Mechanical Earth Model Defined

Fundamental to the success of geomechanics applications

What is a mechanical earth model?

An MEM is a numerical representation of the geomechanical state of the reservoir, field, or basin. In addition to property distribution (e.g., density, porosity) and fracture system the model incorporates pore pressures, state of stress, and rock mechanical properties. The stresses on the reservoir are caused by the overburden weight, any superimposed tectonic forces, and by production and injection.

Various types of MEM

Well-centric MEMs are concentrated on borehole effects, such as breakouts, collapses, sanding, and wellbore stability issues, and are used for near-well dynamic simulations. Field wide MEMs are used to evaluate the effects of drilling and producing and are used for full-field dynamic simulations. This time-lapse modeling includes fluid flow and pressure, temperature changes, and associated effects on stresses.

Mechanical earth model construction—an evolutionary process

In early exploration stages information and data will be limited, perhaps to seismic data and one or a few offset wells. However, even a simple MEM provides an initial expectation of wellbore or reservoir response sufficient to start the learning cycle.

As new information and understanding accumulate, a more detailed MEM of the rock formations at reservoir level and throughout the overburden is developed. This information is obtained from data acquired in wellbores after or while drilling, well test data, or subsequent seismic surveys.

Mechanical earth models for a wide range of applications

An MEM is fundamental to the success of geomechanics applications. It provides the geomechanical information required by engineering software used for casing point selection, optimizing the number of casing strings, drilling stable wellbores, designing completions, performing fracture stimulation, and simulating reservoir production.

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Using MEMs Throughout the Life of a Field

Geomechanics Mechanical Earth ModelGeomechanics MEM Properties
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