Study finds geomechanical effects from petroleum operations to be substantial on the resiliency of offshore platforms

By Peter Murphy

Published April 2, 2018

Assistant professor Kamelia Atefi Monfared and Jackub Rybicki, an MS student who graduated from UB in 2017, published an article in the March 2018 edition of the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. The article, titled, Production versus injection induced poreolasticity surrounding wells “presents a novel assessment of flow-induced geomechanics (injection and production) in a poroelastic layer, incorporating confining effects of sealing rocks,” according to the paper’s abstract.

Atefi Monfared and Rybicki then evaluated impacts of flow-induced reservoir deformations on bearing capacity of offshore piles. The results were published as a conference paper, entitled A Novel Numerical Study of Reservoir-induced Subsidence and Upheaval Effects on Bearing Capacity of Offshore Piles.” Atefi Monfared presented this research at the 2018 International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo (IFCEE), in Orlando, Florida, in March. IFCEE is an international technical conference and tradeshow dedicated to the design and construction of foundation systems through geoengineering and geoconstruction technologies and practices.

During her discussion at IFCEE, Atefi Monfared described the results, and the significance of incorporating geomechanical effects during the design of offshore platforms. Her research referenced Hurricane Ike, a 2008 tropical cyclone that caused major damage to parts of the Caribbean and the United States. An offshore platform, used for oil and gas production and located in the Gulf of Mexico, failed during this hurricane as a result of foundation failure. Atefi Monfared and Rybicki developed a numerical model to simulate the critical pile from the aforementioned platform. They then studied the geomechanical effects of injection and production operations in a deep geological reservoir located bellow the platform on the pile’s bearing capacity.

Atefi Monfared will hold a workshop and lead a discussion panel at the first-ever International Clean Cooling Congress at the University of Birmingham in United Kingdom, later this month.