Summer with Sarah: Studying Abroad and an Internship

Sarah Zink is a petroleum engineering senior. She also serves as the President of the OU Student Chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Here is her account of her time in Madrid, Spain and coming back to an internship with XTO Energy.

This summer I was able to both study abroad to Madrid, Spain and have a full internship with XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, in Fort Worth, TX.

Hours after my last spring final ended I began packing and preparing to leave for my next big adventure in Madrid, Spain. This was not my first study abroad experience with OU, but it was my first through MCEE. I had gone abroad twice before with OU, once after freshman year with the Honors at Oxford study abroad program and a second time with the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition trip to Dubai, UAE. This time I was taking an upper division petroleum engineering elective titled “Shale Oil and Gas Reservoir Engineering” with Dr. Deepak Devegowda of the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy. By Monday morning, just 3 days after my last final, I was on a flight to Madrid where I would spend the next three weeks exploring this new culture and taking a technical course with an OU professor and a mix of OU and Spanish students.

The study abroad course was structured so that we had the first week to explore all that Spain had to offer and then the next week and a half would be

packed with 8 hours of class a day. In the first week we took day trips to different cities around Spain, including Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, and Alcala de Henares. With these trips we were able to see cities that were hundreds of years old, see a fully intact roman aqueduct, tour gorgeous cathedrals, visit palaces, and experience the beautiful Spanish culture. During our week and a half of class we got to learn about shale reservoir engineering, whose research is being largely pioneered at OU, and meet students from the Uiversidad Politécnica de Madrid.

After 3 weeks, I headed back to the US to start my internship. With only 4 days of turnaround time, I was landing in the US on Wednesday and by Monday I had packed up and moved down to Fort Worth, TX to start the next adventure of the summer. This summer was my second internship with XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, and I worked as a Reservoir Engineering Intern with the Canada Division. The two assets that this team oversaw were the Duvernay and Montney plays of Alberta, Canada. These two unconventional assets are relatively new fields and in early stages of development. Because of this, I got to see first hand everything that goes into developing and producing a new area, from reservoir characterization to facilities and pipelines to drilling schedules. Throughout the internship I completed 3 different projects – a data acquisition project, a completions vs. EUR analysis, and wellbore diagrams. With the data acquisitions project I worked with programs such as WellView, Petra, AccuMaps, and Aries as well as looking through well files to compile an excel sheet with all relevant drilling and completions information for each of the ~90 XTO Energy wells in the two assets. Many of these wells were newly acquired through various company purchases and had not yet been input into the company databases, so my excel file acted as the Masterfile to update all of the relevant databases. This also provided a way for the engineers to quickly recall and compare wells’ completions styles, depths, frac success, drilling details, etc to provide an easier analysis of the wells. The second project was to then use this newly compiled information in a completions vs. EUR analysis. Here I compared the gas EUR’s of all of XTO Energy’s wells and that of offsetting wells from other producers to the completions styles used. I created type curve areas by analyzing decline trends and working with the reservoir engineers and geologists for the fields to most appropriately group areas. This allowed me to analyze the effect of completions and eliminate any impact that location would have on the production between two wells. I then reviewed trends and recommended next best steps for future development in the XTO Energy assets. By doing this, I was able to look at various practices and experimentation done by these offsetting producers and compare its effectiveness to the areas that XTO Energy owed. This analysis helped the engineers save time and money by streamlining their completions styles to what was already established as the most appropriate method for a given area.



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