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The Geomechanics of Drilling Weakly Bedded Shale in Wells – Julie Kowan

November 14 @ 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

The energy industry has a responsibility to drill wells as safely and efficiently as possible. We have made enormous progress toward this goal in recent decades, yet geomechanics-related incidents still account for significant non-productive time (NPT) and cost. In order to do even better, there must be a concerted effort to de-risk drilling programs. A geomechanical model comprises a thorough understanding of the local stress field and geology and is a means to diagnose the root cause of previous drilling problems. A geomechanical model should be considered an essential tool in challenging drilling environments because we must first understand the mechanism for failure before we can determine appropriate de-risking and mitigation measures.

One example of a challenging drilling environment is when bedding planes lack the strength to remain intact during drilling, sometimes resulting in severe borehole instability. This phenomenon is called weak bedding and has been observed in conventional and unconventional wells drilled all over the globe. The geomechanics and rock mechanics communities have studied weak bedding planes for decades and have developed several effective mitigation techniques that vary somewhat depending on the local environment. The key takeaways of this presentation are an understanding of what comprises a geomechanical model, what weak bedding planes are, where they have been observed and how geomechanical models have been employed to reduce wellbore instability while drilling through these weak planes, thus driving an increase in drilling safety and efficiency.

In-person registration closes on November 13, 2022, at 10 AM MST.

Speaker Bio

Julie Kowan

Geomechanics Advisor, Baker Hughes

As a Geomechanics Advisor at Baker Hughes, Julie Kowan enables operators to drill safer, more cost-effective wells by reducing non-productive time (NPT) from wellbore instability. Julie earned a BS in Geology from Rutgers University and a MS in Geology from Brown University, after which she joined GeoMechanics International (GMI) in 2005. Since then Julie has performed over 125 geomechanics studies worldwide, and has held various positions at both GMI and Baker Hughes as well as operated her own consulting company for two years. Julie has volunteered for SPE and SPWLA and served as a SPWLA Distinguished Speaker for 2020-2021.



SPE – Calgary Section
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