Mark D. Zoback is the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University, Director of the Stanford Natural Gas Initiative, and Co-Director of the Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity, and the Stanford Center for Carbon Storage. Zoback conducts research on in situ stress, fault mechanics, and reservoir geomechanics with an emphasis on shale gas, tight gas, and tight oil production as well as CO2 sequestration. He is the author of two textbooks, the author/co-author of approximately 400 technical papers, and holder of fibe patents. In 1996 he co-founded GeoMechanics International, where he was Chairman of the Board until 2008. He currently serves as a Senior Executive Adviser to Baker Hughes. Dr. Zoback has received a number of awards and honors, including the 2006 Emil Wiechert Medal of the German Geophysical Society and the 2008 Walter H. Bucher Medal of the American Geophysical Union. In 2011 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and in 2012 was elected to Honorary Membership of the Society of Exploration Geophysics. He recently served on the National Academy of Energy committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident and the Secretary of Energy’s committee on shale gas development and environmental protection. He was the 2020 chair of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Technical Committee on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage.
2021 SEG Honorary Lecturer, North America
Geomechanical Issues Affecting Long-Term Storage of CO2
Summaryː The next several decades pose enormous challenges and opportunities for the global oil and gas industry. While oil and gas will continue to be used for decades to come, it is now recognized that enormous quantities of CO2 have to be stored in subsurface geologic formations to reach global decarbonization goals. International bodies, countries (including China and the United States the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters), and 25% of Fortune 500 companies have all established net-zero emission goals by mid-century. In this talk, I will focus on several geomechanical issues that have to be considered to ensure long-term storage efficacy. While it has been long recognized that changes in reservoir pressure should not exceed the pressure at which hydraulic fracturing might occur of seal formations, this presentation will focus on some other issues that have not been sufficiently addressed. First, it is important to identify potentially active faults to limit the possibility that injection-related increases in pore pressure could induce seismic, or aseismic, slip-on known faults. Also, as existing evidence shows that potentially active faults (and the damage zones that surround them) are permeable, the presence of potentially active faults represent possible leakage pathways that should be avoided, even when injection-related pressure changes are too small to induce fault slip. Second, when utilizing depleted oil and gas reservoirs for long-term storage of CO2, it is important to understand both the mechanical changes of the reservoir rocks and the stress changes that resulted from depletion. Such knowledge is required to predict how pressure (and the poroelastic stress changes) associated with CO2 injection will affect the reservoir. Finally, from the perspective of induced seismicity, it is critically important to identify reservoirs with both top seals and bottom seals to avoid pressure communication to potentially active faults in the basement.
A recording of the lecture is available.
SEG Honorable Mention (Geophysics) 2013
Indrajit Das and Mark D. Zoback received 2013 Honorable Mention (Geophysics) for their paper Long-period, long-duration seismic events during hydraulic stimulation of shale and tight-gas reservoirs — Part 1: Waveform characteristics.
SEG Honorary Membership 2012
Mark Zoback is recognized for his many significant accomplishments in the geophysical specialty of geomechanics. He and his students have elevated the role of finite tensor stresses and abnormal pore pressure in our understanding of drilling and reservoir performance, showing how ubiquitous these effects are throughout diverse areas of concern. He has received major honors from many organizations, including the National Academy of Engineering, American Rock Mechanics Association, American Geophysical Union, New Zealand Geophysics Prize, German Geophysical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Geological Society of America. He was a member of the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Committee on Shale Gas, and of the National Academy of Engineering’s Committee on the Deepwater Horizon accident. He is also co-director of the Stanford Rock Physics and Borehole Geophysics consortium. He is the author of the textbook Reservoir Geomechanics and was co-principal investigator of SAFOD, the scientific drilling project that drilled and sampled the San Andreas Fault at a depth of 3 km. His resume lists 72 publications within the last ten years.
Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership 2012
It is most appropriate for SEG to recognize Mark Zoback with Honorary Membership for his remarkably broad scope of scientific achievements and contributions, specifically in lithospheric dynamics, mechanics of crustal faulting, and reservoir geomechanics.
Mark Zoback is the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University and a Senior Executive Adviser to Baker Hughes. He received his bachelor’s in geophysics in 1969 from the University of Arizona and, after working at Amoco Production during 1969-71, his master’s (1973) and PhD (1975), both in geophysics and both from Stanford University. He had an accomplished scientific career with the US Geological Survey during 1975-1984, and returned to Stanford as Professor of Geophysics in 1984.
Mark has long been conducting research on in-situ stress, fault mechanics, and reservoir geomechanics. He was one of the principal investigators of the SAFOD (the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth) project in which a scientific research well was successfully drilled through the San Andreas Fault at seismogenic depth. He is the author/coauthor of 300 technical papers and holds five patents. He was the co-founder of GeoMechanics International in 1996, where he was chairman of the board until 2008. He recently served on the National Academy of Energy committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident and the Secretary of Energy’s committee on shale gas development and environmental protection. Mark has received a number of awards and honors, including the 2006 Emil Wiechert Medal of the German Geophysical Society and the 2008 Walter H. Bucher Medal of the American Geophysical Union. In 2011, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
Mark has used knowledge of the magnitude and orientation of the forces acting in the crust (combined with the principles of rock mechanics, structural geology and earthquake seismology) to address research questions ranging from lithospheric dynamics to the mechanics of crustal faulting to reservoir geomechanics and CO2 sequestration. In the 1980s, in collaboration with Mary Lou Zoback, Mark developed methods for mapping intraplate stress orientation at multiple scales using a variety of sources of data. They demonstrated that intraplate stresses arise principally from large-scale, platedriving processes. They further demonstrated that intraplate earthquakes are the result of regional stresses, not localized sources of stress nor localized zones of weakness. This work laid the groundwork for development of the concept of a critically-stressed brittle crust.
Mark has noted that “the most important source of data in regional stress maps are observations of compressive and tensile failure in wells and boreholes. Earthquake focal plane mechanisms provide useful information about relative stress magnitudes, but limited information about stress orientation. Geologic observations are useful in tectonically active areas but in most intraplate regions active geologic stress indicators are not available.” Mark and his co-researchers did the fundamental work to improve these wellbore methods, now in wide use around the world — both in academic research and the oil and gas industry.
Since the mid-1990s, Mark has applied the experimental techniques and concepts inspired by scientific drilling projects to problems associated with oil and gas production and CO2 sequestration. This work is the basis of his widely referenced textbook,Reservoir Geomechanics, published by Cambridge University Press in 2007 and now in its sixth printing. The research project in reservoir geomechanics that Mark is currently leading at Stanford is opening new frontiers in the development of unconventional resource plays — a major source of energy with global impact. This award of SEG Honorary Membership is testimony to his scientific accomplishments.
- Indrajit Das and Mark D. Zoback (2013). SEG Honors and Awards Ceremony in Official Program and Exhibitors Directory, SEG Denver 26-31 October 2014 p.36-49.
- ”Long-period, long-duration seismic events during hydraulic stimulation of shale and tight-gas reservoirs — Part 1: Waveform characteristics.” Long-period, long-duration seismic events during hydraulic stimulation of shale and tight-gas reservoirs — Part 1: Waveform characteristics, 78(6), KS97-KS108.
- Society of Exploration Geophysicists International Exposition and Eighty-Second Annual Meeting Honors & Awards Program 4:30 p.m., Sunday 4 November 2012 Mandalay Bay Convention Center Las Vegas, Nevada USA