N354 GeoMechanics: Exploration to Field Rejuvenation

Course Facts

Course Code:
5 days
4.0 Continuing Education Units
40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


This course will provide participants with relevant concepts related to their own respective disciplines, presented as system of processes corresponding to the geomechanical processes operative in their asset or exploration blocks. Participants will learn to ask the right geomechanical questions and how to recognize a reliable geomechanical model before embarking upon an analytical process to design and assess exploration, development and rejuvenation operations.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day classroom course, comprising a combination of classroom lectures, exercises and case studies.

Participants will learn to:

  1. Distinguish between a sound geomechanical model which makes sense versus one that does not.
  2. Create value of information by integrating geological, geophysical and engineering data as part of a system of geomechanical processes.
  3. Use modern geomechanical principles to evaluate exploration risks in the context of trap integrity and optimize well planning to maximize the value of exploration and appraisal wells.
  4. Optimize development drilling and completions which take into account the stress evolution effects associated with hydrocarbon production, gas storage and CO2 sequestration and geothermal operations.
  5. Better plan with new geomechanical insights how field rejuvenation should be executed to further maximize the value of the assets. These processes include water flooding, hydraulic fracturing, in-fill drilling and rock analysis.

There is a growing body of evidence that accurate geomechanical models, serving to quantify the physical state of stress operative in the subsurface, have an immediate impact on reservoir exploration, development, exploitation and rejuvenation. Applications are widespread and include hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, fluid injection for pressure maintenance, CO2 sequestration, and hydraulic stimulation for enhanced recovery in unconventional reservoirs. 

The process of quantifying a geomechanical model specific to an asset is a multi-disciplinary analysis of the subsurface stress state specific to the asset’s location on the planet. Elements of a geomechanical model include an accurate quantification of the present-day or contemporary state of absolute stress magnitudes (SHmax, Shmin and Sv), SHmax stress directions, pore pressure (Pp), and a suite of rock properties through the reservoir, overburden and underburden.  Depending on the availability of information from offset wells, regional tectonics and field history; it is also possible to gain an understanding of how the reservoir will evolve as a result of human intervention (i.e., production and injection).

Key topics: Exploration and Appraisal Geomechanics, Field Development Geomechanics, Asset Management Geomechanics, Field Rejuvenation Geomechanics.

Day 1:

  • Geomechanics Overview
  • First Principles of stress and strain
  • Material Properties
  • Indicators of past and present earth stresses
  • Materials responding to stresses
  • Rock properties and measurements
  • Rock failure mechanisms
  • Faults and natural fractures
  • Subsurface fluid flow along faults and natural fractures
  • Earth stress measurements
  • Earth stress tensor
  • Earth stress regimes
  • Earth stress directions
  • Stress constraints in the Earth

Day 2:

  • Vertical or overburden stress
  • Pore pressure
  • Least principal stress
  • Hydraulic fracturing principles
  • Minimum and Maximum horizontal stress
  • Elastic stresses in borehole
  • Compressive failure in vertical boreholes
  • Rock strength from cores
  • Rock strength from logging data

Day 3:

  • Drilling operations and influence on rock failure
  • Compressive failure in deviated boreholes
  • Tensile failure in deviated boreholes
  • Rational for selecting well trajectories
  • Monitoring boreholes while drilling
  • Logging wells while drilling to monitor borehole conditions
  • Wireline logging for engineering and geology
  • Rock failure and stress
  • Hydraulic fracturing for estimating least principal stress
  • Wellbore failure for estimating principal stresses in vertical wells
  • Wellbore failure for estimating principal stresses in deviated wells
  • Verifying absolute stress magnitudes from drilling experiences
  • Verifying pore pressure from drilling experiences
  • Verifying absolute stress magnitudes from geology
  • Alternative methods for estimating stress magnitudes
  • Calibration of alternative methods with in-situ borehole observations

Day 4:

  • Pore pressure predictions
  • Alternative methods for predicting pore pressure
  • 1D Geomechanical models reviewed
  • Quantifying uncertainties and identifying important data deficiencies
  • Removing uncertainties by designing new wells that fill gaps
  • Overview of the state of the art in geomechanical applications
  • Integrity of natural fractures in exploration drilling and production
  • Directional drilling and production enhancement in fractured reservoirs
  • Depletion-induced stress evolution

Day 5:

  • Wellbore construction and wellbore stability
  • Mud weight and ECD designs for wellbore stability and well control while drilling
  • Underbalanced or managed pressure drilling
  • Directional drilling options for wellbore stability and reservoir exposure
  • Mud chemistry and controlling rock failure
  • Wellbore integrity and sand/solids production
  • Sand/solids production prediction methods
  • Depletion-induced compaction and stress evolution
  • Unconventional reservoirs
  • Role of hydraulic fracturing in shale gas/oil, coal bed methane and tight sands exploitation

Who should attend

High math skills are recommended for this course. It is aimed at geoscientists and professionals from other disciplines (e.g., engineers) who require an understanding of geomechanical processes to optimize their regular work.

Prerequisites and linking courses

There are no prerequisites for this course, although a basic understanding of geological and engineering principles would be highly beneficial.  Field course N266: Stress and Geomechanical Analyses (West Texas, USA) also examines geomechanical processes and models.

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

David Castillo