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Viterbi Faculty Directory

Iraj Ershaghi

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Omar B. Milligan Chair in Petroleum Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science


  • 1965, Bachelor's Degree, Petroleum Engineering, University of Tehran
  • Doctoral Degree, Petroleum Engineering, University of Southern California
  • Master's Degree, Petroleum Engineering, University of Southern California


Ph.D., Petroleum Engineering, University of Southern California, 1972
M.S., Petroleum Engineering, University of Southern California, 1968
B.S., Petroleum Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran, 1965

A graduate of University of Tehran and USC, Iraj Ershaghi is the Omar B. Milligan Professor and Director of the Petroleum Engineering Program at USC. He is also serving as the Executive Director of CiSoft and the Executive Director of UKC Education Research Center. His research areas include well test modeling of complex naturally fractured reservoirs, pattern recognition techniques for monitoring water floods and EOR processes, reservoir characterization, unconventional resources, properties of geothermal brines and soft computing in Smart Digital Oilfield design and operations. Awards and recognition by various institutions and professional societies include: USC School of Engineering, Distinguished Service and Senior research Awards, Outstanding Educator Award OCCE; SPE’s Distinguished Service Award; Technology Transfer Award for Development of the Smart Oilfield Technology Curriculum; North America Western Region, Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award, International John Franklin Carll Award and the SPE/AIME Honorary Member Medal. He served on the National Board of Directors of RPSEA. In 2014 was Inducted into the U S National Academy of Engineers
He worked for SIRIP, Signal Oil and Gas, CA State Lands Commission, U S Dept. of Justice, U S Dept. of Interior, Chemical Research Laboratories McFarland Energy, National Bureau of Standards and many others.

Research Summary

* Smart Oilfield Technologies
* Naturally Fractured Reservoirs
* Pressure Transient Modeling
* Reservoir Characterization and Compartmentalized Systems

Production Geology
Simulations of transport processes in complex geological structure require detailed microlamination studies and inter-flow unit characterization. Synergistic approaches to combine signals from pressure transients and performance data for correlation of geological markers are being developed. Heterogeneities in subterranean reservoirs associated with faults need to be characterized. Multiple interference tests can potentially provide a significant insight into lateral and vertical communications. Predictive models are being developed to examine the impact of fault zones in terms of their transmissivities on pressure transient tests. Various conceptual models should be scrutinized to minimize the non-uniqueness of the predictive process.

Fractured Reservoirs
Multi-phase flow and pressure transient response characteristics of complex fractured rocks are being investigated. Improvements for scale-up processes of laboratory-derived pseudo-properties to large scale networks of fracture are being developed. Process related recovery issues are examined for systems exhibiting multiple porosity behaviors. Interporosity characteristics of tight rocks are being examined for various system properties. Predictive techniques are being developed for recovery processes in fractured systems under the influence of steam, solvent, and low tension floods.

Well Productivity Improvement
Studies are underway to develop effective methods for augmenting lift mechanisms in low pressure reservoirs. Initial studies are focused on low pressure gas reservoirs as affected by liquid loading.

Integrated Asset Mangement
Collaborative studies are underway addressing the issues related to data mining of massive data from continuously recorded sensors, asset component definition and diagnostics for detection of reservoir flow units.


  • 1983 Society of Petroleum Engineers Distinguished Faculty Award
  • 1983 Tau Beta Pi Teaching Award
  • 1996 Society of Petroleum Engineers Distinguished Member Award
  • 1996 Fellow of Professional Society
  • 1996 Endow Chaired Professorship
  • 1996 USC School of Engineering Distinguished Service Award
  • 2000 Fellow of Professional Society
  • 2002 Fellow Institute for Advancement of Engineering
  • 2003 Orange Council of Engineers and Scientist Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2003 American Association for Advancement of Engineering Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2003 Foreign Academy Affilication
  • 2005 Society of Petroleum Engineers Western North America Distinguished Service Award
  • 2006 Society of Petroleum Engineers Technology Transfer Award for Development of the Smart Oilfield Technology Curriculum
  • 2007 Society of Petroleum Engineers Reservoir Description and Dynamics
  • 2010 Society of Petroleum Engineers John Franklin Carll Award
  • 2010 USC Viterbi School of Engineering Viterbi Service Award
  • 2012 AIME-SPE Honorary Member AIME-SPE
  • 2014 USC Viterbi School Senior Researcher Award
  • 2014 National Academy of Engineering Member
  • Director, PTE-KOC Partnership
  • Director, Petroleum Engineering Program
  • Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

  • HED 316
  • Hedco Pertroleum and Chemical Engineering Building
  • 925 Bloom Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 1211

Contact Information
  • (213) 740-0321
  • ershaghi@usc.edu


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