Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group Quarterly Newsletter ENERGI SIMULATION INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH CHAIR IN RESERVOIR GEOMECHANICS. Vol. 3, Issue 3. September 2019


We have received good news from our funding partners that will enable us to launch the next phase of research in our Energi Simulation Industrial Research Consortia on Reservoir Geomechanics. Our upcoming research (2019-2024) will involve reservoir geomechanical research ranging from the pore-scale to reservoir-scale through integrated experimental, numerical and field projects that span from the oil sands to the unconventional reservoirs of the Montney and Duvernay. This will build and expand upon the exciting research conducted in the first phase of the Consortia conducted from 2014-2019.

While that is wonderful news (and we promise to share complete details with an official announcement in the near future), the team at [RG]2 has lots of other progress to share.

In the Lab

Ms. Yue at her desk testing one of the new datalogger units.

Anni Yue is nearing completion of the new and improved GeoREF datalogger. Compared with previous versions, hers has the capacity to measure 6 additional channels and includes 4 new pumps. Beyond the expanded capacity, all 22 channels can now employ a unique thermometer type (previously they all had to be the same). The new and improved datalogger gives researchers in [RG]2 the ability to collect more data, more accurately, which is always step in in the right direction. Nice work, Ms. Yue!

We’ve signed an Umbrella Research Agreement with the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia to conduct collaborative research projects on unconventional onshore gas recovery. This will offer some exciting opportunities for researchers as we continue growing what has already proven a productive and meaningful partnership.

The team at [RG]2 has a series of short videos planned that will offer a virtual experience of our laboratories and research spaces. The first one was produced about GeoPrint and was premiered by Dr. Kevin Hodder and Dr. Sergey Ishutov at a presentation for a seminar series put on by the Geoscience Department at the University of Calgary. We look forward to sharing the rest of the series as they are completed, but for now go pop some popcorn and enjoy!

Recently [RG]2 ’s Finite Volume Black Oil Simulator (FVBOS) has been upgraded to simulate coupled hydro-mechanical multi-phase fluid flow through both intact matrix and complex discrete fracture networks. This software has the capability of simulating centrifuge acceleration in the fluid flow modeling and it has been enriched by Machine Learning approaches to automate CFD simulations. This capability enables the software to create a linkage between cutting-edge physical measurement facilities of RG2, such as RG 2 ’s Centrifuge and 3D Printing facility, and theories behind the physics of coupled hydro-mechanical multi-phase flow through fractured unconventional reservoirs to achieve an outcome attracting the industry. Saeed Nazary Moghadam will present a paper on this topic at the 5th International Itasca Symposium in February 2020.

In the Field

Following up with the success of our team's last visit to Switzerland, November will see Dr. Nathan Deisman and PhD student Lang Liu once again heading to the Mont Terri Underground Rock laboratory to deploy the RGP tool. Please check back in December for updates on how the second leg of this trip progressed!


Abeer Heikal was honoured to collaborate with the University of Waterloo, and specifically Dr. Maurice Dusseault, to give two presentations on July 23 and July 25th, 2019 at the University of Waterloo Heavy Oil and Oilsands Introductory Teaching. The participants were PetroChina Personnel from Daqing Oilfield Company Limited and the training was presented on July 22 - 26 and Jul 29 - Aug 02, 2019, at Grant McEwan University, in Edmonton, AB.

Representing the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group at the Faults and their Significance for Large-Scale CO₂ Storage Workshop, Dr. Alireza Rangriz Shokri discussed “Non-isothermal Injectivity Considerations for Effective Geological Storage of CO2 at the Aquistore Site, Saskatchewan”. Organized by IEAGHG, over 80 participants from 9 different countries attended the Monitoring & Environmental Research Combined Networks Meeting, in Calgary, August 20-23, 2019.

The EAGE Conference on Petroleum Geostatistics has happened only 4 times in the past 20 years: Toulouse (France) in 1999, Cascais (Portugal) in 2007, Biarritz (France) in 2015, and Florence (Italy) in 2019. Bo Zhang was thrilled to represent [RG]2 at the 4th Edition from September 2-6, 2019 where he presented "Upscaling of plastic geomechanical properties to reproduce anisotropic failure in heterogeneous continua."

Dr. Rick provided a keynote talk on “A Perspective on the role of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCS) in Climate Change Mitigation” at a workshop held Wednesday, September 25 between Tsinghua University and the University of Alberta. The workshop was held in association with the newly formed Joint Research Centre for Future Energy and Environment.

Downhole image from a saline aquifer CO2 injection well in southern Saskatchewan (2017). The image was obtained at a depth of 3263 m, which is in the middle of the third of four perforated zones.

Dr. Stephen Talman presented "Salt Precipitation at an Active CO2 Injection Site" (Stephen Talman, Alireza Rangrizshokri, Rick Chalautrnyk, and Erik Nickel) at the 8th International Acid Gas Injection Symposium in Calgary, Alberta September 24-27, 2019.

