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Oil & Gas Staff

Mark Kelley

Mark Kelley, Research Leader

Research Leader Mark Kelley is bringing the secrets of subsurface geology to light. A hydrogeologist on the Battelle Oil & Gas team, he provides technical expertise for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects. 

Over the last decade, Mark’s work has put him at the forefront of both EOR and CCS. He has played an integral role in several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded demonstration projects for CCS, including the AEP Mountaineer demonstration project and the Battelle-led Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP). 

As a hydrogeologist, Mark uses a variety of technologies to characterize subsurface formations and model how fluids move through them. For CCS, he applies his expertise to identify promising sites for carbon dioxide (CO2) storage, quantify their storage potential and monitor the injection process. His subsurface characterization work is also used to build models to inform EOR activities. He helps Battelle’s clients answer critical questions such as: 

  • Will this subsurface formation provide a stable location for carbon storage?

  • How much CO2 could be stored in this formation? 

  • How much oil remains in this reservoir for secondary recovery?

  • Are oil & gas production or CCS activities causing increased seismic activity? 

Mark started his career in Battelle’s geotechnical group, where he worked on hydrogeology issues for a high-level nuclear waste disposal siting project. He then spent five years working with a groundwater consulting firm in Florida and Tennessee, focusing on projects related to groundwater resource development and contaminated groundwater remediation. He also worked with the Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport Tennessee. In 1993, he joined Battelle’s Environmental Remediation group, where he managed a variety of environmental remediation projects for government clients in the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DOE). 

In 2008, Mark joined Battelle’s Energy group, where his primary focus was planning and executing field demonstration projects related to geologic storage of carbon dioxide emissions.  More recently, the focus of the work by Battelle’s Energy group has expanded to include EOR, in particular studying how to store CO2 in conjunction with EOR. This new focus is an example of CCUS, or carbon capture, utilization and storage. Rather than simply finding locations to store captured CO2 underground, researchers are looking for ways to turn this potential pollutant into a useful commodity. For oil recovery, captured CO2 can be used instead of other types of fluids to repressurize depleted oil fields for secondary production. The hope is that this work will help to make CO2-based EOR more accessible for small and mid-sized oil & gas producers who may not have considered it as an option before.

Currently, Mark is working on the MRCSP project to evaluate the use of fiber-optic technologies for seismic imaging and other subsurface monitoring of CO2. He is also studying micro-seismicity in relation to CCS to better understand how CO2 injection may induce seismic activity. He explains, “Not all seismic activity is problematic. Monitoring technologies are available that can detect very small energy events equivalent to a pin drop. Our interest is understanding the nature of these ‘micro’ seismic events and how to avoid larger, more significant events.”

Mark holds a B.S.in Agriculture (Agronomy/Soil Science) and an M.S. in Geology (Hydrogeology) from The Ohio State University. He has also completed coursework in Reservoir Geomechanics from Stanford University. 

Samin Raziperchikolaee

Samin Raziperchikolaee, Research Scientist

Samin Raziperchikolaee is bringing the mysteries of the subsurface to light. A Research Scientist on the Battelle Oil & Gas team, Samin applies geomechanical modeling to evaluate the risks of fluid injection and deep geologic sequestration. His work is helping Battelle’s oil & gas clients make better decisions for hydraulic fracturing, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and subsurface resource management.

Since joining Battelle in 2014, Samin has worked on projects related to carbon (CO2) sequestration, brine disposal and shale gas production. Using data from researchers in the field, he builds computer models of the subsurface and runs simulations of various fluid injection scenarios. These geomechanical models can be used to evaluate specific risks such as wellbore enlargement or collapse, induced seismicity, surface uplift or caprock fracturing. He also builds models to predict hydrofracturing geometry for optimization of hydraulic fracturing parameters. 

Samin is currently working on a joint industry project in the Utica Shale region (Cyclic Gas Injection for Stimulating Oil Recovery in the Liquid-Rich Regions of the Utica-Point Pleasant Shale). For this project, he is building models that couple geomechanical and fluid flow modeling in order to help clients optimize shale gas production. He is also involved in projects related to CO2 sequestration. One such project, funded by the Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO), focuses on identifying suitable injection zones for long-term CO2 storage in the Appalachian Basin.

