Hemanta Sarma


Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

PhD - Petroleum Engineering

University of Alberta

MSc - Chemical Engineering with a Specialization in Reservoir Engineering

University of Calgary

BTech (Honours) - Petroleum Engineering

Indian School of Mines

Contact information


Energy, Environment, Experiential Learning Building : EEEL451B


Research areas

  • Energy engineering
  • Carbon management
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) storage, sequestration and conversion
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • Imaging, modeling and simulation
  • Petroleum microbiology
  • Reservoir characterization
  • Thermal recovery
  • Tight oil and gas

Research activities

Dr. Sarma’s research interests are in the areas of enhanced oil recovery, improved oil recovery and reservoir engineering. 

His extensive research portfolio includes completed projects such as: smart waterflooding, asphaltene precipitation, carbon dioxide (CO2) flooding and sequestration; modelling of CO2 and greenhouse gas (GHG) miscibility and interactions with oil; hydrocarbon gas floods; the potential of CO2 flood in tight reservoirs; carbon sequestration and enhanced coal-bed methane; microbial enhanced recovery in Fuyu oilfield, China; steamflooding and CO2 flooding in the deep heavy oil reservoir in Ikiztepe Field, Turkey and the reaction of organic acids with calcite/dolomite during well stimulation.

Other research interests include:

- Microbial EOR process 
- Enhanced coal-bed methane recovery using CO2 and N2 (or air)
- Using CO2 to produce methane from methane-hydrate reservoirs and to sequester CO2
- Development of tight-gas reservoirs
- Asphaltenes precipitation and deposition in gas injection processes
- Use of polymer to improve waterflood efficiency
- Acid gas reinjection in reservoirs


Dr. Hemanta Sarma is a Professor of Oil & Gas Engineering at the University of Calgary. Formerly he was the Chairman and Professor of the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, 2009-2014. He is also an Honorary Adjunct Professor in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Adelaide, where he had held a Professorship and the inaugural Reg Sprigg Chair in Petroleum Engineering in its Australian School of Petroleum (ASP) during 2002-2009. He is also the founding Director of the Centre for Improved Petroleum Recovery (CIPR) in the ASP and was a Research Project Leader (2003-2006) for CO2 sequestration through enhanced petroleum recovery and enhanced coal-bed methane recovery in the CO2CRC, a major Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies. In addition, he has been a consultant to a number of Australian petroleum companies in the areas of reservoir engineering and EOR.

Earlier, he served as a Senior Staff Reservoir Engineer with the Alberta Research Council, Canada, and an Invited Research Advisor at the Technology Research Center of Japan National Oil Corporation where he participated in domestic and international R&D projects and field pilots. He has published extensively and offered several specialized courses on EOR and reservoir engineering.

Dr. Sarma holds a B.Tech. (Honours) in petroleum engineering from Indian School of Mines, an M.Sc. in chemical engineering (specialization: reservoir engineering) from University of Calgary and a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from University of Alberta. A recipient of 2011 Outstanding Associate Editor of SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering Journal and SPE Distinguished Membership in 2009, he has been an active SPE member having served on several technical program committees, including SPE South Australian Executive Committee leading its Continuing Education Program. He was a member of SPE’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty Award Committee since 2006 and its 2008-09 Chair. In addition, he served as an Associate Editor of SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering Journal during 2007-2013 and currently serves as a technical editor for the journal. Earlier, he led an SPE-wide academic taskforce looking at improving the quality of the journal. He chaired the 2014 SPE International’s DeGolyer and Distinguished Service Award Committees, and is the Chair of 2015 SPE Distinguished Service Award Committee. Earlier, he served in the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology.

Prof. Sarma is a 2008 recipent of The Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning awarded by the Hon. Julia Gillard, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister for “initiating students into the profession of Petroleum Engineering while interacting with them to secure their welfare as individuals and success as scholars.” Earlier, he also received a 2006 Excellence in Teaching Prize of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Adelaide.


Refereed Publications

Esmaeili, S., Sarma, H.K., Harding, T., and Maini, B.B. (2019): Correlations for Effect of Temperature on Oil/Water Relative Permeability Clastic Reservoirs”, Paper JFUE-D-18-05420 under revision following the review for publication in Fuel.

