A mechanical oil field engineer could very well be the most diverse position within the industry. Various tasks, such as entering a wellbore to a depth of 25,000 ft to deliver equipment capable of pumping sand slurries at pressures greater than 15,000 psi and temperatures often higher than 350°F, are unique to the job. Yet, there are even more areas where the mechanical engineer could excel, to include stimulation (including fracturing/fracking), rock mechanics (static or dynamic), or even geomechanics.
This paper discusses examples of mechanical engineering improving traditional approaches to well stimulation technologies. In one example, the commonly known Bernoulli equations were used to formulate a unique formation fracturing technique. Using this technique, fracturing fluid zonal distribution, which traditionally has been performed using mechanical wellbore sealing devices, was diverted using dynamic isolation of a high-pressure wellbore operation (i.e., sealing using fluid velocity). The effectiveness of such a process was demonstrated by completing the task in less than one tenth of the time required when using conventional (mechanical) techniques.
In another example, fluid rheology parameters were applied to formation rock response, simulating the formation movements as if they were a very viscous, non-Newtonian fluid. The rock could hence be modeled as if it were plastic, using the Kelvin-Voigt relationship. The primary intent of this exercise was to provide an improved stimulation technique to the oil industry, thus providing much better producing wells in the future.