Prior to joining Battelle, Samin earned his Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering with a focus on Petroleum Geomechanics from the University of Wyoming, where he also served as a graduate assistant. For his thesis, he built new geomechanical models to predict fracture potential and surface uplift during fluid injection. During his Masters program, he built models of wellbore stability. As part of this work, he developed a standalone software program for selecting the optimum drilling bit and mud window to avoid wellbore instability. He has contributed to numerous peer-reviewed publications, including a publication on geomechanical effects of CO2 sequestration inApplied Energy: “ Effect of hydraulic fracturing on long term storage of CO2 in stimulated saline aquifer.”

In the future, Samin plans to continue to expand and refine Battelle’s geomechanical modeling capabilities. He sees opportunity in continued work on induced seismicity as well as in new areas such as modeling the risks of offshore methane hydrate production. One example of his work on induced seismicity was recently published in The Leading Edge: “Modeling pressure response into a fractured zone of Precambrian basement to understand deep induced-earthquake hypocenters from shallow injection.

In addition to his PhD., Samin holds an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology-Tehran Polytechnic. 

Jon Thorn

Jon Thorn, Laboratory Director

Laboratory Director Jon Thorn brings a passion for petroleum chemistry to his work at Battelle. As the Laboratory Director and Manager of  Battelle's Analytical Chemistry Services group, he oversees laboratory operations to ensure that our oil & gas clients get the highest quality data using the most up-to-date analytical techniques. Under his leadership, the Battelle ACS group is working to advance the science of petroleum forensics, trace level organic contaminants, and other specialty analytical services of interest to the oil & gas community.

Jon got hooked on petroleum chemistry when he started career with Battelle as an undergraduate laboratory assistant in 1995. “There are a lot of really interesting things you can analyze for in oils—not every oil is the same,” he notes. Since then, he has devoted his career to the science of environmental chemistry and analysis, with a special interest in hydrocarbon forensics. His experience in his 18 years with Battelle has included extraction and analysis of environmental samples for pesticides, PCBs, saturated hydrocarbons, PAHs, and petroleum biomarkers.

Currently, he is most excited about recent work the team has done that combines metagenomics with petroleum chemistry. These studies combine the biology (what microorganisms are active at given point in time) with the chemistry (what hydrocarbons are available at a given time) to better understand what types of microorganisms “eat” different kinds of hydrocarbons. “The really cool thing here is that every location is going to be different,” he points out. “Colder climates are going to have different types of bacteria than more tropical climates, which will lead to varied times for biodegradation and all sorts of different degradation pathways.” Over time, these studies will help scientists better understand how microorganisms break down oil under different conditions, and how biological communities return to normal background states after an oil spill. 

The ACS group recently moved into brand new, state-of-the-art laboratories in Norwell, Massachusetts, and Jon is excited to expand the range of advanced analytical methods available to Battelle’s oil & gas clients with options such as GCxGC-TOF/MS. “There is a potential here for being able to tease out minor differences in oils from the same field or geological location, say between a natural oil seep and a spill, that traditional methods might not be able to detect,” he says. “There is also a lot more that can be done here to determine potential toxicity. Not everything found in a total petroleum number may be toxic. Better understanding these kinds of nuances would greatly benefit our clients.” 

Srikanta Mishra

Srikanta Mishra, Senior Research Leader

Senior Research Leader Dr. Srikanta Mishra is one of today’s foremost experts on geosystems modeling, uncertainty quantification and integrated system risk assessment. But at heart, he’s a teacher. Whether simply talking to clients or giving a TEDx talk (What the Frack?), Srikanta brings both passion and clear thinking to the complex issues surrounding oil & gas development.

Srikanta leads reservoir modeling and data analytics activities for the Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Services resource group within Battelle’s Energy & Environment business unit. He joined Battelle in 2010 after a distinguished career in environmental consulting and applied research spanning the fields of petroleum reservoir engineering, carbon dioxide sequestration, nuclear waste disposal and water resource management. In 2013, Srikanta was promoted to Senior Research Leader, the highest technical level for scientists and engineers at Battelle. It is an honor reserved for a small group of outstanding solvers at Battelle; only 11 out of approximately 2,000 technical employees currently hold this distinction.

