Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Structure and Tectonics

Application of Geomechanics to Reservoir Characterization, Management and Hydraulic Stimulation (Wyoming, USA)

Course Code: N379
Instructors:  Peter HenningsJon Olson
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
5 days

Next Event

Location: Wyoming, USA
Date:  31 Jul. - 4 Aug. 2023
Start Time: 09:00 MDT
Event Code: N379a23F
Fee From: USD $11,550 (exc. Tax)


Business Impact: Participants will acquire an improved geomechanical perspective which will enable them to better discern superior vs. marginal prospects and completion strategies, enhancing value and reducing costs in day to day company operations.

The goal of this field workshop is to provide geoscientists and engineers with a thorough and practical exposure to the range of topics required to understand, characterize and predict the geomechanical response of reservoir rocks to geologic processes, field management, and hydraulic fracturing. The deep integration of geological mechanics and reservoir engineering is a primary goal of the course and is woven throughout via integrated and interactive class projects worked by interdisciplinary teams.


Wonderful course - outcrop examples were spectacular. Great content and discussion of implications for our basins.


Event Code: N379a23F
Duration: 5 days
Instructors: Peter Hennings, Jon Olson
Dates: 31 Jul. - 4 Aug. 2023
Start Time: 09:00 MDT
Location: Wyoming, USA
Fee From
USD $11,550 (exc. Tax)
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Duration and Training Method

This five-day field workshop interweaves fundamental background material from lectures, first-hand field observations, and interactive group exercises to yield a robust technical discussion leading to an understanding of how the application of geomechanics can be used for quantitative reservoir characterization and management applications, including reservoir stimulation.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

    1. Assess how rock type relates to mechanical behavior and mechanical properties.
    2. Assess the role of mechanical stratigraphy and its evolution with deformation.
    3. Evaluate changes in rock properties from burial, uplift, pore pressure, deformation, and diagenesis.
    4. Characterize in situ stress from engineering and wellbore data and geologic constraints.
    5. Evaluate mechanisms of rock failure including jointing, shearing, reactivation, folding.
    6. Create predictive models that link natural fracture character with geologic drivers and relate to hydrofractures.
    7. Judge how structural heterogeneities impact reservoir flow performance.
    8. Judge how geologic heterogeneities impact hydraulic fracture geometry and performance.
    9. Understand reservoir structural hierarchy from reservoir to trap to basin scale.
    10. Gain an introductory understanding of Laramide Rockies petroleum systems including sources, reservoirs, traps, and seals.

    The class is based in the Laramide Rockies of central Wyoming. All of the outcrops visited are within a one hour drive of Casper, which is the home base of the course. An important element of the course is the quantitative comparison in the field and in lecture of the geomechanical behavior of all important petroleum reservoir rock types including high-quality sandstone, tight sandstone, carbonate, unconventional shale, and fractured basement. Participants will learn applications of geomechanical analysis that can be directly applied to reservoir characterizations and for field management decisions. Important learning vehicles of the course are five group exercises/projects that begin with direct outcrop analysis and end with discussion/presentation of reservoir characterization with field management implications.

    The main topics addressed are:

    1. How rock mechanical properties govern deformation character
    2. Reservoir types considered: unconventional/shale, eolian, tight sandstone, carbonate, fractured basement
    3. Methods for interpretation of in situ stress and stress analysis applications
    4. Approaches for fractured reservoir characterization
    5. Approaches for assessing geologic controls on natural fracture development
    6. Estimating how natural fractures couple with stress state to influence reservoir performance
    7. Relationship between deformation, fracturing, diagenesis, and evolution of mechanical stratigraphy
    8. Structural hierarchy from basin to trap to reservoir scale


    Day 0

    Travel to Casper, Wyoming

    Day 1

    Introductory Lectures and Field Stops

            • Course introduction and safety briefing
            • Introductory lectures
              • Understanding rock mechanical properties, testing, and data
              • Rock failure and earth stress
              • Mechanics of fracture
              • Geology of central Wyoming
                    • Field stops at Casper Mountain and Emigrant Gap
                      • Regional geological setting and structural architecture
                      • Fault damage zones and collection of Project 2 observations
                      • Large-scale structural fabric and importance of structural inheritance
                    • Evening lecture, ice breaker, and dinner (Fire Rock Brew Pub, 5:00-8:00 pm)
                      • Basics of fracture characterization

                                    Day 2

                                    Rock Deformational Response, Outcrop Fracture Characterization, Development of a Geologic Fracture Model

                                    • Field stops in the Oil Mountain area
                                      • Fracturing and shearing of the Teapot Sandstone
                                      • Fracturing and properties of the Frontier Sandstone
                                      • Basics of quantitative fracture characterization methods
                                      • Linking fracture development to local and external geologic drivers
                                      • Mechanics of folding and deformation in well-stratified stratigraphy
                                    • Project 1 (classroom): Building and assessment of a predictive fractured reservoir model
                                    • Oil Mountain discussion: example of geologically-driven fracture model and geostatistical techniques

