Data & Analytics

Company Focuses AI on Characterizing Subsurface Stresses Without Well Logs

Petrolern has received a $1.15-million grant from the US Department of Energy to develop and commercialize its technology that models in-situ stresses by using available data.

Credit: Pertolern.

Petrolern has been awarded a $1.15 million grant from the US Department of Energy to further develop and commercialize its artificial-intelligence-based technology for estimation of Earth stresses without costly well logging. Failure to construct reasonably accurate in-situ stress models costs the industry billions of dollars annually because of wellbores failure, poor performance of reservoirs, induced seismicity, caprock-integrity issues, and inability to monitor fluid movement, as well as inappropriate well placement and completion design.

A good understanding of the stress field can lead to substantial improvement in subsurface operations such as drilling, completions, fracturing, production, enhanced oil recovery, and carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration. The required wireline logs for stress estimations, however, are very costly to acquire, typically only available in pay zones (not the overburden), and mostly not available in horizontal wells.

“This low-cost technology, born through advanced data intelligence bounded by physical principles, can drastically increase safety and project profitability and has already attracted the attention of several oil and gas operators,” said Salah Faroughi, Petrolern’s research and development director.

Petrolern’s technology addresses the challenge by using readily available data, and the company says it has the potential to save substantial amounts of cost and nonproductive time for different subsurface operations while significantly improving safety and reducing environmental impacts. Although developed for carbon-storage applications, the technology can also be used in geothermal energy applications and in both conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources development.

“Successful storage of CO2 in geological formations relies on accurate knowledge of the subsurface state of stress and its evolution during and after injection to guarantee safe and permanent storage of CO2,” said Hamed Soroush, Petrolern’s chief executive officer. “Cost-effective but accurate estimation of in-situ stresses independent from scarcely available logs is a true game-changer for geomechanical modeling for not only carbon storage, but also oil and gas and geothermal applications.”