Current Role at Stanford

Research Engineer at the Energy Resources Engineering Department
Executive Director of the Center for Mechanistic Control of Unconventional Formations (CMC-UF)

Professional Interests

My work is currently focused on the use of imaging as a tool to characterize tight porous media. My imaging efforts toggle from nano, to micro and meso characterization using optical and X-ray imaging techniques to achieve insightful knowledge on the rock-fluid behavior of these systems. The overarching objective is to bridge scales from the nano resolution scaled images obtained from my experiments at SLAC, to micro-scale resolved at the SNSF facilities, to meso-scale imaging performed with medical CT scanners.

I am also involved in experimental investigation of enhanced oil recovery methods (such as CO2 or hot water injection) targeted at low permeability resources. My research explores the impact of different variables related to the recovery method (such as temperature, injection mode, miscibility conditions, injected fluid) and/or rock properties and how these are altered (wettability, porosity and permeability) and how they affect the effectiveness of the total oil recovered. Experiments usually involve CT scan imaging of the samples during the processes and the use of simulator-based models to represent and duplicate experimental results

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • SPE Membership Committee, SPE (2016 - 2019)
  • SPE Section and Chapter Activities Committee Chair, SPE (2015 - 2016)
  • SPE Section and Chapter Activities Committee, SPE (2014 - 2015)
  • SPE Section Director I, SPE Golden Gate Section (2013 - 2014)
  • SPE Section Chair, SPE Golden Gate Section (2012 - 2013)
  • SPE Western Regional Meeting Co-chair, SPE Western Regional Meeting (2012 - 2013)
  • SPE Section Vice-chair, SPE Golden Gate Section (2011 - 2012)
  • SPE Section Secretary and Webmaster, SPE Golden Gate Section (2008 - 2011)

All Publications

  • Fractal Characterization of Multimodal, Multiscale Images of Shale Rock Fracture Networks ENERGIES Vega, B., Kovscek, A. R. 2022; 15 (3)

    View details for DOI 10.3390/en15031012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000757211600001

  • 2D-to-3D image translation of complex nanoporous volumes using generative networks. Scientific reports Anderson, T. I., Vega, B., McKinzie, J., Aryana, S. A., Kovscek, A. R. 2021; 11 (1): 20768


    Image-based characterization offers a powerful approach to studying geological porous media at the nanoscale and images are critical to understanding reactive transport mechanisms in reservoirs relevant to energy and sustainability technologies such as carbon sequestration, subsurface hydrogen storage, and natural gas recovery. Nanoimaging presents a trade off, however, between higher-contrast sample-destructive and lower-contrast sample-preserving imaging modalities. Furthermore, high-contrast imaging modalities often acquire only 2D images, while 3D volumes are needed to characterize fully a source rock sample. In this work, we present deep learning image translation models to predict high-contrast focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) image volumes from transmission X-ray microscopy (TXM) images when only 2D paired training data is available. We introduce a regularization method for improving 3D volume generation from 2D-to-2D deep learning image models and apply this approach to translate 3D TXM volumes to FIB-SEM fidelity. We then segment a predicted FIB-SEM volume into a flow simulation domain and calculate the sample apparent permeability using a lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) technique. Results show that our image translation approach produces simulation domains suitable for flow visualization and allows for accurate characterization of petrophysical properties from non-destructive imaging data.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-00080-5

    View details for PubMedID 34675247

  • Multimodal imaging and machine learning to enhance microscope images of shale COMPUTERS & GEOSCIENCES Anderson, T., Vega, B., Kovscek, A. R. 2020; 145
  • RockFlow: Fast Generation of Synthetic Source Rock Images Using Generative Flow Models ENERGIES Anderson, T. I., Guan, K. M., Vega, B., Aryana, S. A., Kovscek, A. R. 2020; 13 (24)

    View details for DOI 10.3390/en13246571

    View details for Web of Science ID 000602817200001

  • Investigation of Stress Field and Fracture Development During Shale Maturation Using Analog Rock Systems TRANSPORT IN POROUS MEDIA Vega, B., Yang, J., Tchelepi, H., Kovscek, A. R. 2019
  • A systematic study of internal gas generation in shale source rocks using analog experiments JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING Vega, B., Kovscek, A. R. 2019; 173: 209–21
  • Detecting Opal-CT Formation Resulting from Thermal Recovery Methods in Diatomites. SPE Western Regional Meeting Ross, C. M., Vega, B., Peng, J., Ikeda, M., Lagasca, J. R., Tang, G., Kovscek, A. R. 2016
  • Imaging-Aided Study of Relative Permeability Response to Temperature in Diatomaceous Rocks SPE Western Regional Meeting Vega, B., Kovscek, A. R. 2015
  • Imaging-Based Characterization of Calcite-Filled Fractures and Porosity in Shales SPE Journal Vega, B., Ross, C. M., Kovscek, A. R. 2015

    View details for DOI 10.2118/2014-1922521-PA

  • Steady-State Relative Permeability Measurements, Temperature Dependency and a Reservoir Diatomite Core Sample Evolution SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Vega, B., Kovscek, A. R. 2014
  • CT Imaging of Low Permeability, Dual Porosity Systems Using High X-Ray Contrast Gas Transport in Porous Media Vega, B., Dutta, A., Kovscek, A. R. 2014; 101 (1): 81-97
  • Nanoscale visualization of Gas Shale Pore and Textural Features Unconventional Resources Technology Conference Vega, B., Andrews, J., Liu, Y., Gelbs, J., Kovscek, A. R. 2013
  • Thermally Induced Fracture Reconsolidation of Diatomite Under No Flow Conditions SPE Western Regional Meeting Vega, B., Tang, G., Kovscek, A. R. 2011
  • Experimental Investigation of Oil Recovery From Siliceous Shale by Miscible CO2 Injection SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Vega, B., O'Brien, W. J., Kovscek, A. R. 2010
  • The Effect of Temperature and Oil Viscosity Reduction on Water Imbibition of Diatomite SPE Western Regional Meeting Vega, B., Kovscek, A. R. 2010
  • Storage of Greenhouse Gases in Oil and Gas Reservoirs Developments and innovation in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology Kovscek, A. R., Vega, B. Woodhead Publishers. 2009
  • Experimental Investigation of Oil Recovery From Siliceous Shale by CO2 Injection SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Vega, B., Kovscek, A. R., Tang, G. 2008
  • Relative Permeability Curves for Solution Gas Drive in Heavy Oils X Colombian Oil Congress Vega, B. 2003
  • Treatment of Waste Water/Oil Emulsions Using Microwave Radiation SPE Health, Safety and Environment Conference Vega, C., Delgado, M., Vega, B. 2002