Petroleum engineering focuses on the development, exploration, drilling, production and management of our oil and natural gas resources, and other minerals. Using their knowledge of petroleum geology and reservoir behaviour, petroleum engineers develop safe, effective ways to explore and recover hydrocarbon products on- and off-shore.

Our Petroleum Engineering Laboratory houses equipment and facilities for the measurements and tests – conducted on reservoir rock and fluid samples – which provide the necessary data for drilling and reservoir engineering practices.

Students can calculate drilling mud properties and rheology (the study of the flow of matter), and the properties of rock samples and core plugs – including porosity, permeability (an indication of the ability for fluids to flow through rocks) and relative permeabilities.

As well as experimental facilities, the lab also benefits from a drilling simulator and samples for hydrocarbon fluids, formation rocks and well intervention tools.

Petroleum Engineering students – along with some PhD students from the Geology department – use the facility to determine core properties from Siliciclastic and Carbonate core samples.

In the past, MSc students have also performed experiments on core samples property determination and comparative studies between digital and experimental core analysis.


  • Porosity measurement apparatus
  • Soxhlet extractor, for the extraction of a liquid from a solid material
  • Manual saturator and desaturation equipment
  • Air and liquid permeability measurement apparatus
  • Drilling mud density, viscosity, rheology and filtration measuring equipment
  • Resistivity/conductivity measuring apparatus
  • Drilling alkalinity/temperature probe
  • High power/high tower (HPHT) and low power/low tower (LTLP) measuring equipment
  • Drilling simulator
  • Bacteriocin Release Protein (BRP) relative permeability measurement apparatus

Industry standard Integrated Production Modelling software

The University of Portsmouth has received a donation of software with the equivalent commercial value of £4,446,137.28 from Petroleum Experts Limited.

Petroleum Experts are the developers of the Integrated Production Modelling (IPM) and MOVE software suite - industry standard tools used by more than 350 oil and gas companies worldwide.

With 10 licences we are able to offer students the use of software applications which are capable of modelling the complete petroleum production system from the reservoir to the surface network:

  • MBAL
  • GAP
  • PVTP
  • MOVE
  • 2D Kinematic Modelling
  • 3D Kinematic Modelling
  • Geomechanical Modelling
  • Fracture Modelling
  • Fault Response Modelling
  • Fault Analysis
  • Stress Analysis
  • MOVE Link Petrel
  • MOVE Link OpenWorks
  • MOVE Link GST

Models built using the IPM suite can be used to optimise hydrocarbon production from new and existing oil and gas fields.

We're delighted to be working with Petroleum Experts Ltd and to be able to offer the best facilities for our students.

Where to find us

Drilling and Petroleum Engineering Laboratory

School of Mechanical and Design Engineering
Anglesea Building
Anglesea Road