The workflow below illustrates what goes into, and what flows out of, a geomechanical analysis. It's clear that the most important step, the one that can't be skipped (but frequently is), is determining the in situ stresses. Not just the minimum stress, but all three principal stresses. It takes more than a short course to understand how to "do" geomechanics, especially in complex geological environments. At Enlighten we have been doing geomechanics work for more than 20 years , consulting in a wide variety of settings and applications.
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Geomechanics is a kind of a good news/bad news discipline. The good news is that its relevance has grown as the industry has changed over time, especially with the rise of hydraulic fracturing in unconventional reservoirs. The bad news is that many non-experts or people with very limited experience try to apply it and end up overlooking important components, falling victim to misconceptions, or taking misleading, if not actually detrimental, shortcuts.
Here are some examples of bad geomechanics. We bet some sound familiar:
"Brittleness" (it's not just us)
Regional geomechanics that doesn't include full stress determination
Overly simplified hydraulic fracture models, especially if just the default inputs are used
This situation is primarily the result of geomechanics growing as a discipline faster than the number of people with geomechanics expertise.
If you'd like to know more about how you can apply sound geomechanics to reduce risks and costs, please get in touch. If we can't help you, we know people who can. Geomechanics is still a pretty tight-knit community.