr. Zambrano’s teaching and research align with the University of Alberta’s energy systems initiatives that recognize the increasing use of the subsurface as a solution space for many energy transition scenarios (e.g. H2). In addition to representing a link to other existing energy systems programs across campus, Dr. Zambrano will lead the development of a focused MSc graduate program in subsurface energy.

Dr. Zambrano will continue working directly with [RG]2’s GeoSAFETY program, which focusses on creating effective, resilient solutions to overcome the technical challenges of adopting subsurface formations for fluid storage and utilization (e.g., carbon dioxide, hydrogen), geothermal systems, nuclear waste repositories, intermittent subsurface energy storage (associated with renewables such as wind and solar), and the efficient and responsible development of hydrocarbon resources as we progress towards renewable energy systems.

Access to [RG]2’s GeoInnovation Environments will provide Dr. Zambrano with the world-class technology and laboratory assets needed to accelerate knowledge of sustainable subsurface energy management and environmental stewardship.

“The development of sustainable energy systems such as subsurface energy is vital for our future. I am honoured to welcome Dr. Zambrano to the Faculty of Engineering. I am confident that his contributions will help the University of Alberta continue to lead initiatives in this field." Simaan M. AbouRizk PhD, PEng, FRSC, FCAE, Interim Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta

“The subsurface is a crucial environment for development of new energy systems that will meaningfully contribute to our transition to low-carbon, sustainable energy. With his new appointment, Dr. Zambrano will build upon his already valuable contributions to the University of Alberta’s world leading expertise in this area, enhancing our institution’s capacity for groundbreaking contributions in fields such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage; hydrogen; and geothermal energy.” Dr. M. Anne Naeth, Director, Energy Systems Signature Area

I am thrilled to continue my contributions in teaching and research as professor of Subsurface Energy. Focusing on subsurface assurance of energy transition scenarios and building the capacity of a new generation of engineers to meet the demands of these modern challenges, my research will support the outstanding research embodied in GeoSAFETY and associated programs like ACTiON.” Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano Narváez, Industrial Professor of Subsurface Energy in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering.

Research Facilities

Located at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, our GIEs consist of: the Geomechanical Research Experimental Facilty (GeoREF), the Geomechanical Centrifuge Experimental Facility (GeoCERF), the Geomechanical 3D Printing Facility (GeoPRINT), the Geomechanical Reservoir Modelling Technology (GeoRMT) and the Induced Seismicity Experimental Research Facility (ISERF)

Current Research

There are many exciting testing and research projects being carried out by [RG]2 both locally and in collaboration with organisations abroad. Learn more about our research initiatives by clicking on the button below.