Professional Course

Unconventional Reservoir Geomechanics

edX, Online
10 weeks
149 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
10 weeks
149 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
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Course description

Unconventional Reservoir Geomechanics

The production of hydrocarbons from extremely low permeability unconventional reservoirs through horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing has transformed the global energy landscape. Although hundreds of thousands of wells have been drilled and completed, recovery factors remain low in both tight oil (2-10%) and shale gas (15-25%) reservoirs. This course, designed for both geoscientists and engineers, covers topics ranging from the physical properties of reservoir rocks at the nanometer- to centimeter-scale to the state of stress on fractures and faults at the basin-scale. The course follows the textbook Unconventional Reservoir Geomechanics by Mark Zoback and Arjun Kohli, available in print or electronic versions.

The first part of the course covers topics that become progressively broader in scale, starting with laboratory studies of the microstructural, mechanical, and flow properties of reservoir rocks and concluding with field observations of fractures, faults, and the state of stress in unconventional basins. The second part of the course focuses on the process of stimulating production using horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing. Important engineering concepts will be reviewed, including microseismic monitoring, production and depletion, well-to-well interactions, and hydraulic fracture propagation. The final part of the course addresses the environmental impacts of unconventional oil and gas development, in particular the occurrence and management of induced seismicity.

Upcoming start dates

1 start date available

Start anytime

  • Self-paced Online
  • Online
  • English

Who should attend?


  • Introductory Geology and Geophysics
  • Familiarity with principles of drilling and petroleum production

Training content

4/6 Week 1

  • Unit 1: Introduction and Course Overview
  • Unit 2: Unconventional Reservoirs

4/13 Week 2

  • Homework 1 – State of Stress in Unconventional Reservoirs
  • Unit 3: Stress, Fractures and Faults I
  • Unit 4: Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing

4/20 Week 3

  • Homework 1 Due
  • Homework 2 – Composition and Elastic Properties
  • Unit 5: Composition, Fabric, Elastic Properties and Anisotropy
  • Unit 6: Rock Strength and Ductility

4/27 Week 4

  • Homework 2 Due
  • Homework 3 – Ductility, Friction, and Stress Magnitudes
  • Unit 7: Ductility and Stress Magnitudes
  • Unit 8: Frictional Properties

5/4 Week 5

  • Homework 3 Due
  • Homework 4 – Flow and Sorption
  • Unit 9: Pore Networks and Pore Fluids
  • Unit 10: Flow and Sorption

5/11 Week 6

  • Homework 4 Due
  • Homework 5 – Stress, Faults, and Reservoir Seismology
  • Unit 11: Stress, Fractures, and Faults II
  • Unit 12: Reservoir Seismology

5/18 Week 7

  • Homework 5 Due
  • Homework 6 – Induced Shear Slip on Faults
  • Unit 13: Shear Stimulation and Depletion
  • Unit 14: Stimulation Optimization

5/25 Week 8

  • Homework 6 Due
  • Unit 15: Production and Depletion
  • Unit 16: Environmental Impacts

6/1 Week 9

  • Unit 17: Induced Seismic and Unconventional Reservoir Development
  • Unit 18: Managing Risk of Induced Seismicity

6/8 Week 10

Unit 19: Discussion and Wrap-up

Course delivery details

This course is offered through Stanford University, a partner institute of EdX.

6-8 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$149
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • Definition, formation, and extent of unconventional reservoirs
  • Physical properties of unconventional reservoir rocks
  • State of stress in unconventional reservoirs
  • Horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing
  • Reservoir seismology and microseismic monitoring
  • Environmental impacts of unconventional reservoir development
  • Managing risk of induced seismicity

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141 Portland Street
02139 Cambridge Massachusetts


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