Dr. Gonzalo Zambrano, Dr. Kevin Hodder, Dr. Sergey Ishutov, and PhD student Sebastian Lopez Saavedra travelled to Mexico City from September 23rd to 27th, 2019 for the 3rd Workshop on Knowledge Network. The focus was on Reservoir Geomechanics on Mature Fields and Non-Conventional Resources and included meetings and tours for participants from IMP, [RG]2, and PEMEX. Several parallel sessions were part of these workshops for our knowledge network.

Mystery Solved!!! Like all confined porous fabrics, rocks buried kilometers beneath the surface undergo complex forms of deformation under an increasing/decreasing effective stress condition. Pore space deformation imposes dramatic changes on the multiphase fluid flow properties of rocks; these are crucial in understanding, quantifying, and modeling recovery of hydrocarbon/geothermal resources, subsurface storage of CO2 , and surface water infiltration into the ground. In our recent paper Stress-Dependent Pore Deformation Effects on Multiphase Flow Properties of Porous Media. Scientific Reports (Haghi, A.H., Chalaturnyk, R., Talman, S. (2019)) published in the Scientific Reports from Nature Research Journal, we have physically elaborated the systematic controls of rock deformation on multiphase flow properties on the microscopic and macroscopic scales. These findings prove the crucial impact of effective stress-induced pore deformation on multiphase flow properties of rock and explain the physical mechanism controlling those property changes, which are missing from the current characterizations of multiphase flow in porous media.

At the 2019 SPE ATCE, the following papers were presented:

  • Rangriz Shokri, A., Chalaturnyk, R. J., & Nickel, E. (2019). Non-Isothermal Injectivity Considerations for Effective Geological Storage of CO2 at the Aquistore Site, Saskatchewan, Canada. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/196118-MS
  • Rangriz Shokri, A., Chalaturnyk, R. J., & Bearinger, D. (2019). 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. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/196221-MS
  • Khademi, M., & Chalaturnyk, R. (2019). Geomechanical Characterization of Inclined Heterolithic Stratification Lithosome and Its Permeability Evolution under SAGD Stress Paths. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/195968-MS
  • Lu, C., Brandl, J., Deisman, N., & Chalaturnyk, R. (2019). Triaxial Testing System for Seismic Frequencies Measurements with Laser Displacement Sensors. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/195934-MS

[RG]2 will present a Keynote Lecture at the 16th PanAmerican Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering entitled "Geotechnical Engineering Innovation to Advance CCUS - From Smart Rocks to the Aquistore Project” in Cancun, Mexico from 17 - 20 November, 2019.

Nathan Deisman, Yujia Guo, Kevin Hodder, and Rick Chalaturnyk of [RG]2 and Thomas Flottmann of Origin Energy Australia have completed a conference paper Using 3d printed synthetic rock for systematic evaluation of mechanical properties in coal to be presented at the Asia Pacific URTeC 2019, Brisbane, Australia.


Hiba Al Shereida is an undergraduate student specializing in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Alberta. Currently finishing her final term, she has undertaken a Dean’s Research Award with [RG]2. Under the supervision of Dr. Rick, Ms. Al Shereida will assist in designing and printing a 3D model to hold the LVDT that will be used to measure the strain in different directions of a 3D printed soil sample when subjected to unconfined triaxial tests. We are excited to see her final presentation in December!

Yanfang Gao

Mr. Gao is a China Scholarship Council Research Award Recipient who is joining us from College of Petroleum Engineering - China University of Petroleum (Beijing) for a year. While in Canada, his research will examine the geomechanics of the SAGD process including micro-fracturing, preheating, and production phases in Chinese oil sand reservoirs. Specific research within the project entails constitutive models for stress-strain behaviours of Chinese oil sands at elevated temperatures and subsequent THM coupled analysis suring SAGD using CMG and ABAQUS.

Shahin Layeghpour

Shahin Layeghpour is a Mitacs Accelerate student doing his M.Sc. in Civil Engineering at University of Saskatchewan. His current project focuses on the understanding of parameters that affect Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS) within the reservoir. In his project he will use geotechnical beam centrifuge located at University of Alberta as part of his research. Centrifuge scaling laws allow to model the reservoir (prototype) into a scaled down model. The scaled model will have stress and pressure gradients that are equivalent to the prototype. The result of his project could provide valuable information to operating companies when post CHOPS EOR is being implemented.

Congratulations to Ajay Ganesh and Bo Zhang on the successful completion of their PhD Examinations! Dr. Ganesh has taken a short-term position with the University of Alberta while Dr. Zhang is taking a much-needed break to spend time with family before tackling whatever comes next. Congratulations to them both!

With final examination committees approved, [RG]2 will see five more students complete their studies in 2019.

(Top) Xinkui Wang, Ehab Hamza, and Abeer Heikal; (Bottom) Masoud Khademi and Amir Haghi


We would like to congratulate the team in the GeoCERF for being selected as a Finalist for the 2019 ASTech Awards!

"An understanding of geotechnical mechanisms of deformation and failure over long periods of time is needed to mitigate long-term risks associated with energy projects. Spearheaded by Dr. Rick Chalaturnyk, the Reservoir Geomechanics Research Group at the University of Alberta develops tools to test and collect accurate and reliable data in hours, not decades, through a number of novel research facilities and experimental modelling processes." Read more.

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