Innovators in Technology Series: Interview with Mouin Almasoodi, Devon Energy

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Identifying optimal well spacing is one of the key challenges facing unconventional reservoirs. Welcome to an interview with Mouin Almasoodi, Devon Energy, who will be participating and giving a presentation in AAPG’s Success with Difficult Unconventionals workshop, Nov 12-13, in Houston.

What is your name? What is your background?

I am Mouin Almasoodi. Thanks for the opportunity to interview! I am much less interesting if compared to the challenges that I am involved in. In short, I am a subsurface engineer with eight years of experience in the upstream O&G business. Currently, I am a senior reservoir engineer in the Reservoir Technology & Optimization group at Devon Energy. I am also a PhD candidate in Petroleum Engineering at the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. I enjoy connecting technical analysis to the business commercial objectives in order to add value to our shareholders. My technical interests include modeling and diagnostics of inter- and intra-well interference; advanced reservoir simulation; computational fluid dynamics; and petroleum economics.

What do you consider to be a key challenge in today's oil and gas exploration and operations?

Identifying optimal well spacing is a key challenge in the development of unconventional reservoirs. In simple words, wells drilled too close to each other compete for the same resource, and thus the per well recovery is substantially reduced due to well interference. Conversely, wells drilled too far from each other leads to inefficient unit recovery which is detrimental to the project economics. In my opinion, identifying optimal well spacing is a key challenge because it is heavily dependent on completions design, depletion/completions history of offset producers known as parent wells, accuracy in characterizing relevant subsurface parameters, and oil commodity pricing. In some cases, well interference due to poor spacing may not be observed during early producing life and may take more than a year to show production divergence from wells at different spacing.

Which technologies are addressing the issues?

Integrating diagnostics such as downhole pressure gauges, microseismic, fiber optics, core, and tracers helps in validating/constraining our conceptual and numerical models. In addition, data mining techniques are inexpensive and very useful in extracting information from existing wells. In fact, you can download top data science tools such as Python and R at no cost.

Have you done anything personally to adopt or develop technologies? What did you do? What was your goal? What were the results?

I have used the technologies mentioned above to shed light on intra- and inter-well interference. I used the results to calibrate numerical reservoir models via history matching process in Delaware, Anadarko and Powder River basins. Results have significantly improved our understanding of hydraulic fractures conductivity, extent, and complexity.

What do you have planned for the future?

The challenging problem of determining optimal well spacing have become even more challenging with the presence of parent-child interactions. This means more information need to be collected from the subsurface. Hence, we are members of HFTSI and HFTSII consortia. These Field-based experiments provide an excellent opportunity to diagnose the intricacies of the subsurface to better understand optimal development in unconventional reservoirs.

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