Awolayo, A.; Sarma, H. and Nghiem, L. (2019: “Modeling of Fluid-Rock Interactions during Low-salinity-brine-CO2 Flooding in Carbonate Reservoirs”, Manuscript ID RE-0119-0020, under review for publication in SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering.

D. Kong, Y. Li, H. Sarma, S. Xu, Q. Li and M. Yu. (2019):“Investigation into micro-physicochemical interaction between sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate (SDBS) and partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) utilizing electron probe microanalysis method”. Colloids and Surfaces A 561 (2019) 187–193. DOI: 10.1016/J.colsurfa.208.10.074

Esmaeili, S., Sarma, H.K., Harding, T., and Maini, B.B. (2019): A Data-Driven Model for Predicting the Effect of Temperature Oil-Water Relative Permeability”, Fuel (236), 264-277.

Esmaeili, S., Sarma, H.K., Harding, T., and Maini, B.B. (2019): "Review of the Effect of Temperature on Oil/Water Relative Permeability in Porous Rock of Oil Reservoirs, Fuel (237), 91-11.

Awolayo, A. and Sarma, H.K. (2019). “An Analytical Solution to Interpret Active Ion Transport during Chemically-Tuned Waterflooding Process in High-Temperature Carbonate Rocks”. Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 97(1), 310-322;  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cjce.23183.

Awolayo, A.; Sarma, H. and Nghiem, L. (2018). “Thermodynamic Modeling of Brine Dilution-Dependent Recovery in Carbonate Rocks with Different Mineralogical Content", Energy & Fuels 32 (9), 8921-8943; DOI: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.8b01080ef-2018-01080 .

Awolayo, AN, Sarma, HK and Nghiem, LX. (2018): “Brine-dependent Recovery Processes in Carbonate and Sandstone Petroleum Reservoirs: Review of Laboratory-Field Studies, Interfacial Mechanisms and Modeling Attempts”, Energies 11 (11), 3020

Awolayo, A.N., Sarma, H.K., and Nghiem L.X. (2018). “Modeling the Characteristic Thermodynamic Interplay between Potential Determining Ions during Brine-Dependent Recovery Process in Carbonate Rocks”.  Fuel, Vol. 224, 701-717.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2018.03.070

T. Kadeethum, A. N. Awolayo, H. K. Sarma, B. Maini, C. Jaruwattanasakul (2017). “Uncertainty Analysis of Smart Waterflood Recovery Performance in Clastic Reservoirs”, Advances in Petroleum Exploration and Development, 14(1), 18

Awolayo, A.N., Sarma, H.K., and Nghiem L.X.(2017). “Geochemical Modeling of Brine Dilution-Dependent Recovery in Carbonate Rocks with Different Mineralogical Content.” Manuscript ID: SJ-0317-0008 being reviewed for SPE Journal.

A.N. Awolayo, H.K. Sarma: “Impact of Multi-ion Interactions on Oil Mobilization by Smart Waterflooding in Carbonate Reservoirs”, Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology, 2016, 7:278. DOI” 10.4172/2157-7463.1000278.

A.N. Awolayo, H.K. Sarma and A.S. Alsumaiti: An Experimental Investigation into the Impact of Sulfate ions in Smart Water to Improve Oil Recovery in Carbonate Reservoirs”, Transport in Porous Media, 2015, 111 (3), pp 649-668. DOI:10.1007/s11242-015-0616-4.

M. Haroun M., A. Ansari, N. Al Kindy, B. Ali, H. Sarma, G. Chilingar, J.K. Wittle:  “Application of Electrokinetics to Achieve Smart EOR in Abu Dhabi Oil-Wet Carbonate Reservoirs,” Submitted to Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2013.

Y. Zhang and H.K. Sarma: “Brine Chemistry Effect on Waterflood and CO2 Injection in Carbonate Reservoirs”, Manuscript RE-0313-0014 submitted to SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering Journal (2013).

M.M. Rahman and H.K. Sarma: “Enhancing Tight Gas Recovery through Hydraulic Fracture Treatment Design Optimization”, Advances in Petroleum Exploration and Development, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2013, 1-7.

Yu Zhou and H. Sarma: “Asphaltene Precipitation Behavior during Gas Injection in a UAE Carbonate Reservoir”, JCPT Paper-1011-001 submitted for publication in Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, 2011 (Under revision following reviewers’ comments.)

