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IGY 2 Postscript (a.k.a. I Told You So!)

It's the weekend, and I'm taking a bit of much-needed time to catch up on my reading, including the latest issue of Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT). Just a few years ago, every issue had at least a couple of articles related to geomechanics, but I haven't seen much in recent years. This January issue, however, is much, much different.

While the word "geomechanics" might not be in there anywhere, the subject most certainly is. Here's a rundown:

  • The article Water Demand Spurs Permian Infracstructure Investment discusses the topic of salt water disposal through both relatively shallow and deep wells. While not addressed in the article, the link between water disposal and induced seismicity is a hot topic these days. It will be interesting to see how focus increases on it as time goes on.

  • Jeff Moss's director's outlook for 2018 for Drilling states that "...measures of hole quality and position could begin competing with drilling speed as a measure of success. 'It will be interesting to watch the market sort out which technologies are adding true and sustainable value,' Moss said." Hellooooooooo, geomechanics!

  • In the same piece, Tom Blasingame, Director for Reservoir Description and Dynamics says, based on a short list of advisory board concerns, "We need some sort of tool or method to estimate fracture height." Look for an emerging new generation of hydraulic fracture models that will do just that. (As an aside, I also love - in a sad kind of way - how he said that the "great crew change" became "a great crew massacre." So true.)

  • On the very same page, Completions director, Jennifer Miskimins, in apparent agreement with Jeff Moss, states that "Drilling performance is commonly judged based on speed, which is easy to measure. It is widely understood that the value of a completion, as measured by future production, will vary depending on the quality of the well. Generally that means drilling a relatively straight hole through the best rock. But there is no simple accepted measure for grading that work." She addresses rock quality along the length of the well in addition to frac hits as issues of increasing performance.

  • Even J.C. Cunha talks about, in the Management in Information outlook, the Macondo blowout in his discussion around human factors in safety and decision-making.

  • The Well Integrity and Well Control Technology Focus section has article summaries on managed pressure drilling (a geomechanical issue in part because you ought to have some idea of what pressures you should be managing within), using downhole pressure measurements to identify and mitigate geomechanical problems such as wellbore ballooning and kicks, and using microseismic and radar to monitor ground deformation and well integrity in thermal applications.

I hope that this is the new beginning of an old trend - increasing awareness of the critical role geomechanics plays in our industry. Happy reading!

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