Rock Physics - Integrating Petrophysical, Geomechanical, and Seismic Measurements

Rock Physics is a key component in oil and gas exploration, development, and production. It combines concepts and principles from geology, geophysics, petrophysics, applied mathematics, and other disciplines.  Rock physics provides the empirical relationships, understanding and theory to connect petrophysical, geomechanical and seismic data to the intrinsic properties of rocks, such as mineralogy, porosity, pore shapes, pore fluids, pore pressures, stresses and overall architecture, such as laminations and fractures. Rock physics is needed to optimize all imaging and reservoir characterization solutions based on geophysical data, and to such data to build mechanical earth models for solving geomechanical problems. Attendees will obtain an understanding of the sensitivity of elastic waves in the earth to mineralogy, porosity, pore shapes, pore fluids, pore pressures, stresses, and the anisotropy of the rock fabric resulting from the depositional and stress history of the rock, and how to use this understanding in quantitative interpretation of seismic data and in the construction of mechanical earth models. A variety of applications and real data examples is presented.


  • Introduction
    • What is Rock Physics?
    • Rock Physics and Petrophysics. What’s the difference?
  • Hooke’s law, anisotropy and elastic wave velocities
  • Sedimentary rocks as heterogeneous media
  • The concept of the Representative Elementary Volume (REV) and effective elastic properties
  • Voigt/Reuss and Hashin-Shtrikman bounds
  • Modulus-porosity relations for clean sands
  • Critical porosity and mechanical percolation
  • Gassmann’s equations and fluid substitution
  • Fluid properties and mixtures 



  • Diagenetic and sorting trends in velocity-porosity data
  • Velocity-porosity models for shaly sands
  • Empirical relations between velocity and porosity, clay content, etc.
  • Properties of sand-clay mixtures
  • Velocity-porosity relations for shales
  • Relations between VPand VS
  • Rock compressibilities and relation of 4D seismic to well testing
  • Reflection coefficients and AVO
  • Elastic impedance
  • Rock physics templates
  • Effective medium and effective field theories
  • Velocity-porosity relations for carbonates



  • Biot theory
  • Patchy saturation
  • Squirt flow
  • Sediment compaction and the state of stress in the Earth
  • Pore pressure and the concept of effective stress
  • Poroelasticity
  • Application to pore pressure prediction 



  • Fracture gradient and 3D stress modeling
  • Effect of stress on seismic body waves
  • Third-order elasticity
  • Granular media and discrete element methods
  • Displacement discontinuity methods
  • Stress sensitivity of sandstones
  • Stress sensitivity of shales
  • Stress perturbations around a borehole
  • Determination of velocity variations around a borehole from advanced sonic logging
  • Application to wellbore stability
  • Reservoir geomechanics and stress effects in 4D seismic monitoring 



  • Fractured reservoirs
  • Hydraulic fracture propagation in presence of natural fractures
  • Seismic characterization of fractured reservoirs
  • Modeling the response of a fractured reservoir
  • Rock physics models for fractures
  • Shales and unconventional reservoirs
  • Anisotropy of shales
  • Rock physics modeling of kerogen in organic-rich shales
  • Effect of anisotropy on AVO
  • Microseismic and effect of azimuthal anisotropy on propagation of hydraulic fractures


Geomechanics Applications in Heavy Oil

Geomechanics plays a critical role in successfully optimizing heavy oil/oil sands exploitation. This course can help understand the essential aspects of geomechanics in thermal operations for heavy oil production enabling an engineer or geoscientist to make better field development and operational decisions.

This course introduces the necessary fundamentals of geomechanics as applied to oil sands, effect of increased pressure and temperature on reservoir stresses and rock properties, critical elements of caprock integrity analysis, understanding expectations of regulatory boards, ground uplift, reservoir compaction and subsidence, reservoir geomechanics thermal coupled simulation, monitoring techniques for reservoir compaction/subsidence, caprock integrity, casing integrity.


Basic Mechanics

  • concept of stress/strain
  • mechanical properties -Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio, bulk modulus, shear modulus, bulk compressibility
  • rock strength – UCS, tensile strength and shear strength
  • computation of mechanical properties and strength parameters from logs,
  • dynamic to static conversion of mechanical properties

Understanding Earth Stresses

  • in-situ stresses, plate tectonics
  • computing stress profile from logs
  • pore pressure and principle of effective stress
  • elasticity, plasticity, elasto-plastic, poro-elasticity and poro-elasto-plasticity
  • stress measurement and calibration - min-frac/LOT/MDT tests
  • basic definitions of fracture gradient and closure pressure and other terminologies used in LOT/XLOT
  • how fractures are created, preferential direction, fracture growth – frac height and width

