Harvey Yarranton


Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

NSERC Industrial Research Chair

Heavy Oil Properties and Processing


University of Alberta, 1997


University of Alberta, 1985

Contact information


Office: 403.220.6529

Web presence

Personal website


Energy Environment and Experiential Learning Building : EEEL 451A


Dr. Yarranton teaches the Oil and Gas Engineering program capstone design courses.


Research areas

  • Heavy oil characterization
  • Heavy oil and solvent phase behaviour
  • Heavy oil and solvent physical properties
  • Asphaltene self-association and precipitation
  • Asphaltene flocculataion
  • Interfacial properties of bitumen emulsion systems
  • Bitumen froth treatment

Research activities

Dr. Yarranton is pursuing fundamental research in support of the development and operation of solvent-based processes for the recovery of in-situ heavy oil and mineable oil sands. These processes have the potential to increase recovery while reducing water usage and decreasing energy consumption. The development and optimization of these processes is hindered by the current inability to accurately predict the phase behaviour and properties of mixtures of heavy oil and solvent over the wide range of conditions that may be encountered in a process.

Dr. Yarranton’s research targets this knowledge gap and includes the development of oil characterization methodologies, property correlations (such as density, viscosity, and diffusivity), and phase behaviour models required to predict fluid behaviour when different solvents are added to heavy oil. The models and correlations are supported by an extensive experimental program. It is expected that the knowledge gained will improve the simulation of heavy oil in situ and surface processes.

The Asphaltene & Emulsion Research (AER) group is renowned for their experimental contributions and practical correlations for heavy oil properties as well as their contributions to fundamental understanding of asphaltenes and asphaltene stabilized water-in-oil emulsions.


NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Heavy Oil Properties and Processing

By measuring and modelling the phase behaviour and properties of heavy oil that has been processed or mixed with solvents, he is providing fluid models for process simulation. His work is enabling the development of processes to recover in situ heavy oil and mineable oil sands bitumen at lower water and energy use.

Dr. Harvey Yarranton joined the University of Calgary in 1997 and was awarded the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Heavy Oil Properties and Processing in 2010.

He received a BSc in 1985 and a PhD in 1997, both from the University of Alberta. He was a Senior Petroleum Engineer with Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. Ltd. and Dome Petroleum Ltd. (1985-1993). He remains involved in applied reservoir engineering.

Dr. Yarranton is an Associate Editor for the SPE Journal of Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering. He is a registered Professional Engineer with APEGA and a member of AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineering), CSChE (Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering), and SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers).

Cross appointments and affiliations



Selected publications

Sánchez, M.C., Okafor, J.C., Ortiz, D.P., Schoeggl, F.F., Taylor, S.D., Yarranton, H.W., Density of Mixtures of Native and Reacted Heavy Oil with Solvents, Energy & Fuels, 29, 2015, 29, 3052−3063.

Sánchez, M.C., Schoeggl, F.F., Taylor, S.D., Fulem, M., Yarranton, H.W. Deep Vacuum Fractionation of Heavy Oil and Bitumen: Part 2 Interconversion Method, Energy & Fuels, 28, 2014, 2866-2873.

Motahhari, H., Schoeggl, F.F., Satyro, M.A. Yarranton, H.W., “Viscosity Prediction for Solvent Diluted Live Bitumen and Heavy Oil at Temperatures up to 175°C”, J. Can. Petr. Technol., Sept. 2013, 376-390.

Yarranton, H.W., Ortiz, D.P., Barrera, D.M., Baydak, E.N., Barré, L., Eyssautier, J., Zeng, H., Xu, Z., Dechaine, G., Becerra, M., Shaw, J.M., McKenna, A.M., Mapolelo, M.M., Bohne, C., Yang, Z., Oake, J., “On the Size Distribution of Self-Associated Asphaltenes”, Energy & Fuels, 27, 2013, 5083−5106.

Agrawal, P., Schoeggl, F.F., Satyro, M.A., Taylor, S.D., Yarranton, H.W., “Measurement and Modeling of the Phase Behavior of Solvent Diluted Bitumens”, Fluid Phase Equilibria, 334, 2012, 51–64.


2014 – Great Supervisor Award

2013 – Department Graduate Educator Award

2010 – NSERC IRC in Heavy Oil Properties and Processing

2010 – SPE Outstanding Service Award

2008 – ESS Teaching Excellence Award

2006 – Research Excellence Award, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

2003 – Professor of the Year for Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

2000 – Department Teaching Excellence Award

1998 – CFI New Opportunities Award