P.S. Jadhawar and H. Sarma: “Effect of Well Pattern and Injection Well Type on the CO2-Assisted Gravity Drainage Enhanced Oil Recovery”, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, Vol. 98-99, November 2012, 83-94.

M.H. Alkhaldi, H.A. Nasr-El-Din and H. Sarma: “Kinetics of the Reaction of Citric Acid with Calcite”, Paper 118724, SPE Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, September 2010, 704-713.

M.H. Alkhaldi, H.K. Sarma and H.A. Nasr-El-Din: “Diffusivity of Citric Acid during its Reaction with Calcite”, Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, August 2010, Vol. 49(8), 43-52.

Jadhawar, P.S. and Sarma, H.K.: “Numerical Simulation and Sensitivity Analysis of Gas-Oil Gravity Drainage Process of Enhanced Oil Recovery”, Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, February 2010, 64-70.

Emera, M.K. and Sarma, H.K.: A Genetic Algorithm-Based Model to Predict CO2-Oil Physical Properties for Dead and Live Oil, Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, February 2008, Vol. 47, No.2, 52-61.

Bon, J., Sarma, H.K., Rodrigues, J.T. and Bon, J.G., "Reservoir Fluid Sampling Revisited - A Practical Perspective", SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, December 2007, 589-596.

Emera, M.K. and Sarma, H.K.: Prediction of CO2 Solubility in oil and the effects on the Oil Physical Properties, Energy Resources, Part A, 29:1233-1242, 2007.

Emera, M.K. and Sarma, H.K.: Genetic Algorithm (GA) Based Correlations Offer More Reliable Prediction of Minimum Miscibility Pressures (MMP) Between the Reservoir Oil and CO2 or Flue Gas, Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, August 2007, Vol. 46, 19-25.

Dholkawala, Z. F., Sarma, H.K., and Kam, S.I.: Application of Fractional Flow Theory to Foams for Enhanced Oil Recovery, Journal of Petroleum Science & Engineering, 2007 (57), 152-165.

Emera, M.K. and Sarma, H.K.: A Reliable Correlation to Predict the Change in Minimum Miscibility Pressure When CO2 Is Diluted With Other Gases, SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, Volume 9, Number 4, August 2006, 366-373.

Emera, M.K. and Sarma, H.K.: Use of Genetic Algorithm to Obtain CO2-Oil Minimum Miscibility Pressure (MMP) in Designing a CO2 Miscible Flood, Journal of Petroleum Science & Engineering, 46 (2005) 37-52.

D. Fisher, N.Yazawa, H.K. Sarma, M. Girard, H. Huang and A. Turta: A New Method to Characterize the Size and Shape Dynamics of Asphaltene Deposition Process in CO2 Miscible Flooding, Journal of Petroleum Technology, January 2004, 43-44. (An overview published as a special interest EOR paper on a new technique based on our SPE paper 84893)

H.K. Sarma: Asphaltenes – The Bad Cholesterol: Can We Ignore Them In Gas Injection Processes?  Published in SPE News Australasia, October/November 2003, Issue 79.

H.K. Sarma, N. Yazawa, R.G. Moore, S.A. Mehta, N. Okazawa, H. Ferguson and M.G. Ursenbach:  Screening of Three Light-Oil Reservoirs for Application of Air Injection Process by Accelerating Rate Calorimetric and TG/PDSC Tests.  J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (March 2002), 50-61.

H.K. Sarma, B.B. Maini and K.N. Jha: Evaluation of Emulsified Solvent Flooding for Heavy Oil Recovery.  J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (July 1998), 55-62.

H.K. Sarma and K. Ono: Horizontal Wells Prove Versatile for Improved Oil Recovery. An OGJ Special, Oil & Gas Journal (December 11, 1995), 47-56.

B.B. Maini and H.K. Sarma: Role of Apolar Foams in Production of Heavy Oils. Book Chapter in Advances in Chemistry Series 242, Foams: Fundamentals and Applications in the Petroleum Industry, Ed.: L. Schramm, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., (1994), 405-420.

H.K. Sarma, B.B. Maini and K.N. Jha: An Unsteady-State Technique for Three-Phase Relative Permeability Measurements. J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (February 1994), 27-33.

