Course :: Non-conventional Geomechanics for Unconventional Resources (PGU0715-15)

22 – 23 August 2016, Beijing, China

With a Special Introductory Cocktail Party on the Evening of August 21st

Golden Gate and Violet Fog


Nowadays, unconventional resources have been brought into the forefront of the energy future due to the increase in demand of hydrocarbon and decline of production from conventional reservoirs. These energy sources are a fast-growing market and are recognized as having huge future potential for production worldwide. Due to low permeability of unconventional resources, production at commercial level requires conducting effective hydraulic fracturing and applying horizontal drilling technologies. Therefore, successful production from such complex reservoirs, with a typical poorly defined gas-water contact, natural fractures, and very low matrix permeability, is heavily dependent on the stress regime requiring sufficient geomechanical analyses.

Geomechanics is an essential component of production from both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. It is because of changes in rock deformation and stress caused by drilling and/or production is very likely to affect permeability and porosity during the whole life of a reservoir. The extraction of hydrocarbons from a reservoir changes the in-situ stresses, which potentially leads to compaction and subsidence impacting well and completion integrity, cap-rock and fault-seal integrity and fractures behavior. However, geomechanics for unconventional resources is to some extend different from conventional reservoirs due to intricacy imposed by inelastic matrix behavior, stress sensitivity, existence of cleats and natural fractures, rock rheology, and different pressure-temperature environments. In addition to the complex geology, petrophysics, and reservoir heterogeneities, unconventional reservoirs provide unique challenges related to hydrocarbon storage and flow in complex rock systems, thus requiring an improved fundamental understanding for effective production.

This course discusses the geomechanical aspects of unconventional resources and how it adds value to the development of this type of reservoirs.


  • Drilling, reservoir, completion, exploitation, and production engineers
  • Geoscientists, geologists, geophysicists, and petrophysicists
  • Field development managers, technical advisors, and laboratory personnel


This is an interactive course presenting in two modules: “Geomechanical Modeling” and “Geomechanics Applications for Shale Gas”. In the first part, the importance of geomechanics in development of shale gas resources will be discussed. Constructing 1D to 4D geomechanical models using geology and drilling information, well logs and core data from off-set wells is the major part of this section of the course. How to calibrate the model with regional stress and rock strength data will also be discussed.
The second part includes different applications of geomechanics related to shale plays. Mechanical and chemical wellbore instabilities, hydraulic fracturing design and optimization, maximizing production from natural fractures, compaction and subsidence, casing collapse, and multi lateral junctions are applications which will be covered in this module. The differences between geomechanical analysis in conventional and unconvetional reservoirs will be explained and special attention will be paid to rock anisotropy.


  • Detailed course manual including hard copy of all presented material
  • Course package including soft copy of course slides, relevant books and papers
  • EXCEL program for performing geomechanical modeling
  • Relevant case histories from different regions


Dr. HAMED SOROUSH is an internationally recognized geomechanics expert with more than 18 years of experience in different applications of rock mechanics. He has conducted or managed more than 100 consulting and research projects worldwide. He is currently working for Shell as a senior geomechanics consultant in Houston Technology Center. Prior to that, He was the global geomechanics advisor for Weatherford providing project coordination, support and training for geomechanics and petroleum engineering applications. He has also worked with companies such as Technical and Soil Laboratories, CSIRO, GMI, Senergy, and PDVSA in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, North Sea, and South America regions, in addition to three years of serving as a member of faculty at the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. Dr Soroush holds BSc in Mining Engineering, MSc in Rock Mechanics and PhD in Petroleum Engineering from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia. He has given several industry short courses for PETROLERN, SPE and EAGE and has served as scientific committee on many SPE conferences and workshops. He was selected as SPE Distinguished Lecturer for 2012 – 2013 program.


Day 1: Principals of Rock Mechanics and Geomechanical Modeling

Introduction to Geomechanics

  • Overview and history of geomechanics
  • Overview and history of unconventional resources
  • Importance and applications of geomechanics for shale plays
  • 1D to 3D Geomechanical Earth Modeling
  • Non-conventional vs. conventional geomechanics

Theories and Background

  • Theory of stress: stress tensor, principal stresses, effective stress, and stress around a borehole
  • Theory of deformation: displacement and strain, rock elastic constants, and constitutive models
  • Inelastic and anisotropic behavior of unconventional rocks
  • Theory of failure: failure mechanisms (shear, tensile and compaction), and failure criteria

Geomechanical Modeling

  • 1D to 3D geomechanical models
  • Rock property modeling: Lab-base and log-based techniques
  • Pore pressure prediction
  • Overburden stress calculation
  • Stress orientation determination
  • Minimum horizontal stress determination
  • Maximum horizontal stress estimation
  • Sources of stress perturbation
  • Field examples from shale plays

Day 2: Geomechanics Applications for Unconventional Resources

Wellbore Stability and Lost Circulation

  • Introduction to wellbore instability, effective parameters, and consequences
  • Modeling techniques and model calibration
  • Proper constitutive models for shale: Elastic, poroelastic, elastoplastic, or chemoporoplastic?
  • Accounting for anisotropy
  • Defining safe operating mud weight window
  • Well trajectory optimization, casing and mud design in anisotropic formation
  • Wellbore stability for deviated and horizontal wells
  • Time-dependent and chemical wellbore instability in shale
  • Wellbore stability in fractured formations
  • Wellbore stability for UBD
  • Field examples from unconventional plays

Hydraulic Fracturing

  • Introduction to hydraulic fracturing, history, importance to shale gas, and environmental impact
  • Interval selection for fracturing shale plays and brittleness determination
  • Stress field effect on orientation and extension of hydraulic fractures
  • Designing hydraulic fracturing for desired fracture morphology
  • Fracture toughness determination and fracture height containment
  • Multiple fracturing: design and optimization
  • Hydraulic fracture – natural fracture interaction
  • Field examples from unconventional plays

Production Optimization from Natural Fractures

  • Stress sensitivity concept and permeability changes
  • Natural fractures identification and modeling
  • Productive vs. non-productive fractures: Critically Stressed Fractures concept
  • Well trajectory design for maximum shale gas production

Please do not hesitate to contact if you need further assistance.