Fundamentals of Thermal Well Design


Tubular structures in thermal applications are subject to unique design challenges that cannot be addressed with conventional methods. In conventional design, the structure “fails” when thermally induced loads yield the pipe, but thermal wells often must operate under such conditions and industry experience demonstrates that wells can do so reliably. Designing a structure that remains stable requires knowledge of strain-based design: the distinction between strength and stiffness, the effects of variability in strength and stiffness, load path dependencies, post-yield material behavior, and strain localization. Collateral considerations for resistance to environmental effects, geomechanical loads and production management can also challenge intuition developed in conventional well design. In this course, participants will learn to “think strain, not stress” for well structure design and gain exposure to other aspects of thermal well design.

Read the Letter of Support from the instructor.

Learning Objectives

This course provides an introduction to subsurface well design for thermally stimulated wells, including discussion of why design approaches for thermal wells must differ from conventional approaches.  The concept of strain-based design will be examined with focus on the fundamental inputs required for a successful design. Specific topics include:

  • Mechanical properties for thermal OCTG
  • Casing and Liner design considerations
  • Connections for thermal stimulation
  • Considerations for environmental exposure
  • Production management topics pertinent to liner design

All topics will include discussion of real-world examples to augment discussion. Participants will leave with an increased understanding of design fundamentals for thermal wells and be able to evaluate the suitability of and required inputs for a design basis for casing in thermal applications.

Learning Level

Beginner to Intermediate

Course Length

1 Day

Why You Should Attend

To gain a basic understanding of the unique design challenges present in thermal well application, the design differences from HPHT, conventional, and other unconventional applications and inform what further training should be considered to develop competencies in thermal well design.

Who Should Attend

This course is for anyone that would like to expand their knowledge and skill-set in thermal well design. This may include:

  • Executives or management looking to better understand the technical challenges faced by front-line thermal well design staff.
  • Current thermal well designers that wish to improve or refine the design bases they are currently using; and
  • Those with training or experience in conventional design that are new to thermal well design and integrity, either recent graduates or those coming into thermal projects from other applications.


0.8 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) will be awarded for this 1-day course.

Special Requirements

None; however, knowledge of conventional casing design practices and basic understanding of the thermal well environment would benefit the participant.

Cancellation Policy

To receive a full refund, all cancellations must be received in writing no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Send cancellation requests by email to; by fax to +1.866.460.3032 (US) or +1.972.852.9292 (outside US); or mail to SPE Registration, PO Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083. For more details, please contact us at


Trent Kaiser has extensive experience in analytical methods and technology development for the oil-and-gas industry. Throughout his professional career, he has developed analytical components of connection qualification programs and formulated methodologies to integrate those components with laboratory testing. Kaiser has broad experience in the areas of tubular pipe and connection design. His work on casing structures has included assessment of formation-induced deformations of casing strings, and development of algorithms to accurately characterize well deformations from casing inspection logs. Recently, he has led the development of advanced material characterization of steels for strain-based designs in thermal recovery operations and permafrost applications. Kaiser holds B.Sc. (1983), M.Sc. (1987) and Ph.D. (1991) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta. He has authored numerous technical articles, and is listed on more than 20 patents. Kaiser has served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and as President of the Canadian Heavy Oil Association. He is also a member of ASME.

Mark Chartier joined Noetic Engineering in 2006 after completing a bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering at the University of Alberta, and is currently Noetic’s Structural Design Discipline Lead.

At Noetic, Mark applies fundamental engineering design principles, numerical analysis techniques and experimental methods to advance design bases for thermal well structures with the goal of improving long term well integrity. Specifically, Mark has led many strain-based designs for casing and slotted liner, reduced-scale test programs to investigate fundamental behaviour of metal-to-metal connection seals, forensic investigations of well failures and, more recently, development of a structural design basis for cements used in thermal applications.