The corporate summer interns were recently given a unique opportunity to experience firsthand some of the things they’ve been learning about all summer on a two-day field trip to the Permian Basin Unit’s operations. Accompanied by the Coterra team, we embarked on an immersive adventure that allowed us to witness the intricacies of drilling, completions, and production processes. 

Day 1: Exploring the Drilling, Completions, and Upstream Operations

Our journey began early in the morning as we departed Midland and headed to Cactus Rig 163 at Sievers in Reeves County. The Coterra team ensured our safety by providing comprehensive safety training before we arrived at the rig. Once on-site, everyone split into smaller groups and began different sections of a rig tour to ensure safety and eyes on all. Special thanks to the drilling and completions team for the small-group tours led by Trent Russ, Chris Jamerson, Weston Sleeper, Charlie Pritchard, and Grant Muncrief which allowed for the most informative method for questions.

Once each group rotated through the drilling rig components, we met back in the safety trailer for hydration and a presentation by Schlumberger on D&C tools, including an MWD (Measurement While Drilling) and RSS PowerDrive. Cen and Kelly with Schlumberger provided an excellent overview and allowed for ample discussion with the interns. They were able to elaborate on the significance of these tools and their impact on drilling operations.

Immediately after lunch together, catered by Exquisite Catering, the group was introduced to Carter James with NOV, who provided a presentation on Reed drill bits, including the types and functions, the pricing, longevity, and the design process for bits through their research and development department. Our interns did an excellent job inquiring about the usage and shelf-life of these tools. NOV also provided everyone on the tour with a diamond cutter engraved with our Coterra logo as a souvenir. 

These sessions by our contract partners expanded our knowledge of the equipment and techniques used in drilling operations. Witnessing the drilling rig in action and understanding the careful precision required reiterated what the group heard throughout the morning- the importance of teamwork and safety practiced at every level and by every single person onsite. 

The group loaded back into our vehicles and headed north towards a coil tubing drill-out site, Silverton State. The drill-out site at Silverton State followed suit in splitting into smaller groups led by Larry and Leo from Coterra. This part of the tour was quick due to the nature of coil-tubing, but it was unique to highlight a dual drill-out in the process. The next stop on our journey along HWY 285 towards Carlsbad was at Stone Street Vaqueros E-Fleet 4-zipper frac in Culberson County to showcase the hydraulic fracturing operation or “frac site.” The frac site tour at Silverton, led by Trent Norman and Brandon Wallace from Coterra, was again educational and informative. Interns dove into the highlights of the tour, such as the tally marker, toe and heel prep, and wireline logging.

Departing from the frac site, the group continued into New Mexico towards Carlsbad for showers and a wonderful dinner together at the Trinity Hotel. Dinner conversations with the interns included their summer projects and preparation for their presentations in Houston! Some of the projects include well-route efficiency, obtaining leases and agreements from mineral and surface owners, and learning SCADA. 

Day 2: Immersion in Production Operations

The second day of the field trip began with an early-morning departure from Carlsbad (Eddy County) over to the Red Hills facility in Lea County focused on production and facilities. The production facilities tour at Red Hills, led by Jorge Rivera, Shane Elliott, Brendan McCalpin, and John Tinker, was informative and well-guided. One of the greatest “aha” moments included that Red Hills is our first completely electric tankless facility which generated several questions from the interns about delivery, market valuation, and monitoring production facilities (maintenance and revitalization using technology.)

The group made their way over to Cactus Rig 148 at Cascades, where the team from NexTier treated us to lunch as the group debriefed and asked final, burning questions from the two-day trip to the field. Day two activities highlighted the essential role of production in the oil industry. The expertise and dedication were evident from the Coterra team as they shared their knowledge, making the experience truly enlightening.