Understanding Rock Failure

  • rock failure types and causes - tensile vs shear, failure theories
  • description of common rock mechanical core tests
  • mechanical properties from core testing
  • rock strength parameters from core testing
  • Mohr-Coulomb failure envelope and its use geomechanical analysis


Mechanical Earth Modeling (MEM)

  • data requirements for a typical geomechanical analysis
  • process of building mechanical earth model
  • log data - Dipole Sonic Imager (DSI) and Sonic Scanner
  • integrating log data, core data and field stress measurements in MEM
  • calibration of geomechanical model

Geomechanical effects in SAGD

  • geomechanical risk scenarios
  • effect of temperature on rock properties, rock strength, porosity and permeability
  • thermal stresses/strains, thermal jacking, shear dilation
  • effect of injection pressure – alteration in in-situ stresses, variation in horizontal and vertical stresses
  • effect of cyclic injection/production (loading/unloading) on rock properties and rock strength
  • reservoir compaction, subsidence, and ground uplift

Caprock Integrity Analysis

  • Caprock integrity– definitions and expectations of regulatory boards
  • assessing hydraulic integrity and mechanical integrity
  • effect of dilation on reservoir and caprock
  • effect of increased reservoir temperature and pressure on caprock
  • caprock failure mechanism - tensile and shear
  • fault reactivation
  • geomechanics workflow for caprock integrity analysis


Reservoir Geomechanics Coupled Modeling

  • what is coupled modeling and what parameters are coupled
  • common techniques - one-way and two-way coupling
  • advantages and disadvantages of coupled modeling
  • overview of software tools available for coupled modeling
  • case study examples of caprock integrity analysis using coupled modeling
  • Segmental modeling using VISAGE – near-wellbore modeling for wellbore stability analysis

Reservoir Monitoring

  • overview of common monitoring techniques
  • surface and down hole tools to monitor reservoir and caprock deformation
  • how monitoring data are used in geomechanical caprock integrity modeling and prediction of subsidence/compaction in the reservoir


Shale Oil Fundamentals


This course has been designed to follow the typical workflow performed during the exploration, development and exploitation of a Shale Reservoir Play.

The course focus is on the integration of disciplines important in studying shales.

This workflow has been developed based on experience in multiple shale plays in North America and will be referred to as the "Shale Operating Cycle".

The "Shale Operating Cycle" is composed of the following phases:

  • The Exploration Phase
  • Pilot Project Phase
  • Appraisal Phase
  • "Factory Mode" Phase
  • Re-Assessment Phase

The ultimate goal of the investigation into each shale reservoir is to develop an understanding of the geologic factors that control production from the shale reservoir and then determine the best methods for producing them.

During this course we will cover:

  • What information should be available at the start of the study.
  • What methods should be employed during the main phases.
  • What tools are used by these methods.
  • What information is obtained by these methods.
  • How is the information integrated with other information and then used to determine if and how to proceed to the next phase.




  • Unconventional Reservoirs Overview. Are they important?
  • Shale Basics
    • The "Shale Production Control" Matrix
    • The "Shale Operating Cycle"
    • Review of Selected Major Shale Plays
  • Scale Considerations.
    • Basin Scale
    • "Operating Area" Scale

Geoscience Considerations

  • Geochemical Considerations
    • Total Organic Carbon
    • Thermal Maturity
  • Geomechanical Considerations
    • Subsurface stresses
    • Borehole stresses and influences
    • Mechanical Earth Model (MEM)
  • Influences of Thickness, Depth, Pressure and Temperature



Shale Exploration Projects

  • Shale Exploration Considerations
    • Reconnaissance methods
    • Methods for screening and ranking shale plays
  • Geophysics for Shale Reconnaissance Studies
  • Basin Modeling and "Regional Sweet Spots".
  • Shale Pilot Projects

Shale Pilot Projects

  • Petrophysics
    • Mineralogy, Porosity and Permeability Determination
    • Importance of fractures
    • Shale Gas / Shale Oil Differences
  • Reservoir Evaluation Tools
    • Logs and Borehole Imaging
    • Formation Testing
  • Reservoir Sweet Spot Detection with Seismic
    • Fracture prediction versus fracture detection



Appraisal Projects

  • Seismic-Based Fracture Detection Techniques (continued)
    • Fracture Characterization Methods
    • Fracture Prediction Methods
    • Fracture Detection Methods
    • Combinations Methods
  • Hydraulic Fracturing Considerations
  • Microseismic
  • Horizontal Borehole Considerations
    • Stress Direction and Borehole Orientation
    • Lateral Landing Considerations
  • Completion Considerations
    • Drainage Areas and Borehole Spacing
    • Environmental Considerations
  • Use of Seismic for Detecting Completion Sweet Spots
  • Examples of Production “Sweet Spots” and Economics
  • Summary


