Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group Quarterly Newsletter Energi Simulation Industrial research chair in reservoir geomechanics. Vol. 3, Issue 1. MArch 2019

Spring has finally arrived and with the warmer temperatures we have several students gearing up to put the polishing touches on their theses and prepare for final examinations. It is always bittersweet to see our students near completion of their degrees, but always exciting to share their accomplishments. Read on to find out what else we've been up to...


March 31, 2019, [RG]2 will mark the official close of the first phase of the Energi Simulation Industrial Research Consortia on Reservoir Geomechanics. While the final report is still in progress and the second phase is currently under review, a quick run-down of our successes over the past 5 years includes:

  • supervision, training and mentoring of over 54 HQP’s including 28 PhD students, 8 MSc students, 3 postdoctoral fellows, 4 technical research staff, 3 research associates, and 8 undergraduate students
  • 18 graduates employed in industry and several HQP who have moved on to pursue PhD studies and PDF positions both within UAlberta and at prestigious institutions such as SFU, MIT, Texas A&M, and IFP.
  • close to 60* refereed publications, over 50* conference papers and technical reports, 42 webinars, and 5 technical research symposiums; and
  • establishment of four distinct GeoInnovation Environments (GeoREF, GeoCERF, GeoPrint and GeoRMT)

*As of March 31st, 2019 some publications, conference papers, and report may remain submitted and/or under review.

While it might seem like this would be a nice time to rest on our laurels, instead we are moving full steam ahead towards the second phase of the Energi Simulation Industrial Research Consortium in Reservoir Geomechanics, which promises to continue the range and caliber of ground-breaking, cutting-edge research accomplished over the past five years. We would like to again thank our industry, government, and institutional partners for their generous support and guidance over the past 5 years and look forward to seeing what the next 5 hold in store for [RG]2.

Shenglong Jia has been getting some beautiful experimental results in GeoCERF. Mr. Jia is currently building a database for the preparation of synthetic soils for physical modelling tests using our 2-tonne beam centrifuge.

Red sand sprinkled over the gridded front surface of this synthetic soil sample allows post-test deformation to be clearly identified and easily measured.

The development of synthetic soils overcomes the shortage of prototype samples while geotechnical centrifuge modelling overcomes the weakness of both the conventional tests such as triaxial tests which use small samples and numerical simulation which cannot reflect the complexity of the geological media. Results from geotechnical centrifuge testing is proving to be the most useful complement for both conventional tests and numerical simulation.

Top: frontal view of pre-test sample. Below: rear view of post-test sample.


Who says judging is a bad thing? In addition to presenting "Geomechanical Characterization of Fractured Clay Shale for Reservoir Caprock Applications" to the UAlberta Geotechnical Center Members during the "Weekly Graduate Students Seminar" on Wednesday 9th of Jan 2019, PhD Candidate Abeer Heikal served as an Oral Presentations Judge in the 2019 Festival of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (FURCA) from March 11-14, 2019 in the University of Alberta and will serve again as Judge in the 2019 Latin America and Caribbean Regional Student Paper Contest (SPE LA&C SPC) and at the 2019 Edmonton Regional Science Fair (ERSF) at NAIT on Saturday April, 6th, 2019.

Dr. Nathan Deisman and Dr. Alireza Rangriz Shokri presented the latest developments from “thermal impacts for geological storage of CO2” with other researchers in the 4th FES-GRI Joint Research Workshop. Collaborating to undertake ground-breaking research in CCUS with Dr. Don Lawton, Director for Containment and Monitoring Institute (CaMI) at the University of Calgary, they joined roundtables and technical meetings to share expertise, equipment and infrastructures of GeoInnovation Environments of the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group.

Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group will showcase the latest research findings in Canadian Unconventionals and CCUS panels of the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2019, in Calgary by September. Here is a sneak peek of the papers that will be included in the SPE ATCE technical agenda:

  1. A New Triaxial Experimental System for Dynamic Elastic Properties at Seismic Frequencies (C. Lu, R.J. Chalaturnyk, University of Alberta)
  2. Geomechanical Characterization of Inclined Heterolithic Stratification Lithosome and Its Permeability Evolution under SAGD Stress Paths (M. Khademi, R.J. Chalaturnyk, University of Alberta)
  3. Deployment of Pressure Hit Catalogues to Optimize Multi-Stage Hydraulic Stimulation Treatments and Future Re-Fracturing Designs of Horizontal Wells in Horn River Shale Basin (A. Rangriz Shokri, R.J. Chalaturnyk, University of Alberta, D. Bearinger, CNOOC International,
  4. Non-Isothermal Injectivity Considerations for Effective Geological Storage of CO2 at the Aquistore Site, Saskatchewan, Canada (A. Rangriz Shokri, R.J. Chalaturnyk, University of Alberta, E. Nickel, Petroleum Technology Research Centre)

Dr. Rick and Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano participated in the CSPG Rock Analysis Workshop on March 21 and 22, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta. The CSPG Rock Analysis Workshop is a multidisciplinary event that brings together industry, technical, and field experts to share experience and ideas. "While advanced technologies such as long horizontal wells, combined with multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in unconventional plays, have enabled commercial recovery, development efficiency is still suboptimal partly due to our insufficient understanding of geochemical, petrophysical and geomechanical characteristics. Understanding how to advance characterization methods at all scales is therefore critical for predictable development through primary and enhanced recovery processes."


PhD Student Juan Arias Buitrago has been invited to participate in Suncor's Student Coop program. This spring he will undertake a seven month placement during which time he will be given an opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented people in the energy sector. In addition to gaining valuable experience and making important connections, this is a wonderful opportunity for professional development and personal growth. Congratulations, Juan, and best of luck!

Kaylee Craplewe joined us in February of this year from the Faculty of Science on an Undergraduate Research Initiative grant. In addition to taking a strong lead on updating safety and maintenance protocols, she has been working closely with Dr. Kevin Hodder and Dr. Sergey Ishutov towards streamlining and improving the 3D printing process by automating our ExOne MFlex 3D printer. With the generous support of Innotech Alberta iCore and NSERC she will be able to extend her position though the end of August during which time she will take on a lead role for printing operations in the GeoPrint Facility. Welcome, Kaylee!

We are pleased to welcome Mohammedebrahim Shabani, a visitor from RWTH Aachen University in Germany on a University of Alberta Junior Research Fellowship. During his Academic Visit, Mr. Shabani (who goes by "Ebi") has been working on examining how gas flow in low-permeable sedimentary rocks is controlled by fluid-dynamic (Poiseuille flow, slip flow) and rock-mechanincal (pore compressibility, effective stress) effects. He gave a brief presentation in March while his supervisor, Dr. Alexandra Amann, was attending a conference in Calgary and took some time to come to Edmonton and visit our research facilities, and will do a second presentation in the second week of April. It has been a pleasure having Ebi with us and we hope his time with [RG]2 has been valuable and enjoyable.


[RG]2 has been given an exciting opportunity to advance its research on measuring in situ stresses using the Reservoir Geomechanical Pressuremeter (RGP). In June, the RGP tool will be deployed in a dedicated borehole in the Mont Terri underground laboratory in Switzerland to measure in situ formation properties as well as in situ stress. Additional in situ stress verification data will be collected from an additional borehole where a USBM borehole deformation gauge will be run. This dataset will provide invaluable information for Lang Liu’s PhD work on RGP applications in deep, unconventional reservoirs.

Lang Liu calibrates the RGP tool for its upcoming journey to Switzerland.

Copyright 2019 [RG]2. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy of the information published herein and any errors or omissions are entirely unintentional. Please report discrepancies or corrections to hwalls@ualberta.ca

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