Oil Sands Geomechanics

Production and Operations Reservoir Descriptions and Dynamics

Course Description

This course will introduce the attendants to key terminologies, concepts and fundamentals of geomechanics focusing on in-situ thermal recovery processes for Alberta’s oil sands reservoirs. Safety aspects of SAGD/CSS on cap rock integrity, the various geomechanics field data types, data gathering & analysis methods, surface heave, thermally induced stresses, failure criteria, dilation, etc. are some of the topics that will be covered. Numerical examples using Alberta specific data will be provided where applicable. 


  • Geomechanics Fundamentals
    • Principles of equilibrium as they apply to oil sands and overlying formations
    • What is ‘effective stress’ and why it is an important concept
    • What is a fault and what is a tensile fracture
  • Fracturing Fundamentals for oil sands
    • What controls the orientation of a fracture
    • What controls vertical growth of fractures
  • Dilation and Heave
    • Why do we induce dilation and heave with thermal operations
    • How do we model dilation in the simulator and what impact does it have.
    • How can steaming strategies be modified to manage caprock and casing integrity
    • How do dilation effects impact fracture orientation
  • Caprock Integrity
    • Why is caprock integrity a concern for regulators and operators?
    • What is required for a typical caprock integrity assessment?
    • What are the implications for new developments

Why Attend

This seminar will provide the basics necessary for anyone wishing to manage oil sands geomechanical issues or pursue further in-depth geomechanics studies related to oil sands development.

Who Attends

This course is intended for reservoir, completion and production engineers and geoscientists who require an introduction to the fundamentals of oil sands geomechanics. It will also be suitable to those who need a refresher course in oil sands geomechanics.

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.

Full regional cancellation policies can be found at the Cancellation Policy page within the SPE Training Course Catalog.


Dale Walters has 18 years of engineering experience, participating in large reservoir and geomechanical engineering studies throughout the world within a multi-disciplinary team environment. Coupled reservoir and geomechanical experience includes steam stimulation projects of heavy oil reservoirs, compaction of sandstone and chalk reservoirs, compaction induced seismicity, modeling fracturing in jointed media, produced water reinjection, waterflood fracturing, stress dependence of fractured reservoirs, sand production and wellbore stability.  He was a principal and co-founder of Taurus Reservoir Solutions Ltd. since 2000, which has now been acquired by CGG Services (Canada) Inc. He is a registered Professional Engineer with APEGGA and holds BSc. and M.Sc. degrees in Civil and Geotechnical engineering from the University of Calgary.

Tony Settari is one of the leading experts in the area of reservoir engineering and computer simulation of petroleum reservoirs and in the analysis of fracturing and geomechanical processes in reservoirs.  Over the last 40+ years, he has been associated with a large number of engineering studies of petroleum recovery, has worked on or directed a number of R&D and software projects, supervised graduate students and taught industry and university graduate courses. He consults for a number of major companies and independent petroleum producers and founded and managed successful consulting and junior oil companies.

In the area of applications, he worked on a number of large engineering projects, including some of the world's largest reservoirs in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. He carried out the early thermal recovery studies in Alberta and pioneered the engineering of steam fracturing for tar sands in co-operation with Gulf Canada in 1970’s. From his past positions at Intercomp Ltd. and SIMTECH Consulting Services Ltd. (which he founded in 1982), he accumulated a wealth of experience with hundreds of field projects involving a variety of conventional and enhanced recovery processes, as well as with development of new specialized modeling techniques.

On the business side, Dr. Settari was a founder of SIMTECH Consulting Services Ltd., a successful private consulting firm with offices in Calgary and Denver. SIMTECH was sold to Duke Engineering & Services (subsidiary of Duke Energy) in 1996. He was also founder and Chairman of KH Resources, and served on the board of Rhodes Energy. In 2000, he founded TAURUS Reservoir Solutions Ltd., which specializes in coupled reservoir, geomechanical and fracturing modeling.