Robert Walsh is a Senior Engineer with Geofirma, specializing in numerical modelling of geosphere processes, with a particular interest in hydrogeology, (hydro)-mechanical processes, thermal transport, multiphase flow modelling and coupled processes. Robert is a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario, with 16 years of experience in numerical modelling of geosphere processes. He has worked on numerous projects modelling hydrogeology, multiphase flow, rock mechanics, thermal transport, and coupled processes. Robert also has extensive experience in the numerical modelling and characterization of fractured crystalline bedrock, sedimentary rock, and near-surface geological systems, in terms of both hydrogeological and geomechanical features.
Robert studied civil engineering at the University of Alberta and continued with graduate studies in Germany, where he studied the physical coupling of thermal, hydraulic, and mechanical processes in fractured rock, and developed new methods to model these processes. Through this work, he developed a deep understanding of rock mechanics. He returned to Canada in 2007, and much of his work focused on solving the problem of safe disposal of radioactive waste, with an emphasis on the subsurface transport of soluble radionuclides, and the production and transport of gases in a waste repository setting.
Recently, Robert has led a multi-year effort to model the effect of increasing maximum gas injection pressure for gas storage in a large number of depleted natural gas reservoirs. This work assessed the integrity of cap rocks containing pressurized gases by modelling changes in stress-induced under increased gas pressure. Parameter uncertainty is addressed through probabilistic sensitivity analysis, providing a quantitative assessment of the risk of delta pressuring.
Robert has also been involved in developing regulations for potential compressed-air energy storage (CAES) projects in pinnacle structures in Ontario: identifying uncertainties, limitations and unique technical challenges. He was also instrumental in developing a Technology Roadmap to Address Wellbore Leakage, contributing a section on wellbore abandonment and compiling the summary report. Robert was also the lead modeller for a scoping tool to identify and characterize pathways for methane emission from natural gas and oil wells in a legacy hydrocarbon well field.
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