Srikanta’s early work with Battelle focused mainly on geologic carbon sequestration problems. Since then, he has expanded his subsurface modeling and statistical analysis work to other areas including Improved/Enhanced Oil Recovery (IOR/EOR) and hydraulic fracturing. He’s especially interested in finding practical, affordable solutions for smaller oil & gas producers. He says, “Shortly after coming to Battelle, I realized that there were many small oil and gas producers in Ohio and other parts of the country who needed help improving their oil recovery, but did not have much data to support any traditional analyses or modeling studies. Given my background in petroleum engineering and statistics, this was an exciting challenge for me, and that is what we have been working on for the past few years.”

Srikanta’s team is currently setting up a joint industry project to investigate efficient strategies for improving recovery from the oil-rich Utica shale play in Ohio. Several operators have drilled wells in this region, but have not been able to produce oil at economic rates. If successful, the project could provide a significant boost to oil production in the area. He is also working to bring some of the advanced statistical data mining techniques used for national security and health analytics problems at Battelle to the oil and gas domain. “These broader statistical techniques, along with the advanced statistical training that we are beginning to provide for geoscientists, can bring real benefits to the industry,” he says.

Srikanta plans to continue his research to enable greater use of data-driven analytics to support decisions in oil & gas exploration and production operations. He is also very interested in the energy-environment nexus. In the future, he hopes to bring greater understanding to the environmental impacts of oil and gas development so that the industry can put effective risk mitigation and management strategies in place. 

Prior to coming to Battelle, Srikanta worked for INTERA, a geosciences and engineering consulting firm in Texas, and served as Adjunct Professor of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Srikanta holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University, a master’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin, and a BTech degree from Indian School of Mines, all in Petroleum Engineering. He is the author of more than 180 technical publications, a regular instructor of short courses on uncertainty analysis and hydro-fracturing related environmental impacts, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Petroleum Science & Engineering. 

In his spare time, Srikanta enjoys traveling with his family to foreign lands, experimenting in the kitchen with Indian and Italian cuisines, and conversing in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit.

Neeraj Gupta

Neeraj Gupta, Senior Research Leader

Battelle Senior Research Leader and Institute Fellow Neeraj Gupta likes to go with the flow—the subsurface flow, that is. Over the last two decades, he has built his career around subsurface geology, hydrogeology and hydrodynamics. He is now one of the world’s leading authorities on deep geological carbon capture and storage (CCS).

He developed his fascination with fluids flowing beneath the earth as a graduate student at George Washington University and PhD candidate at The Ohio State University. “Geology is like detective work,” he says. “You get to use a lot of deductive reasoning and put together clues to get to the bottom of geological puzzles.” His graduate research focused on simulating and modeling the flow of saline waters in deep formations across the Midwestern US. As interest in carbon management grew in the 90s, he was approached by the U.S. Department of Energy to apply these same modeling techniques to the nascent carbon capture and storage industry.

The work Dr. Gupta and his team are doing has important implications for the oil & gas industry and for the environment. Using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery can be an option to reduce CO2 emissions, especially when compared to primary oil production without CO2. Because of the link between carbon emissions and climate change, the EPA has made carbon management a priority for the energy sector. “Carbon capture and storage has to be part of the carbon management portfolio for electric power generation,” Dr. Gupta explains. “When CO2 injection occurs in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, additional oil production provides another significant benefit. This is something we can do now. The cost of mitigating climate change without CCS would be much higher. If we can show that CCS is a viable option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global basis, we will accomplish a tremendous win for both coal and oil & gas industries.”

Dr. Gupta joined Battelle as a Research Scientist in 1993 and has risen to be a Senior Research Leader and Institute Fellow, a nominated position equivalent to a Battelle Fellow, held by only 10 Battelle staff. His work on environmental technology services includes fate and transport of contaminants, evaluation of remediation technologies and risk assessment projects for the Air Force, Navy, EPA, DOE and private and international clients. Past projects include evaluation of subsurface permeable reactive barriers and assessment of remediation technologies at Cape Canaveral. He now provides technical and program development leadership for Battelle’s carbon management and subsurface exploration work. He is a leading authority on integrated projects for CO2 storage and utilization including characterization and exploration of deep geologic reservoirs and caprocks, monitoring and regulatory issues.

