Preparing for the Handover? Do Industry Young Professionals Risk Missing Out on the Opportunity To Understand Geomechanics and Its Value?

Jackeline Rodrigues (JR Geomechanics Consulting)

Geomechanics received attention in the mainstream petroleum industry in the late 1990s due to newer and better modeling techniques leading to far better drilling and production outcomes. However, that acceptance may be at risk due to a widening knowledge gap. There is a significant and growing gap between the knowledge that trained and experienced geomechanics experts bring to the industry and the knowledge of professionals trying to enter or re-enter the geomechanics discipline. As a result, there is a potential risk of missing out on the opportunity to transfer significant know-how such as how to properly conduct geomechanical analyses and how to approach field challenges. Therefore, passing the baton to a younger generation of geomechanics professionals is critical, since the evolving discipline will need to maintain or even increase its contribution to the industry as part of field or reservoir life-cycle optimization in the years to come. With the current reduced industry activity this valuable contribution is threatened.

Any geomechanics-related problem identified during the exploration stage is key. This is because a comprehensive understanding of the rock mechanical behavior in response to the evolving earth stresses over the life of the field will have the greatest impact when recognized early. Thus, acquiring data, such as cores or geophysical logs in the subsurface formations at the exploration and appraisal stage is necessary and knowing what to do with it is especially important. Continuing to give geomechanics credit as an important discipline will ensure that the next generation of professionals in the geomechanics community can contribute value during all stages of field development.