Geomechanics Applications in Shale Gas

Geomechanics plays a critical role in successfully optimizing shale gas exploitation. This course can help understand the essential aspects of geomechanics in shale gas enabling an engineer or geoscientist to make better field development decisions. A unique feature of this course is that it gives a unified geomechanics approach combining theoretical, laboratory (core testing) and field aspects to effective exploitation of unconventional reservoirs. This course covers the necessary fundamentals of geomechanics as applied to shales, heterogeneity and natural fractures in shale and their influence on stimulation, the process of Tight Rock Analysis (TRA) and heterogeneous mechanical earth model, critical elements in designing hydraulic stimulation and horizontal completions, and best completion practices. Throughout the course, case study examples from unconventional reservoirs will be shown to reinforce the Geomechanical concepts.


Geomechanics Fundamentals - In the morning the course will demonstrate the importance of geomechanics in unconventional reservoirs. The course will then cover the fundamental aspects of geomechanics including basic concepts of stress, strain, mechanical properties, Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio (static and dynamic), in-situ stresses and rock failure. Consequently, the participants will be exposed to geomechanics applications such as pore pressure prediction, wellbore stability and hydraulic fracturing.

In the afternoon the focus will be on shale heterogeneity evaluation. In this section, the participants will be exposed to shale characterization methodologies from a geomechnaics perspective such as petrography and XRD. The course material will then cover shale anisotropy – microscopic to core to field scale. Consequently, workflows will be discussed as to how these geomechanics principles can be used to evaluate the lateral variations from well-to-well. The course will then cover TIV anisotropy, scratch testing and variation in mechanical properties in vertical and horizontal directions. Finally, end the day with Tight Rock Analysis (TRA) process.


Geomechanics Data Sources and Mechanical Earth Model – In the morning, the participants will be exposed to recommended data acquisition program for an effective geomechanics analysis. The course will then cover the workflows for estimating anisotropic parameters using acoustic azimuthal anisotropy (sonic scanner) and introduction to building Mechanical Earth Model (MEM).

In the afternoon, the participants will be exposed to key geomechanical elements affecting hydraulic stimulation design and a successful shale completion strategy (design aspects). Furthermore, the course will also cover shale hydraulic fracturing and completion strategy including horizontal completions design, frac fluid and proppant properties (field aspects). Finally end the day with an introduction to microseismic and hydraulic fracturing monitor-ing (HFM).

Petroleum Systems and Exploration and Development Geochemistry

This five-day course focuses on the dynamic petroleum system concept, exploration geochemistry of conventional and unconventional petroleum, and reservoir geochemistry. The course is designed for exploration, production, and development geologists. Lectures show how geochemistry can reduce the risk associated with petroleum exploration, how to predict oil quality from inexpensive wellbore measurements, how to identify reservoir compartments and de-convolute commingled petroleum, and how to assess completion problems. It provides interpretive guidelines for sample collection and project initiation, how to evaluate prospective source rocks, and how to define petroleum systems through oil-oil and oil-source rock correlation. Case studies and exercises illustrate how geochemistry can be used to solve exploration, production, and development problems while minimizing cost. The lectures and discussions are designed to improve basic understanding of the processes that control petroleum quality in reservoir rocks and the bulk, molecular, and isotopic tools that facilitate that understanding. Discussions cover TOC, Rock-Eval pyrolysis, vitrinite reflectance, thermal alteration index, kerogen elemental analysis, geochemical logs and maps, reconstructed generative potential calculations, water analysis, gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry of oil and gas, compound-specific isotope analyses (CSIA) of light hydrocarbons, biomarkers, and diamondoids, and chemometrics to classify oil families, identify compartments, and de-convolute mixed oils. Pitfalls to correct interpretations are illustrated using in-class exercises.


Module 1. The Dynamic Petroleum System Concept

  • Objectives, Terms, Nomenclature
  • Petroleum System Folio Sheet: Map and Cross Section at Critical Moment, Table of Accumulations, Event Chart, Burial History Chart
  • Timing of Petroleum System Events and Processes
  • Introduction to Basin and Petroleum System Models
  • Origin and Preservation of Sedimentary Organic Matter
  • Project Initiation and Sample Collection, Exercises

Module 2. Evaluating Source Rocks

  • Vitrinite Reflectance: Thermal Maturity, Calibration, Kinetics
  • TOC, Rock-Eval Pyrolysis, Geochemical Logs
  • Fractional Conversion, Original TOC, Expelled Petroleum, Expulsion Efficiency
  • Interpretive Pitfalls; Exercises



