Geomechanics to the fore as oil & gas industry seeks to drive efficiencies
The prevailing conditions of the oil & gas market – the low oil price, the end of easy oil, the growth in alternatives and the zero risk tolerance culture – are forcing a drive for risk-free efficiency and cost-effectiveness. A growing focus on reservoir optimisation, as part of this drive, has revealed the need for cross-disciplinary expertise and geomechanics has emerged as the defining discipline. With this in mind, we (OTM Consulting) surveyed the industry to see if interest in geomechanics was sufficient to warrant the creation of a dedicated industry network.
What is geomechanics?
Geomechanics is the discipline that integrates rock mechanics, geophysics, petrophysics and geology to quantify the response of the earth to any changes in state of stress, pore pressure, and formation temperature. Increasingly the application of geomechanics is seen by many oil companies as being key to reducing non-productive time (NPT).
Who did we survey?
The survey generated over 80 responses from a range of companies and these were fairly evenly split between operators and service companies. Respondents came from a range of disciplines including geoscience, petrophysics and engineering. The participants were globally spread but with a predominance in Europe and the Americas.
What were the key findings?
The main findings were that organisations felt that geomechanics was increasingly important in their organisations and likely to become more so, culminating in our decision to launch an industry network to support the area. Significant results include:
- 82% of operators and 72% of service companies believe geomechanics is a priority area
- 79% of operators and 88% of service companies stated that they had inhouse geomechanics capability
Given the cross-disciplinary nature of geomechanics we were interested in where, as a function, it would sit in most businesses. Mostly it seems that it resides in drilling and/or completions or in the subsurface team – in geoscience or petrophysics. Unsurprisingly though, many organisations had it in different areas including management, production engineering and even distributed across various business units.
Geomechanics was also seen as critical right across the well lifecycle with almost equal importance being seen in drilling, well planning, reservoir lifecycle and completions. And, a substantial majority of respondents felt that the number of geomechanic studies would increase in the next five years.
A shortage of skills in the area means that knowledge sharing within organisations and beyond may be paramount and this underpins OTM’s decision to host a network initiative in this area to promote cooperation and learning across the industry.