G. Paul Willhite

School of Engineering - Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Ross H. Forney Distinguished Professor
Primary office:
Learned Hall
Room 4146C
University of Kansas
1530 West 15th Street
Lawrence, KS 66045



Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Northwestern

B.S., Chemical Engineering, Iowa State

Research Interests

  • Enhanced oil recovery process
  • Transport processes in porous media
  • Numerical solution of partial differential equations
  • Environmental heat transfer problems


  • BS, Chemical Engineering, Iowa State University
  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University

Research Interests

Enhanced oil recovery processes including polymer flooding, carbon dioxide miscible flooding and thermal recovery. Improved oil recovery processes ranging from waterflooding to application of gelled polymers to control water movement in petroleum reservoirs. Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide in oil and gas reservoirs. Management of petroleum reservoirs and simulation of oil production using reservoir simulators. Transport processes in porous media.

The Carbon Dioxide Initiative in Central and Southwest Kansas

A program to evaluate the potential of applying carbon dioxide miscible flooding to Arbuckle and Lansing Kansas City reservoirs in Central Kansas as well as Morrow reservoirs in Southwest Kansas. The program is an interdisciplinary project involving reservoir characterization, evaluation of minimum miscibility pressures for typical crude oils; simulation of carbon dioxide flooding and economic evaluation of expected results. A major pilot test of carbon dioxide miscible flooding was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy for the period 2000-2010. Carbon dioxide injection began in December 2003 and ended in June 2005 when water injection was initiated. The design and management of this project is facilitated by development of reservoir models to simulate the carbon dioxide and water displacement process.

Permeability Modification using In-Situ Gelation of Polymers

This project involves the study of polymer gels, which can be formed in porous media by the crosslinking of a high molecular weight polymer with a metal ion. The permeability of these gels is low and they are capable of reducing the flow of water substantially through the regions contacted by the gel. Projects range from the study of kinetics of gelation to the dehydration of gels after placement when exposed to pressure gradients from water or oil. One goal of the program is to improve methods of increasing the volumetric sweep of waterfloods by selective placement of gelled polymer systems that reduce the flow of water through high permeability regions. A second goal is to reduce the water flow in production wells that are producing at high water cut.

Management of Petroleum Reservoirs

Prolonging the life of existing petroleum reservoirs is a major goal of this program. Reservoir characterization is combined with modern reservoir simulation to evaluate the performance of natural or induced waterfloods in petroleum reservoirs. Potential operating strategies ranging from rearrangement of waterflood patterns to drilling of new wells are investigated using reservoir simulation. Reservoir heterogeneity is a key parameter in simulations. New methods of incorporating the effects of reservoir heterogeneity are investigated.

Peer Reviewed Publications (last 7 years)

  • Nguyen, T.Q., D.W. Green, G.P. Willhite and C.S. McCool "Effects of Gelant Composition and Pressure Gradients of Water and Oil on Disproportionate Permeability Reduction of Sandpacks Treated with Polyacrylamide-Chromium Acetate Gels," SPE Journal (March 2006) 11, No. 1.
  • Jain, R, C.S. McCool, D.W. Green, G.P. Willhite and M.J. Michnick, "Reaction Kinetics of the Uptake of Chromium(III)Acetate by Polyacrylamide," SPE Journal (September 2005) 10, No.3.
  • Jin, Hong, C.S. McCool, G. P. Willhite, D.W. Green and M.J. Michnick: Propagation of Chromium(III) Acetate Solutions Through Dolomite Rock, SPE Paper 84941, SPE Journal (June 2003) .
  • Ganguly, S., G. P. Willhite, D. W. Green and C. S. McCool, "The Effect of Fluid Leakoff on Gel Placement and Stability in Fractures", SPE Journal, 7 (Sept. 2002). pp. 309 315.
  • Willhite, G.P., Zhu, H., Natarajan, D., McCool, C.S. and Green, D.W.: Mechanisms Causing Disproportionate Permeability in Porous Media Treated With Chromium Acetate/HPAAM Gels, SPE Paper 59345 presented at the SPE/DOE Twelfth Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, OK(April 2-5,2000, SPE Journal(March 2002)
  • Shaw, A.K., Singh, A., Battacharya, S., McCool, C.S., Green, D.W. and Willhite, G.P.: "Permeability Reduction by Treatment with KUSP1 Biopolymer Systems", SPE Paper 40065(now SPE 66048) presented at the SPE/DOE Eleventh Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, OK(April 19-22, 1998). SPE Journal(December 2000)
  • Zou, B., McCool, C.S., Green, D.W., Willhite, G.P. and Michnick, M.J.: "Precipitation of Chromium Acetate Solutions", SPE Paper 50742 prepared for presentation at the SPE International Symposium on Oilfield Chemistry, Houston, TX(Feb. 16-19, 1999)., SPE Journal 5 (3), September 2000
  • Zhuang, Y., Pandey, S.N., McCool, C.S. and Willhite, G.P.: "Permeability Modification using Sulfomethylated Resorcinol-Formaldehyde Gel System" SPE Journal, October 2000.
  • McCool, C.S., Green, D.W. and Willhite, G.P.: "Fluid-Rock Interactions Between Xanthan-Chromium(III) Gel Systems and Dolomite Core Material", SPE Production and Facilities 15 (3), August 2000, 159-167.
  • Zou, B., McCool, C.S., Green, D.W. and Willhite, G.P.: "A Study of the Chemical Interactions Between Brine Solutions and Dolomite", SPE Paper 39695 presented at the SPE/DOE Eleventh Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, OK(April 19-22, 1998). SPE Reservoir Engineering and Evaluation,3 (3), June 2000,209-215.


  • Waterflooding, published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, 1986, 326 pp.
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery, coauthored with Don Green. published by Society of Petroleum Engineers, 1998, 545pp. 

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