H.K. Sarma, B.B. Maini, R.W. Purves and K.N. Jha: A Laboratory Investigation of the Pseudo Relative Permeability Characteristics of Unstable Immiscible Displacements. J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (January 1994), 42-49.

B.B. Maini, H.K. Sarma and A.E. George: Significance of Foamy-Oil Behaviour in Primary Production of Heavy Oils. J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (November 1993), 50-54.

H.K. Sarma and B.B. Maini: An Experimental Evalu­ation of Viscosity Grading for Controlling Fingering in Miscible Displacements. J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (January 1993), 36-41.

H.K. Sarma, B.B. Maini and G. Allen: Effect of Viscous Instability on Unsteady‑State Relative Permeability. Revue de L'Institut Francais du Petrole (1992), 47, 753-770.

H.K. Sarma and R.G. Bentsen: Further Experimen­tal Validation of the External‑Drive Technique. J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (July-August 1990), 75-83.

H.K. Sarma and R.G. Bentsen: A New Method for Estimating Relative Permeabilities from Unstabilized Displacement Data. J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (July-August 1989), 118‑128.

H.K. Sarma and R.G. Bentsen: A Study of the Impact of Instability on Relative Permeability and Capillary Pressure. J. Pet. Sci. & Eng. (1989), 2, 311‑330.

H.K. Sarma and R.G. Bentsen: A Method of Reducing Model Error When Estimating Relative Permeabilities from Displacement Data. J. Pet. Sci. & Eng. (1989), 2, 331‑347.

R.G. Bentsen and H.K. Sarma: The External‑Drive Technique: Its Use and Abuse. The AOSTRA J. of Research (1989), 5, 61‑74.

P.M. Sigmund, H.K. Sarma, D. Sheldon and K. Aziz: Rate Dependence of Unstable Waterfloods. SPE Res. Eng. (1988), 401‑409.

H.K. Sarma and R.G. Bentsen: An Experimental Verification of a Modified Instability Theory for Immiscible Displacements in Porous Media. J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (July-August 1987), 88‑99.

H.K. Sarma: Viscous Fingering: One of the Main Factors Behind Poor Flood Efficiencies in Petroleum Reservoirs. Powder Technology (1986), 48, 39‑49.


Advanced Electrokineic Oil Recovery using Nano Particles and Surfactants. Awarded United Arab Emirates Patent: WO2017070747A1. Inventors: Haroun Mohammed, Al Kindy Nabeela and Sarma Hemanta. We have invented a production strategy on application of electrokinetic technique using nano particles and surfactant in very tight carbonate reservoir to improve oil recovery with diminished power consumption. The patent is in the final stage of approval and assignment to my previous employer (The Petroleum Institute). This patent will be valid in Gulf Cooperation Countries and Saudi Arabia.

Waterflooding recipes using phosphate and hexa-metaphosphate multivalent ions in carbonate reservoirs. United Arab Emirates. 2016/02/15. Patent Status: Pending Inventors: Haroun M, Sarma H, Meng W, Al Kobaisi M and Lager A.  Invented a new water chemistry for application in waterflooding to yield higher incremental oil recovery. This is being tested for specific carbonate reservoirs in the United Arab Emirates. Patent when approved will be assigned to my previous employer, The Petroleum Institute. ADNOC patent application reference # ADNOC-0016-15.

Understanding Wettability Alteration by Characterizing the Mechanism at the Fluid-Rock Interface through a Novel Zeta Potential Contact Angle Method. United Arab Emirates. 2016/02/14. Patent Status: Pending. Inventors: Haroun M, Sarma H, Rahman MR, Al Kobaisi M, Adeoye JT and Punjabi S. We invented a novel experimental methodology to measure wettability alteration due to fluid-rock interfacial interactions using the principles of zeta potential. The invention was when I was with the Petroleum Institute, to which it is being assigned to. ADNOC ref #ADNOC-0012-15.



Distinguished Service Award, Society of Petroleum Engineers
Teaching Achievement Award, Schulich School of Engineering


Outstanding Teaching Performance, Schulich School of Engineering


R&D Science Lantern Faculty Award, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company


R&D Hay Bin Yaqdhan Student Award Honoring Education & Innovation, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company


Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (university level)Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC)


Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Science, University of Adelaide