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Advancing Reservoir Geomechanics Research for Unconventional Resources!

Rick Chalaturnyk, PhD, PEng!

Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group [RG]2! •  Foundation CMG Endowed Chair in Reservoir Geomechanics!
University of Alberta! •  Foundation CMG Industrial Research Chair in Reservoir Geomechanics for Unconventional Resources!

In contrast to conventional hydrocarbon reservoirs where flow in
the pore space dominates the physics of recovery, exploitation of
unconventional reservoirs typically involves recovery processes that
produce complex thermal, chemical and stress changes within the Fundamental Constitutive !
reservoir that can significantly influence recovery. !
For oil sands reservoirs, the steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) Behaviour of Unconventional Assessment of Reservoir Scale
recovery process results not only in a complex interaction of !Formations ! Characterization &
Behavior of
Properties !
geomechanics and multiphase flow in primarily cohesionless porous Geomaterials
•  Upscaling Methodologies for Reservoir Geomechanical
media (sand), but also in significant interactions with intra-formational
•  Multiphase Behavior of Oil Sands!
•  Reservoir Geomechanical Characterization of Gas Shales! Modelling!
shale facies and shale dominated caprocks. The geomechanical
response of an oil sands reservoir to fluid pressure changes or to •  Intraformational and Caprock Shale Thermal Behavior! •  In Situ Stress Measurement: Techniques and Interpretation!
temperature changes results in stress and deformations that affect •  Reservoir Geomechanical Characterization of Bitumen Carbonates! •  Reservoir Geomechanical Pressuremeter!
formation shearing, hydraulic properties such as absolute and relative •  Seismic Frequency Dynamic Properties! •  Physical Modelling to Verify Behaviour of
permeability, and the stability of underground openings. Temperature
•  Constitutive Behavior of Thermal and Non-Thermal Oilfield Cements! Discrete Fracture Network Models!
increase causes thermal expansion of the sand grains and sand Digital
structure, and pore pressure increase during steam injection decreases
the effective confining stress. For the anisotropic in situ stress state in Fabrication!
•  Exact scaled
the reservoir, pore pressure will also generate shear stresses and shear representation of DFN’s!
strains in the sand structure. These processes combine to result in a •  Exact representation of
net change in reservoir pore volume and permeability. ! heterogeneity in core
For unconventional low permeability gas reservoirs (i.e. tight gas specimens!
sands, shale gas), production from either a conductive natural fracture
system or fracture system created from single or multi-stage hydraulic
fracturing is sensitive to the stress evolution accompanying drawdown
and depletion, which can cause fractures to close, reducing
permeability and creating challenges to sustaining economic flow rates.
While hydraulic fracturing has been in use for decades, understanding
Reservoir Geomechanical Field Scale

relatively complex fracture systems consisting of both pre-existing and Responses at Field Scale ! Geomechanics
newly created (by hydraulic stimulation) fractures remains a challenging
task, as the key mechanisms governing the interactions between the
•  Thermal Well Integrity Assurance Modelling! Geomechanical Modelling !
propagating new fractures and the existing fracture network, and the
•  Re-Analysis of Joslyn Creek Steam Release Incident! •  Adaptive Continuum/Discontinuum Modelling!
coupling between geomechanics and fluid dynamics, remains •  Integrated Well Designs for Reservoir Surveillance! •  Geomechanics and Geochemistry in Reservoir
unresolved. These fracture systems define reservoirs that upon •  Physical Modelling Studies for SAGD " Streamline Simulations! Geomechanical
depletion will evolve mechanically over production time scales leading ! !Caprock Integrity! Deformation/Stress
to changes in fault behaviour, stress configuration, compaction and
OUT Geomechanics IN
ultimately, compartmentalization of the reservoir. ! Stress Path Pressure
Improved understanding of reservoir-geomechanical behaviour of Volumetric Strain Temperature
Gas Volume
Mechanical Properties
the oil sands, bitumen carbonates and bounding shale zones is critical
for the efficient, safe operation of these industrial projects and will also IN Stress Path Pressure

Temperature OUT
assist in improving reservoir surveillance techniques and production Synthetic Rock
Gas Volume

Fluid Flow
optimization activities. ! Mass
Mechanical Properties
Matrix Porosity
Fracture Porosity IN
The IRC research program will create an environment where Discrete Permeability
reservoir geomechanics research for unconventional reservoirs will be IN Network OUT
carried out in a sustained, coordinated and integrated fashion. Δ DFN
Fracture Porosity
Independent but interrelated research projects developed in each step
of the workflow will enable research and fundamental knowledge to be
applied to solving a particular problem. Over the IRC research Collaborator Organization / Expertise
program, research components encompass the full range of Dr. Mario Costa Sousa U of Calgary/Visualization/CMG Chair
Dr. David Dewhurst CISRO/Shale Laboratory Workflow
unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs, including oil sands, shale Dr. Maurice Dusseault University of Waterloo/Petroleum Geomechanics
caprocks, shale gas, coal (coalbed methane, enhanced coalbed methane Dr. Sebastian Geiger Heriot-Watt U/Carbonate Reservoirs/CMG Chair
Dr. Leonardo Guimaraes UFPE-Brazil/Geomechanics/CMG Chair
with CO2, underground gasification) and bitumen carbonates.!