Perspectives: Moji Karimi, Weatherford: Millennials to lead charge on increasing speed of industry evolution
By Chris Cantu, Editorial Assistant
Growing up in Iran in the 1990s and early 2000s, Moji Karimi remembers being fascinated by the oil and gas industry. It was no surprise, then, that he decided to move to the oil and gas hub of Lafayette, La., in 2008 after earning a bachelor’s degree in drilling engineering from Iran’s Petroleum University of Technology. It was there, while working on a master’s degree in petroleum engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, that he stumbled upon casing while drilling, a discipline through which he’d kick off his career. “I was trying to find something that’s exciting, and that seemed to be the next big thing for the drilling industry,” Mr Karimi said.
He soon got in touch with Tesco, which had a large casing while drilling division at the time, and began working with the company to model the effects of casing contact on the wellbore. He also performed experiments to verify the model. Mr Karimi ended up writing his thesis on the effects of cuttings particle size distribution, eventually joining Tesco as a Casing Drilling Research Engineer after graduation.
In 2012, he moved to Weatherford into his current position as North America Drilling with Casing/Liner Product Line Champion. It’s a role, according to Mr Karimi, that falls between application engineering and product line manager. He has responsibilities across the supply chain and collaborates with marketing, R&D and the sales team.
Casing while drilling isn’t a novel concept, he said, but – not unlike with technologies such as managed pressure drilling – it has taken years for the industry to learn to accept it. One challenge, he said, is quantifying the technology’s benefits. “People used to look at casing while drilling as an impractical approach,” he said. “Acceptance has grown, but I think there are still many potential applications that the industry is missing out on, simply because people are not aware of the capabilities of the technology.”
At Weatherford, Mr Karimi is now working on a large-scale project to maximize advantages from the plastering effect that’s often seen with casing while drilling. “As wells get more and more depleted, they get more complicated to drill, and the depletion value gets larger and larger,” Mr Karimi stated. “There are a lot more issues with tripping pipe and flat time in HPHT and depleted wells; therefore, technologies that address the narrow window – like casing while drilling – show more and more value.”
When IADC began revising the IADC Drilling Manual for the first time in more than 20 years, Mr Karimi volunteered to co-author a new chapter on casing while drilling with Eric Moellendick of Schlumberger. “This is the first time that the Drilling Manual references casing while drilling,” Mr Karimi said. “It’s a good first step to help all drilling professionals become more aware of this method as a potential to be mainstream in the surface sections of their well plans.”
Mr Karimi is also contributing to a more extensive casing while drilling handbook, due out in 2016.
As a young professional in the industry, one challenge Mr Karimi sees is the age gap between the younger employees and the older generation. As millennials enter the industry, he said, they’re playing catch-up with upper management and working to understand their concerns and work styles. At the same time, young professionals are trying to create a seamless collaboration with them as colleagues while gaining knowledge from them. With ever-changing technology, it’s up to his generation, Mr Karimi said, to integrate the knowledge gained from upper-level management and “bring the same speed of evolution that’s happening in other industries to the oil and gas industry.”
He does recognize and appreciate the numerous initiatives this industry has implemented to allow millennials to demonstrate their capabilities. “I’m one of the lucky ones,” he said. “What I went to school for actually did turn out to be what I liked and how I thought it would be.”
The Casing While Drilling chapter of the revised IADC Drilling Manual is available online. Click here to access the IADC eBookstore.