Petroleum reservoir engineering involves four disciplines: geology, transport, thermodynamics, and geomechanics. The latter has suffered benign neglect for decades, but large-scale development of viscous oils, high-porosity offshore reservoirs, HPHT cases, and fractured carbonates with severe stress sensitivity are raising awareness that geomechanics is a vital aspect of reservoir management. Because 60% of the world's liquid fossil fuel is in the form of viscous oil in weak sandstones (IEA, 2005), the roles of geomechanics and seismic monitoring will increase sharply in decades to come.

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