Upcoming Events

Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics (OSIG)

Learning Luncheon & Webinar

Stress, Deformation and Pressure Prediction Near Salt
Speaker: Dr. Maria A. Nikolinakou
Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
BP Helios Plaza: Room 1.250, 201 Helios Way, Houston, Texas 77079


About the speaker:

Maria A. Nikolinakou is currently a Research Associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, at the University of Texas at Austin. She works for the AGL, and GeoFluids consortia.

Maria is a Civil/Geotechnical Engineer, she received her Science Doctorate on Theoretical Soil Mechanics from MIT in 2008. She holds a M.Sc. in Geotechnical Engineering from MIT and a Civil Engineering degree from NTUA, Greece.

Before joining the Jackson School, she worked for Shell Exploration and Production on Reservoir Geomechanics.

Her current research topics include:

  • Modeling of stresses and pore pressures in sediments bounding salt bodies
  • Prediction of stresses and pore pressures at the crest of dipping structures
  • Borehole stability
  • Poromechanical modeling of basin sediments, including transient pore pressure dissipation
  • Geomechanical pore-pressure prediction
  • Numerical modeling in salt tectonics.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Constitutive modeling
  • Coupled stress-pore pressure prediction
  • Dipping structures
  • Borehole stability
  • Poromechanical modeling of basin sediments
  • Transient pore pressure dissipation
  • Salt Tectonics
  • Numerical modeling: Abaqus, ELFEN


We predict pressure and stress near salt using two approaches: evolutionary modeling and static modeling coupled with velocity measurements.

Evolutionary geomechanical models allow us to couple sedimentation with salt deformation, and study how stress and strength of basin sediments evolve as salt diapirs grow and develop into salt sheets. We examine a case of salt-sheet emplacement with roof, and show that sediments develop high differential stresses as they fold in front of a rolling salt sheet. In many areas, shear stress reaches the shear strength and sediments are failing. We illustrate that the geometry of salt base can provide a first order estimation of shear and least-principal-stress orientation subsalt, hence identify hazardous drilling areas.

We also discuss pressure prediction using static models of present-day salt geometries coupled with seismic velocities. Pore pressure is predicted using mean and shear stress derived from the geomechanical model. We demonstrate this new workflow using data from the Mad Dog field, in the Gulf of Mexico. We show that the workflow incorporates non-uniaxial loading, as well as the response of the geologic environment, and accounts for shear-induced pore pressures. Overall, it provides the full stress tensor and an enhanced pressure prediction ahead of the drill bit. 

CE certificates for in-person attendees

Check in: 11:00am
Presentation: 11:30am

Register Now


Other Events of Interest

Integrated Site Marine Characterization Course

A marine site investigation integrates geology, geophysics, and geotechnical data to develop the soil properties required to understand geological constraints and to gather information to design submarine foundations and layouts. Who should attend? Geoscientists, engineers, and managers who work, contract, and plan marine site survey and geotechnical programs for exploration and field development.
The three-day comprehensive course covers survey planning, acquisition, interpretation, and integration of data, culminating with an in-depth presentation of several integrated case studies. The course is taught by recognized experts in these fields from energy company operators, service contractors, consultants, and academic institutions.

Full Course Program


Topic Time
Course Introduction 07.45-08.00
Technical Professional's Role in Site Characterization 08.00-08.30
What is a Site Characterization Model 08.30-08.45
Exercise: What are the Geohazards? - First Pass 08.45-09.00
Positioning 09.00-09.45
Break 09.45-10.00
Site Characterization Planning 10.00-11.00
Site Characterization Vessel Selection 11.00-11.30
Exercise: Select the Appropriate Vessel 11.30-12.00
Lunch 12.00-12.45
Seismic Principles 12.45-13.45
Demonstration: Examples of Seismic Data 13.45-14.00
Multichannel Techniques 14.00-15.00
Break 15.00-15.15
Acoustic Tools 15.15-16.00
Data Loading, Manipulation, and QC 16.00-16.45
Exercise: Workflows Revealed! 16.45-17.00
Topical Discussion 17.00-17.15


Topic Time
Data Interpretation 07.45-09.00
Exercise: Seismic Data Phase and Polarity 09.00-09.30
Break 09.30-09.45
Marine Engineering Geology 09.45-10.45
Exercise: What are the Geohazards? - Second Pass 10.45-11.15
Specialty Fields  
Marine Archaeology 11.15-12.00
Lunch 12.00-12.45
Exercise: Marine Archaeology Activity 12.45-13.15
Metocean for Site Characterization 13.15-14.15
Geotechnical Engineering  
Foundation Engineering 14.15-14.45
Break 14.45-15.00
Foundation Engineering (cont') 15.00-15.30
Exercise: Example of Foundation Engineering 15.30-15.45
Assessment of Geotechnical Scope 15.45-16.00
Exercise: Select Geotechnical Data Stations 16.00-16.45
Topical Discussion 16.45-17.15


Topic Time
Seabed Sampling and Site Investigation Techniques 07.45-08.45
Geotechnical Characterization of Marine Sediments 09.00-09.30
Exercise: Soil Property Characterization 09.30-09.45
Break 09.45-10.00
Laboratory Testing and Data Interpretation 10.00-11.00
Exercise: Design Sampling Program at Anchor Sites 11.00-11.30
Lunch 12.00-12.45
Integrated Stratigraphy 12.15-13.00
Slope Stability 13.00-13.30
Exercises: Integrated Slope Stability 13.30-13.45
Risk Assessment 13.45-14.30
Exercise: Impact of Spatial Variability 14.30-14.45
Break 14.45-15.00
Case Studies  
Conventional - GOM 15.00-15.30
Challenging - Brazil 15.30-16.00
Complex - Malaysia 16.00-16.30
The Importance of Site Characterization 16.30-17.15
For registration information contact: Araceli Lopez at communications@suthouston.com
For course information contact: Kim Faulk at kim.faulk@f-e-t.com or call at (281) 994-3385

UT3 Issue 6 2016 / 2017

UT3 is the online magazine of the Society for Underwater Technology. It is a new single authoritative source on subsea engineering for those that do not have time to look at the various subsea news sites.

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