Rock mechanics is a central component of many oil industry problems. The correct rock mechanics characterisation of formations in terms of behaviour is thus of paramount technical and economical importance. State-of-the-art characterisation relies upon core testing. After emphasizing the limits of such methods two field cases are used to show that the operational timing of the characterisation is of fundamental importance. To ensure the characterisation efficiency, it is suggested: i. to use data sources normally available during operation as part of a risk prevention policy; ii. to develop new measuring methods compatible with field practice. For both areas, specific examples are given.

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