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Battelle Applied Genomics Today

Battelle Environment Matters

Featured Expert: Mark Moody: Senior Field Geologist

Mark Moody Mark Moody

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).