Critical Geomechanics Concepts and Applications to Unconventionals Completions

Disciplines: Reservoir

Course Description

Geomechanics – in both completions and drilling operations – has become a critical technology in the development of Unconventional Plays. This course presents the basics of oil field geomechanics and its application to unconventional developments, specifically, the role of stress, pore pressure, mechanical properties, and natural fractures on hydraulic fracturing operations. The first portion of the course will focus on the fundamentals of oil field geomechanics including stress, mechanical properties, and failure. The latter part of the course will focus on hydraulic fracturing for Unconventional Resources with an emphasis on the characterization, geomechanics, modeling, and field aspects of Unconventionals hydraulic fracturing (hydraulic fracturing in heterogeneous rock masses with the presence of discontinuities and weakness planes).

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding of the key concepts of stress and deformation in rocks
  • Understanding of the critical role of pore pressure and effective stress on rock behavior
  • Review of the critical geomechanics components/inputs for hydraulic fracturing
  • Understanding of the critical geomechanical inputs for hydraulic fracturing in Unconventionals

Learning Level


Course Length

1 Day

Why Attend

Integration is key to Unconventional developments, and geomechanics, which spans multiple disciplines, can be a useful framework for integration. This course will provide both the basics of geomechanics as well as detailed applications for Unconventionals that will enhance the attendee’s ability to improve the integration within their Unconventional team.

Who Attends

This course is designed for asset team members (geoscientists as well as engineers) who want to know more about geomechanics and hydraulic fracturing for Unconventionals as well as their integration within the asset team environment.

Special Requirements

Students will need laptops.


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

Additional Resources

This course has a supplemental book located in our SPE Bookstore entitled Unconventional Gas and Tight Oil Exploitation. Please check out this valuable resource!

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page. Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will. Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.


Dr. Neal Nagel, this course's primary instructor, has 26-plus years of industry experience and has provided geomechanics consulting and training since 2009. Nagel is currently the Chief Engineer and co-founder of OilField Geomechanics LLC. He previously worked for 20 years with ConocoPhillips as a world-wide geomechanics specialist. He has taught extensively over his career as well as given many invited presentations, including serving as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2004, and potentially 2016, and giving a keynote presentation at the 2014 SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technical Conference.

Among other industry activities, he was chief editor of the 2010 SPE Monograph on Solids Injection and has written more than 50 peer-reviewed and conference papers, including more than 20 related to unconventional play geomechanics.

Dr. Marisela Sanchez-Nagel is president and principal engineer at OilField Geomechanics LLC. She has more than 23 years of industry experience having worked for Intevep, the technology arm of PDVSA in Venezuela; as President of Global GeoSolutions, an independent geomechanics consulting company in Latin America; for GMI; and as General Manager and President of Itasca Houston from 2007 to 2014.

Dr. Sanchez-Nagel was a 2012-2013 SPE Distinguished Lecturer, has worked in many geomechanical projects around the world, and has presented at numerous geomechanics schools throughout North and South America.