Geophysical Methods for Estimating Geomechanical Properties

Management and Information Reservoir Description and Dynamics


This course is an overview of geophysical methods and techniques for estimating geomechanical properties. It is intended for intermediate geoscientists and engineers who will gain from the course an understanding of how and when geophysical methods can best be used to answer questions about geomechanics and reservoir characterization. A review of methods from principals to estimation of geomechanical parameters will enable participants to better focus their geophysical resources upon returning to work. The course will also provide more experienced geoscientists with an understanding of methods and techniques which can be introduced into their workflows to help resolve geomechanical drilling and production challenges.

Geophysical technology and data types known to support geomechanical modeling and reservoir characterization will be presented on the first day. Beginning with gravity and magnetics, which can be tools for estimating regional tectonics and stress, the course then moves to surface electrical and seismic methods, where the most common techniques, acoustic and elastic inversion, are discussed. Correlation of seismic with logs and rocks is followed by an examination of the role of VSPs, 3D, and 4D seismic.

Day two starts by combining regional information and 2D seismic into seismic sequence stratigraphic frameworks for basin and petroleum systems analyses. These analyses are the foundation for workflows to evaluate conventional and tight petroleum reservoirs and provide boundary conditions for modeling parameters. The course then focuses on faults and fractures, which enforce compartmentalization and directionality on drilling, perforation, and hydraulic fracturing. Interacting with reservoirs and data acquisition at all scales, faults and fractures must be carefully incorporated into interpretation, modeling, and operational workflows. From this, the course moves on to an example of petroleum resource development: the discovery and early development of the Barnett Shale, mother of hydraulic fracture plays. This is followed by a more in-depth look at geomechanical modeling. The course closes with a review of new technologies and methods involving geomechanics which have been presented over the past year at technical workshops, forums, and conventions.

Day 1: Theory and Methods

  • Identify and define geomechanical properties
    • Introduction to geophysical technologies and methods for obtaining geomechanical properties
  • Non-seismic geophysical methods
    • Gravity, magnetics, regional tectonics, and stress
    • Electrical methods
  • Seismic methods
  • Logs, logging, and well ties
  • Surface seismic—acoustic and elastic inversion, AVI, AVA
  • VSP's, 3D and 4D Seismic

Day 2: Techniques and Practice

  • Sequence stratigraphy
  • Basin and petroleum systems
  • Faults and fractures
  • An unconventional journey: development of the Barnett Shale
  • Modeling and simulation
  • New technologies

Learning Level


Course Length

2 Days

Why Attend?

Participants will gain an understanding of different geophysical methods and techniques for determining geomechanical properties. Workflows for determining and using geomechanical properties for drilling and reservoir management will be discussed. Participants will come away from this workshop with an understanding of when and why geophysical methods should be applied to their reservoir characterization and geomechanical modeling workflows. They will also obtain an understanding of how these methods and techniques could be applied to their own challenges.

Who Should Attend

Geoscientists, engineers, and managers who wish to understand the application of geophysical methods to geomechanical challenges

Special Requirements

Geosciences or engineering degree, or work equivalent


Tibbles photo

Steve Adcock is senior geophysicist for an independent consulting company providing world-wide training, mentoring, and consulting in geophysical and geological interpretation and technology management. He has over 30 years of E&P G&G experience. He received his first degree in physics, then managed a wholesale distribution business while pursuing a second degree in geology. Adcock then accepted a position with Texaco as an exploration geophysicist for the Gulf Coast. Three years later, he moved to The Woodlands, Texas to become an exploration and development geophysicist for Mitchell Energy. From there he began his Master's studies in geophysics under Bob Sheriff at the University of Houston. Adcock spent twenty years with Mitchell Energy discovering new plays, trends, and technologies: developing offset analysis, pioneering inversion, acquiring and interpreting the company's first 3D, and managing the workstation revolution. He was geophysicist for the Fort Worth Basin during the 1980's when the Barnett Shale play was discovered and monetized. Adcock joined ARAMCO at the turn of the century, where he spent the next few years in Saudi Arabia building a G&G data and information management system, converting hardcopy and core warehouses to digital form, and doing seismic sequence stratigraphy workflow research.