Alumni spotlights: Todd Kremmin (’12) and Jeff Allen (’13)

Posted on December 11th, 2015 by

TODD KREMMIN went to work for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in Houston, Texas, immediately following graduation.  He became a Senior Geosteering Technologist, searching for oil in the famously productive sedimentary rocks of south and west Texas.  Todd’s job was to “steer” the drill bit into the right stratigraphic layer deep underground, and keep it there as it moved more than a mile laterally.  He used various types of data to understand the deeply buried rock units and figure out where, exactly, the drill bit was at any given time.  How deep was he steering the drill bit?  MILES deep in the rock!  How thick was the layer he needed to keep the drill bit in?  Feet!  How good was Todd at handling this high-pressure (so to speak) job?  Way good.  Although he was mostly monitoring his drill rigs from a computer screen, here’s a photo of him standing in front of one of the rigs he steered.

TKremmin at rigSome words from Todd:

“As a geosteering technologist, I provided 24/7 geological operational support for multiple active drill rigs in the unconventional Eagleford and Wolfcamp Shale plays of Southern and Western Texas.  I learned how to communicate subsurface geology effectively with an interdisciplinary team of drilling engineers, petrophysicists, Company Men, MWD Hands, and directional drillers.  I worked tirelessly interpreting and analyzing real time and vintage gamma ray data (one of many geophysical tools that aid in the physical understanding of rocks.  This tool helps indirectly constrain levels of organic material within th erock set to a comparative background value.)  Using the real time gamma data, along with the geophysical dataset from a nearby pilot well – we could interpret where we were within the subsurface.  This job opened up a world of information I knew very little about.  It was a steep learning curve to begin and I really appreciated the culture of people at Anadarko, everyone was very friendly and always willing to help.”

Now, Todd has returned to school and the frozen north.  In 2014, he began pursuing a Master’s degree in Geology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  He’s using much smaller rigs (MUCH smaller!) to retrieve sediment records of the development of Park Point in Duluth, with the aim of understanding its geomorphic evolution through time.

TKremmin park rig

He writes:

“Currently, Lake Superior is still experiencing isostatic rebound effects [from the last deglaciation].  How this baymouth bar has developed in response to varied lake levels remains unknown.  I have acquired GPR data and sediment cores to ‘see’ the geologic cross-section of the surfaces below without digging or altering the landscape.  GPR is a nondestructive tool to image the subsurface using electromagnetic energy.”


JEFF ALLEN went to work as a geologist and “rough-neck” for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources Geological Survey right after graduation.  He does a lot of fieldwork, recently on a project to map aquifers (rock layers holding a good supply of groundwater).  He wrote:

“My job includes the Geologist side of logging the sediment that comes out of the [drill] hole and laying out sample intervals.  The ‘rough-neck’ part of it means I help keep the rig running, doing things like switching out the drill stems, mixing up bentonite, measuring PVC pipe for the wells…  and other procedures, and mainly getting covered in water, mud and anything else that comes with working in a ditch.  I absolutely love it… thank you so much for helping me, I have found something I want to keep doing for a very long time.”

Jeff recently published a report for the SD Geological Survey, which you view here (.pdf).    Here he is, analyzing some of the ground-up rock that they’ve drilled through.



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