Dr. Gupta has played a leadership role in the formation and successful execution of several public-private joint projects, including CO2 storage at the AEP Mountaineer Plant and the Midwestern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP). The MRCSP (www.mrcsp.org) is one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships formed by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Led by Battelle, this multi-year research program was established to identify, test and further develop the best approaches to CO2 utilization and storage in a nine-state region in the Midwest and Northeast U.S. Dr. Gupta and his team are currently conducting a 1 million ton scale test of CO2 injection, monitoring and modeling in depleted oil fields in northern Michigan.

In addition to his work on integrated field projects, Dr. Gupta has continued to advance the science of CO2 storage and utilization with a focus on long-term viability and commercialization. He is currently working on similar projects in China and Mexico funded by the World Bank. He is also leading Battelle’s efforts on the Mid-Atlantic U.S. Offshore Carbon Storage Resource Assessment Project. The project will assess the potential for carbon sequestration in deep geologic formations in the offshore regions on the U.S. East Coast.

Dr. Gupta holds a BS and MS in Geology from Panjab University, an MS in Geochemistry from George Washington University, and a PhD in Geological Science from The Ohio State University. He also received a Management Certification from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State and completed the Battelle Strategic Leadership program. He has co-authored more than 150 reports, papers and presentations and is an active participant in several CCS related conferences. 

Mark Moody

Mark Moody, Senior Field Geologist

When it comes to oil & gas, Mark Moody knows the drill. He’s been working in the industry in various capacities for nearly 40 years. His long career on the operations side of the business now informs his work as a Senior Field Geologist at Battelle.  

Over the course of his work in private industry, Mark gained extensive experience in well drilling, completion, oil production and wellbore integrity. Since joining Battelle in 2010, he has focused on helping oil & gas companies solve problems related to enhanced oil recovery and geologic storage of carbon or brine. “Before you inject liquids or gasses underground for storage or oil recovery, it’s critical to understand the risks,” he explains. “Our work is helping companies characterize risks related to wellbore integrity and determine where liquids and gasses can or cannot be safely injected.”

Geologic formations in oil & gas fields have demonstrated enormous potential for storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from power generation and disposal of brine waters used for hydraulic fracturing or produced with oil and gas.  CO2 injection is also commonly used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).  However, existing wellbores can act as migration pathways s that provide an escape route for geologically stored CO2, .  At the same time, wells that have been in contact with CO2 may be more likely to degrade over time. When CO2 mixes with water, it forms carbonic acid, which can damage wellbore casings, cement and down-hole tubing. Mark’s work is helping the industry answer critical questions about the factors that impact wellbore integrity, how integrity declines over time under different conditions, and what can be done to increase the safety and success rate of EOR and geologic storage applications.

Mark managed a three-year Department of Energy (DOE) project entitled Systematic Assessment of Wellbore Integrity for Geologic Storage Projects Using Regulatory and Industry information. This project involved gathering records from regulatory agencies and from industry to build a database of wells’ age, depth, casing program, cement program, completion methods, current status, and plugging methods and materials. Researchers are also monitoring pressure buildup at the wellhead of wells that exhibited sustained casing pressure. He is also the Principal Investigator for a three year follow-on project for the DOE. The data will ultimately be used to determine wellbore integrity for potential CO2 storage projects located in oil and gas fields containing existing wellbores. 

Mark was a key member of the AEP Mountaineer project team, which conducted the world’s first carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration at a coal-fired power plant. Mark designed the casing and cementing program, supervised the drilling of a geologic characterization well, and supervised work over operations of two CO2injection wells and three deep monitoring wells. He also designed and supervised the plugging and abandonment of the wells at the completion of the project. Mark was also integral to the FutureGen project, a DOE demonstration CCS project.

Prior to joining Battelle, Mark worked for numerous independent oil and gas operators and as an independent consultant. He has supervised the drilling and completion of hundreds of wells in the Appalachian and Michigan Basins including Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. He served for several years on the Ohio Oil & Gas Association’s Technical Committee working on casing and plugging cement standards and practices for oil and gas wells. He has also designed, permitted, drilled and constructed dozens of brine disposal wells in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mark served ten years as Manager of Drilling and Completions for Range Resources, Appalachia. During his time with Range Resources, he drilled dozens of directional Clinton sandstone wells and supervised the drilling and completion of two conventional horizontal wells in Ohio.  

Mark earned his B.S. in Geology and Mineralogy from The Ohio State University. He is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). 

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