Zane Zeng

Zane Zeng

Associate Professor
College of Engineering
Department of Petroleum Engineering
Petroleum Engineering Program
EB 2.100E

Associate Professor of Petroleum Engineering

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Dr. Zeng specializes in geomechanics and reservoir engineering. He has served on the UTPB Petroleum Engineering faculty since 2016. As former faculty at several institutions and with more than twenty years’ experience in government and academia, enriched with industrial experience from 2012-2015 at the R&D Group in a major oil company, Dr. Zeng brought back to the academia with first hand demands and expectations from the industry, which definitely helps UTPB’s teaching, research and service in Petroleum Engineering.

Dr. Zeng’s theoretical contribution includes a new criterion for non-Darcy flow in porous media. His major achievements are in experimental geomechanics. He made several innovative contributions to the progress of experimental geomechanics, including measurement of (1) Biot’s coefficient in tight rocks, (2) Mode-I fracture toughness using small samples, (3) fluid-rock interaction dynamics, (4) Kaiser effect-based in-situ stresses, and (5) phase-dependent permeability near critical point.

Dr. Zeng severed as principal investigator for several federal government funded research projects that have long lasting impacts. His DOE project Geomechanical Study of Bakken Formation for Improved Oil Recovery” not only filled the technical gaps by providing the much needed geomechanics parameters for the first-ever developed tight oil formation, but also demonstrated the positive impact of geomechanical study on the success rate of horizontal drilling-multistage hydraulic fracturing and the ultimate recovery in these unconventional reservoirs. As the lead developer of the current version of DOE’s reservoir simulator “Miscible Applied Simulation Techniques for Energy Recovery, aka MASTER,” his work proved to be valuable to small and independent operators who want to add their own features.

Dr. Zeng’s innovative application of advanced petroleum technologies (reservoir characterization and multi-lateral horizontal wells) to underground coal gasification opened a new door for the environment-friendly development of these huge fossil energy resources. His successful experience in framing and co-founding North Dakota’s “Petroleum Research Education and Entrepreneurship Center of Excellence” proved the value of multi-disciplines background.

Dr. Zeng’s current research focuses on applying advanced knowledge and technologies in geomechanics and reservoir characterization to improve the economic performance of tight oil production in Wolfcamp and other unconventional resources in the Permian Basin. In specific, he is looking for collaborators and sponsors to work together for success in: (1) reducing none producing hydraulic fracture stages by identifying high fracturability sections, (2) extending high rate production period by minimizing the negative impact of fluid-rock interaction, and (3) improving ultimate tight oil recovery through big data analysis.

Research Areas 

Reservoir Engineering 

Research Interests

Hydraulic Fracturing
Reservoir Characterization
Unconventional Resources
CO2 enhanced oil recovery and carbon sequestration


Ph.D. in Petroleum and Geological Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
D. Sc. in Tectono-Physics, Institute of Geology, State Seismological Bureau, Beijing, China
M.S. in Engineering Geology, Southwest Jiaotong University, Sichuan, China
B.S. in Engineering Geology,Southwest Jiaotong University, Sichuan, China