Working in the petroleum and natural gas industry provides limitless opportunities to expand horizons – both through professional growth and valuable experiences. On a recent expedition in the Delaware Basin near the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns, a group of eight engineers and four geologists gathered together to experience something new.

With more than 40 years of experience in the industry, the tour was led by Mark Sonnenfeld, chief geologist. Sonnenfeld has been with Coterra for four years and has a passion for geology in the region. 

The team went on a day-and-a-half field trip through the landscape to explore the unique terrain and geology in the region. Trip attendees learned about different geological zones and how each can be useful to the overall operations of the industry in order to continue safely and effectively producing our nation’s energy. 

One of the important ways that they can help plan for the future is to fully understand where each type of well casing is set and the geological formation in which it resides. The group saw evaporites in the Delaware Basin, which serve as a top-seal to the entire petroleum system, as well as the Lamar Limestone, which is the zone where intermediate casing is typically set in this region. 

The group hiked the Permian Reef Geology Trail, a route that provides an up close and personal viewpoint of the geology in the region. This 90-minute hike in the McKittrick Canyon also provided scenic vistas of West Texas in the background. After the group hiked back, they took advantage of the “road cuts” in the region, areas where the geology is visible due to infrastructure and transportation development. These cuts provide a great view of various geologic layers that aren’t typically visible. 

These types of field trips have been a long-standing effort to educate employees from across the company, and due to the unique mix of attendees each time, the trips have become custom-catered to provide the most value to attendees. Throughout the years, these tours have provided not only an educational opportunity but have also strengthened relationships among co-workers that ultimately help forge long-term partnerships across business units.