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Subsurface Geotechnical Hazards in Petroleum and Geothermal Development1

Robert C. Erickson
Robert C. Erickson
Senior staff geological engineer, Chevron U.S.A., Inc., San Francisco, California.
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January 01, 1981


Subsurface geotechnical hazards encountered during the exploration for and development of hydrocarbon accumulations or geothermal areas can be identified and controlled during the exploitation of the resource. Most of the hazards encountered are associated with earth movements that result from either natural forces and/or the actions of man after the resource has been developed. However, during exploration drilling certain other hazards, such as shallow high-pressure gas, deep high-pressure fluids, incompent shale, or shallow active faults, must be considered. The technologic and scientific ability for identifying these hazards and their potential magnitude has reached an advanced state owing to the efforts of numerous earth scientists and professional engineers. Methods of identifying the various geotechnical hazards, estimating their potential magnitude, and controlling those that are manmade are feasible. To identify most subsurface geotechnical hazards, it is essential that a suite of sophisticated instruments be used. To establish the magnitude of the hazard, it is also essential that basic data regarding the rock matrix, the stress field, and the reservoir pore pressure be obtained. A model composed of the parameters that control both the magnitude of earth movements and the in-situ hazards can assist in the identification. This model can be utilized during the exploratory effort, development drilling, resource development, and possible assisted recovery and fluid-waste disposal.

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Energy Resources of the Pacific Region

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1981




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