A mechanical earth model (MEM) is a fundamental tool for considering the relationships between stress, strength and elastic properties of unconventional resources. Together, these three elements aid the identification of production “sweet spots” and contribute to the design of intelligent stimulation plans that lead to efficient lateral fracture growth, enabling economic production.

Historically, sweetspot identification has focussed on single parameters such as Brittleness Index, which may not necessarily yield optimal results. Multi-variant factors such as total organic content (TOC), clay volume and mineralogy, temperature (both present day and palaeo temperature), natural fracture patterns and permeability, all act to control/influence the presence of sweet spots (as well as their producibility), producibility and performance of the reservoir.

There are many different methods to create empirical and numericalmechanical earth models, however, empirical well-centric analyses are key to constraining interrelated criteria that can be used to map unconventional reservoir properties. In order to construct a robust MEM that permits successful prediction of sweet spots, pore pressure, rock physics and geomechanical properties must be determined as accurately as possible.