Operations Geology is an important sub-discipline of the practice of geology. As it pertains to petroleum geology, we include any geoscientist managing drilling operations from the office/home (including planning wells) and geosteerers. Operations geologists are uniquely involved in the drilling of a well from the initial planning stages to long after TD and the data have been properly distributed to stakeholders and/or lookbacks have been held.
Knowledge of one’s geological targets (conventional, heavy, or unconventional) is more important than it has ever been for well placement optimization, especially considering the introduction of new technology, such as horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracture stimulation. Beyond the typical geological capacity and experience, knowledge of stakeholder management, regulatory process and approvals, well planning, drilling processes, reservoir engineering, petrophysics, production, wellbore analysis technology, etc are also vital to the role of the operations geologist. These disciplines are commonly in conflict during drilling so prioritization and compromise of the well's objectives is also a skill.
Communication is another vital skill set of the Operations Geologist. Not only does the Operations Geologist communicate with their drilling engineer, directional driller, wellsite geologist (if present), and geosteerer (if present), but communication with their subsurface team, logging team, internal and external regulatory groups, as well as other internal and external stakeholders are also critical to drilling success. A common misperception is that Operations Geology is not its own discipline, the above paragraphs prove that while the Operations Geologist is truly a generalist, there are skillsets that are unique to the Operations Geologist beyond taking well calls in the middle of the night.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
● The role of an Operations Geologist in safety.
● Questions to ask your wellsite geologist to aid in your collective interpretation of well data.
● Reading/interpreting striplogs, cuttings, cuttings technology
● Basic training/discussion of geosteering software
● Critical Regulatory knowledge (ie: D56)
● Best practices: dealing with unforeseen events, stuck pipe, collapsed hole, etc.
● Logging technologies, open hole, mwd, lwd
● Communication with drillers, directional hands, etc
● Drilling technologies
● Stakeholder management
● Geohazards-identification, mitigation, avoidance
● Data QC/QA - is that well really sour?
● Pore Pressure/Fracture Gradient prediction
● H2S Analysis and Regulatory Requirements for sour wells
● Data management and reporting
Division Chair: Kurt Armbruster, P. Geol.
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