                                    Day 3

                                    Hydraulic Fracturing, Wellbore Fracture Characterization, Stress Analysis, Subsurface Geologic Integration

                                    • Lectures and Exercises
                                      • Hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells and geomechanics of unconventionals
                                      • Interpreting fractures and stress from image logs
                                      • Integrating data to develop a wellbore stress model
                                    • Project 2: Fracture and fault stress analysis, application to reservoir characterization
                                    • SE Asia case study (integration of stress, fractures, structure, and production)
                                    • Field Stops at Alcova Reservoir East Side
                                      • Alcova area overlook
                                      • Archean basement fracturing (optional)
                                      • Tensleep Sandstone at Fremont Canyon (Project 3a set-up)
                                      • Fracturing and FRAC'ing of Mowry shale
                                    • Evening discussion and BBQ picnic
                                      • Project 3: Natural fracturing in the Tensleep Sandstone at Alcova Anticline (prediction)

                                    Day 4

                                    Coupled Processes, Mechanical Stratigraphy Evolution, Structural Diagenesis

                                    • Alcova Reservoir pontoon boat trip
                                      • Fracturing and properties of the Tensleep Sandstone
                                      • Mechanics of Madison Limestone
                                      • Mechanics of jointed basement

                                    • Alcova Anticline and Project 3 (characterization and interpretation)
                                      • Fracturing and properties of the Tensleep Sandstone
                                      • Influence and evolution of mechanical stratigraphy
                                      • Mechanics of folding and deformation in poorly-stratified, isotropic units
                                      • Relationship between deformation, fracturing, and diagenesis
                                      • Project 3 wrap-up and presentations

                                    Day 5

                                    Concluding Lectures and Exercises and Travel Home

                                    • Concluding lectures, exercises, and discussions
                                      • Project 4: concluding exercise: matrix of outcrop geomechanical behavior
                                      • Mechanics of induced seismicity (optional)
                                      • Discussion of strategies for application of course learning outcomes
                                      • Course evaluation and feedback
                                      • Afternoon flights out of Casper, WY

                                    This field workshop is tailored for geoscientists and petroleum engineers who are active in petroleum asset appraisal, field development, and management.

                                    Peter Hennings

                                    Dr. Hennings is a Research Scientist at The University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology where he is the Principal Investigator in the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research and a Lecturer in the Department of Geological Sciences. Peter retired after 25 years in the petroleum industry where he worked as a research scientist (Mobil Oil and Phillips Petroleum) and technical manager (ConocoPhillips). Peter received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. from The University of Texas. Peter’s technical specialties include structural geology, seismic structural analysis, reservoir geomechanics, induced seismicity, and geology of the Laramide Rockies. Peter is an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer, GSA Fellow, and a founder of the AAPG Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division. Peter has taught more than 200 field seminars and classroom courses on seismic structural analysis, reservoir geomechanics, and Rocky Mountain structural and petroleum geology. Peter also teaches RPS Nautilus N074.

                                    Affiliations and Accreditation
                                    PhD University of Texas – Structural Geology
                                    MSc Texas A&M University – Structural Geology
                                    BSc Texas A&M University – Geology
                                    Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America
                                    Registered Professional Geologist – Texas

                                    Courses Taught
                                    N074:Geological Seismic Interpretation Field Seminar: Compressional Systems (Montana, USA)
                                    N379: Application of Geomechanics to Reservoir Characterization, Management and Hydraulic Stimulation (Wyoming,USA)

                                    Jon Olson

                                    Jon is a professor in and the chair of the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been on the faculty for 25 years. He specializes in rock and fracture mechanics applications to petroleum engineering and structural geology, particularly with regard to hydraulic fracturing.

                                    Prior to joining UT-Austin, Jon spent 6 years as a research engineer for Mobil Research and Development Corporation in Dallas. His research and consulting work there focused on hydraulic fracturing, reservoir compaction and subsidence, and naturally fractured reservoir characterization, mostly for reservoirs in the North Sea, the San Joaquin Valley of California, the Rocky Mountains and Texas.

                                    His UT research group is currently engaged in hydraulic fracture model development and physical experiments, natural fracture pattern modelling and characterization, and the geomechanics of induced seismicity. He is a co-PI of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium at UT-Austin, an interdisciplinary effort of geologists and engineers focusing on oil and gas production from naturally fractured reservoirs and shales. He was honored with Distinguished Membership in the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) in 2016, received SPE’s Completions Optimization and Technology Award in 2019, and has been a Distinguished Lecturer for both SPE and AAPG.

                                    Affiliations and Accreditation
                                    BS Earth Science, The University of Notre Dame, 1984
                                    BS Civil Engineering, The University of Notre Dame, 1984
                                    PhD, Applied Earth Science, Stanford University

                                    Courses Taught
                                    N379: Application of Geomechanics to Reservoir Characterization, Management, and Hydraulic Stimulation (Wyoming, USA)

                                    CEU: 4 Continuing Education Units
                                    PDH: 40 Professional Development Hours
                                    Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
                                    RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
                                    We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.