Module 3. Exploration Geochemistry

  • Gas Chromatography, Stable Isotopes, Surface Geochemical Exploration
  • Semivariograms and Spatial Significance of Data
  • Biomarker Separation and Analysis
  • Source- and Age-Related Parameters, Introduction to Oil-Oil and Oil-Source Rock Correlation
  • Interpretive Pitfalls; Exercises



Module 4. Preservation and Destruction of Accumulations

  • Thermal Maturity Parameters; Cracking, Thermochemical Sulfate Reduction
  • Biodegradation Parameters
  • Ancillary Geochemical Tools; Semi-Volatile Aromatics, Light Hydrocarbons, Mud Gas Isotope Logging, Fluid Inclusion Volatiles, Diamondoids
  • Chemometrics for Correlation, Mixture Analysis
  • Interpretive Pitfalls; Exercises
  • Exploration Geochemistry Case Studies



Module 5. Reservoir Geochemistry

  • Objectives, Terms, Nomenclature
  • Migration and Compartments
  • Migration Mechanisms: Diffusion, Solution, Gas-Phase, Oil-Phase
  • Sample Collection/Water Chemistry
  • Gravity Segregation, Biodegradation/Water Washing
  • Phase Changes: Deasphalting, Wax Crystallization, Retrograde Condensation, Evaporative Fractionation
  • Thermal Maturation, TSR, Reactive Polar Precipitation
  • Interpretive Pitfalls; Exercises



Module 6. Gas and Oil Fingerprinting, Production Allocation

  • Gas Chromatography, Stable Isotopes
  • Oil Fingerprinting: Reservoir Compartments
  • Leaky Casing, Production Allocation
  • Interpretive Pitfalls; Exercises
  • Hydrocrbon and Non-Hydrocarbon Gases
  • Gas Shale and Other Unconventionals
  • Reservoir Geochemistry Case Studies


Heavy Oil Exploitation

Heavy oil is highly viscous, and hence, does not flow easily. The characteristic features of heavy oil are low API gravity (less than 25 API) and high viscosity (> 10s of cP), low hydrogen-to-carbon ratios, small percentages of volatile and easily distillable hydrocarbons, high content of asphaltenes and significant quantities of oxygen-, nitrogen-, and sulfur-bearing compounds, and heavy metals are also frequently minor components of these oils.

Oil producers involved in heavy-oil recovery face special production challenges. However, innovative drilling, completion, stimulation and monitoring techniques help make heavy-oil reservoirs profitable assets.

In this introductory course, participants will be exposed to the challenges in heavy-oil exploitation. They will be introduced to applications of various key technologies and their appropriate interpretations. Along with systematic workflows and field examples, participants will learn ways to reduce the lifting cost and make heavy-oil more economically viable assets.


  • Introduction
  • Conventional oils & their future
  • The nature of heavy oil
  • Global heavy oil development (onshore and offshore)
  • Industry trends & challenges
  • Overview of heavy oil geology
  • Heavy oil sampling
  • Heavy oil phase behavior and laboratory measurements methodologies
  • Heavy oil workflows



  • Recovery processes overview
  • The primary recovery processes - Horizontal and Multi Lateral Wells and Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS)
  • The non thermal recovery processes - Waterflood, Chemical Flood and Vapor Extraction (VAPEX)
  • Thermal recovery processes - Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS), Steam Flood, Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), Fire Flood/In Situ Combustion
  • Newly developed recovery processes - Toe to Heel Air Injection (THAI), THAI with solid catalyst (CAPRI), Steam Solvent Based Hybrid processes
  • Field examples



  • Heavy oil production, completion overview
  • Lifting methods - Gas Lift, Sucker Rod Pumps, Progressive Cavity Pumps (PCP) and Top Drive PCPs, Hydraulic Pumps, Electrical Submersible Pumps (ESP), High Temperature ESP (Red Hot Pumps).
  • Well completions 
  • Sand management strategy and sand control techniques
  • Field Examples



  • Basic heavy oil production and processing schemes
  • Emulsion control and treatment
  • Facilities design and operations for heavy oil processing



  • Onshore and offshore heavy oil loading systems
  • Heavy oil transportation and storage options
  • Flow assurance in heavy oil production and transportation
  • Field examples



Mini Master of Art Degrees in Political Science Mini Master of Art Degrees... A Mini Master of Arts in Political Science gives students the...
Mini Masters Programs in International Management Mini Masters Programs... Students pursuing an advanced degree in international management...
Mini Masters Programs in Humanities Studies Mini Masters Programs... A Mini Master in Humanities is a field of study that includes...