Gussow 2023: Geomechanics for Sustainable Energy Development will be a single-track, technical conference focusing the critical role geomechanics plays from the exploration, production and storage of hydrocarbons, hydrogen and geothermal energy through to disposal and sequestration of wastes and greenhouse gases. 

The Gussow 2023 Conference will allow abundant opportunities to learn from and interact with a community of individuals from academia, industry, and government, all with shared interests and concerns. This year’s conference has  been designed with both practitioners and end users of geomechanics in mind.

Session 1: In-Situ Stresses with Applications to Petroleum and the Energy Transition
Co-Chairs: Pat McLellan and Maurice B Dusseault

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

A starting point for many geomechanical investigations, whether for the design of hydraulically stimulated unconventional wells, extended reach wells through unstable sediments, storing of gas or liquids, geothermal energy development, or induced seismicity assessment, is to characterize the in-situ stress magnitudes and orientations. Great strides have been made in the last few decades in the methods used to estimate stresses and to interpret them at a variety of scales from the wellbore to the geological basin. The World Stress Map, a collaborative project coordinated by GFZ in Germany, has contributed greatly to our understanding of stress regimes around the globe and their relationship to plate tectonics, structural geology and diverse sedimentary basin settings. In Canada, a new effort is starting under the auspices of the CEGA to update the 1994 Geological Atlas of the Western Canadian Geological Basin. This session will bring experts from academia, industry and research organizations to discuss advances and new initiatives with a wide range of application.

Session 2: Geomechanical Characterization of Rock and Fracture Properties
Co-Chairs: Chris Hawkes and Giovanni Grasselli

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Sound characterization of the mechanical properties of rock and fractures is key for the understanding how rock formations will respond to energy production and storage operations. In this session, we will discuss the characterization of intact rock and natural fractures using laboratory testing techniques and geophysical logging. Presentations will introduce new measurement tools and techniques, from sample preparation to testing, and present results of comprehensive case studies based on a variety of tools and techniques aiming to link the rock geology to mechanical properties Several aspects of deformation and strength properties of intact rocks and natural fractures will be investigated, such as: anisotropy, scale-dependence, cyclic loading effects, non-linear material models, and the influence of pressure, temperature and pore fluid composition.

Session 3: Geomechanical Issues and Applications Associated with Injection And Storage
Co-Chairs: Baohong Yang, Rick Chalaturnyk, and Dale Walters
Wednesday, October 11, 2023

In sustainable energy development, many activities involve injection and storage of fluid and/or solid into geological formations. Steam is injected into subsurface in the thermal recovery of heavy oil, fracturing fluid is injected into unconventional reservoirs to stimulate the formation and produce oil/gas, fluid is injected into geothermal reservoirs to capture or loss heat, waste and produced water/solid are injected into subsurface for disposal, energy such as hydrogen and hydrocarbons is injected into subsurface for storage and future use, CO2 and other greenhouse gases are injected into geological formations for production enhancement and/or permanent storage.

The injection and storage activities can introduce thermal, poro, and chemical effects in the geological formations, which can induce stress changes, rock property changes, formation deformation and/or failure, and can potentially generate geomechanical issues. On the other hand, geomechanics has been utilized to stimulate the reservoir and enhance the injection/production. In this session we will discuss some of the geomechanical issues/applications associated with injection and storage in geological formations, through experimental, modelling, and field studies. Topics include but not limited to caprock/sealing integrity, geological storage stability, fault stability/activation, induced seismicity, and capacity/production prediction/optimization.

Session 4: Natural Geomechanical Subsurface Hazards and Risks: Characterization and Assessment
Co-Chairs: Amy Fox and Stephen O'Connor
Thursday, October 12, 2023

While it is difficult to fully decouple naturally occurring hazards from those induced by subsurface operations, this session will try to highlight a variety of case studies where some knowledge of geomechanical risk was present at the beginning of a project. The focus will be on how that risk was characterized and assessed, and how approaches to risk characterization and assessment, or perhaps even the risk itself, may have changed over the life of the project. Presentations will address what data or knowledge needed to be captured, and how it was captured, for different types of projects. The goal is to highlight various approaches to risk assessment including analytical, numerical and probabilistic. Discussion will include how addressing geomechanical hazards and risks needs to be incorporated into energy projects of the future.

Session 5: Evolving Stress Conditions: Measuring and Monitoring
Co-Chairs: Doug Schmitt and John McLennan
Thursday, October 12, 2023

Societies’ rapidly growing needs for both energy and for the safe disposal of the resulting wastes cannot be done without disturbing the earth to greater depths and more extreme environments.  This session focuses on applications of different technologies that allow us to track directly or indirectly natural and anthropogenic changes in stress fields, fault motions, and pore fluid saturation within the earth.  This information can then be used to optimize the efficiencies of the process and to guard against induced hazards.