Record Numbers for Inspirational ECMOR XVI

The 16th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery, better known as ECMOR XVI, was held during 3-6 September 2018 at the World Trade Center Barcelona, on the sea front and a few minutes walk from the historic city. Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia and renowned for the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics. The conference was a resounding success, with a high quality of technical content, enjoyable networking events, high calibre facility and the highest ever participation of 228 delegates. A total of 88 oral presentations and 88 poster presentations were given on a wide variety of topics in mathematical modelling, science and technologies applied to hydrocarbon exploration, development and production.

Since the inaugural conference in Cambridge UK, three decades ago, ECMOR has been convened every two years, gathering applied mathematicians and geoscience engineers from both academia and industry to discuss recent advances in the mathematics of oil recovery. The conference attracts over 200 delegates, providing both informal and more structured opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas between world specialists in simulation, modelling and data integration.

Technical presentations at ECMOR XVI consisted of two parallel tracks, one focusing on physical models with sessions titled: Reservoir Characterization, CO2 Sequestration, Enhanced Oil Recovery, Reservoir Geomechanics, Reservoir Geochemistry, Fracture Simulation, Unconventionals, and Risk and Uncertainty. The other track focused on numerical topics with the following sessions: Discretization, Linear Solvers, Non-linear Solvers, Well and Facility Optimization, Data Assimilation, and Machine Learning and Proxy Models.

The conference started with an inspirational keynote speech by Professor Mateo Valero, Director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), who took us through the evolution of the computer industry from the first transistor at Bell Labs in 1947, through the top 500 Supercomputers of today, to the future of Exascale computing. He then presented current developments at BSC on Computer Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and Scientific and Engineering Software. His talk was supported by a visit to BSC on Tuesday afternoon, which included a tour of their computer museum and their Supercomputer MareNostrum hosted inside a spectacular cathedral.

On Monday evening, there was a series of 30 one-minute poster introductions in rapid succession, as a pre-cursor to the subsequent poster session, which was a highly enjoyable event lasting over two hours, with ample snacks and drinks provided to lubricate the technical discussions and networking. The posters were grouped by conference sessions and remained throughout the conference to be viewed and further discussed during lunch and coffee breaks.

The traditional conference dinner took place on Wednesday evening, at the La Gavina restaurant on the sea front, with atmospheric views over the harbour. It attracted more than 200 delegates, who enjoyed an excellent Spanish dinner accompanied by good wines. The weather during the conference was warm and sunny, and many enjoyed the cooler evenings in the beautiful and historic city of Barcelona.

Proceedings of the conference are available electronically via the EAGE conference paper repository EarthDoc: As with the previous five ECMOR conferences, a selection of refereed and revised papers will be published in a Special Issue of the Computational Geosciences journal dedicated to ECMOR XVI, which is planned to be available online by end of 2019.

In summary, ECMOR XVI was a highly successful and stimulating conference, thanks to the quality of the technical content and networking events, and the large number of participants. On behalf of the ECMOR XVI Program Committee, I would like to thank all those who contributed to its success - EAGE Event Coordination team; sponsors REPSOL, Schlumberger, energi SIMULATION and Shell; the staff at the World Trade Center, the technical session chairs, keynote speaker Professor Valero, conference delegates, especially all authors and presenters.

Dayal Gunasekera,
Chairman ECMOR XVI Program Committee.