Dr. Zhangxing (John) Chen

Dr. Zhangxing (John) Chen, PhD

Pronouns: Professor, NSERC/Energi Simulation Industrial Research Chair, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering



Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Contact information

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-7825


Office: CCIT210

For media enquiries, contact

Joe McFarland
Media Relations and Communications Specialist

Cell: +1.403.671.2710
Email: Joe.Mcfarland@ucalgary.ca

I'm looking for...

Study participants

Dr. Chen is taking students (graduate or post-doc) at this time, with a strong background in programming (C, C++) and petroleum engineering. If interested, please email him at zhachen@ucalgary.ca.


Educational Background

B.S. Mathematics and Engineering, The University of Jiangxi, 1983

Doctor of Philosophy Applied Mathematics, Purdue University, 1991

M.S. Computational Mathematics, Xian Jiaotong University, 1985


Areas of Research

Reservoir Simulation

Dr. Chen's research has created a state-of-the-art reservoir simulation toolkit that allows for multiple parallel runs, faster computation and rigorous optimization. He has developed numerical techniques that are faster and have greater accuracy than are currently available. These techniques will assist history matching methods and increase the effectiveness of field optimization. In turn, these advancements will improve the workflow, including risk and uncertainty analysis. There will be an overall significant improvement in the modeling and simulation processes of enhanced oil recovery for unconventional oil and gas (tight and shale oil and gas, CBM), heavy oil and oil sands.

Dr. Chen’s group is focused on optimizing industry capacity to extract energy resources. Specifically, the group focuses on modeling and simulation of advanced energy recovery processes, such as: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS); Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS); Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD); Expanding Solvent Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (ES-SAGD); Vapor Extraction Process (VAPEX) for Heavy Oil and Bitumen Reservoirs; Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale and Tight Oil and Gas and CBM (coal bed methane); and, Underground Coal Gasification (UCG).

Key areas of research include (1) derivation of physical and mathematical models; (2) upscaling from geomodels to reservoir simulation models; (3) development and study of high order and accurate numerical methods (e.g., finite volumes and finite elements); (4) development and analysis of linear and nonlinear solvers (new pre-conditioners, solvers, parallelization technology, and solution schemes); (5) validation and applications; (6) reservoir simulation software development. Mathematical modeling and computer simulation are important for process design and optimization and reservoir performance prediction.

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
ENCH 621 Reservoir Simulation Winter 2021


Hybrid Quantum-Classical Reservoir Simulator on Quantum Computing Hardware

Extended Reality Innovations for Reservoir Engineering

Accelerating and Visualizing Machine Learning for Reservoir Simulation

Digital Technologies in Reservoir Interpretation and Production Prediction


  • Fellow of Energy Institute of Canada, Energy Institute of Canada. 2019
  • Fellow of Canadian Academy of Engineering, Canadian Academy of Engineering. 2017
  • NSERC’s Synergy Award for Innovation, NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada). 2017
  • Peak Scholar in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Knowledge Engagement, University of Calgary. 2017
  • Research Achievement Award, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary. 2018
  • The Fields-CAIMS Industrial Mathematics Prize, Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society and the Fields Institute. 2017
  • Imperial Oil University Research Award, 2014
  • NSERC Discovery Grant Accelerator Award, NSERC. 2013
  • IBM Faculty Award, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA, 2011
  • Honoree of the Alberta Science and Technology Outstanding Leadership, Alberta, ASTech. 2010
  • iCORE Industrial Chair, Alberta Innovates. 2009
  • The Overall Research Excellence Award for the School, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, 2009
  • NSERC/ Energi Simulation Chair, NSERC / Energi Simulation. 2008
  • Killam Professor Award, Killam Trust and University of Calgary, Canada. 2020
  • Fellow, The Parex Resources Innovation Fellowship Program. 2021
  • Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, Royal Society of Canada (RSC), Canada. 2020
  • Academician , The Chinese Academy of Engineering. 2021
  • Member, EU Academy of Sciences. 2022
  • The Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Technology Award, ASTech Award, Alberta, Canada. 2012


  • Well Production Performance Analysis in Shale Gas Reservoirs. Liehui Zhang; Zhangxin Chen; Yulong Zhao. Developments in Petroleum Science, Elsevier. 376. (2019)
  • Finite Volume Methods for the Incompressible Navier-Stokes Equations. Jian Li; Xiaolin Lin; Zhangxin Chen. Springer-Verlag. 122. (2018)
  • Hybrid EOR Processes for Heavy Oil Reservoirs. Xiaohu Dong; Huiqing Liu; Zhangxin Chen. Elsevier. 319. (2021)
  • The Finite Element Method: Its Fundamentals and Applications in Engineering. Zhangxin Chen. World Scientific. (2011)
  • Reservoir Simulation: Mathematical Techniques in Oil Recovery. Zhangxin Chen. SIAM, Philadelphia. (2007)
  • Computational Methods for Multiphase Flows in Porous Media. Zhangxin Chen. SIAM, Philadelphia. (2006)
  • Finite Element Methods and Their Applications. Zhangxin Chen. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg and New York. (2005)