The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Oil and natural gas exploration -- geology and geophysics
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kaden
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The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by kaden » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:12 am

This question has been in my mind for a long time -- is there a future for exploration geophysicists solely working on the seismic reflection method? Or, how bright is the future for exploration geophysicists in 10 or 20 years? The career is fantastic for now, but the career path is so narrow, and sensitive to oil and gas prices. Or they can simply be dumped by oil and gas companies due to new technologies considering what happened to Geokinetics and Global Geophysical Services. The other important thing to consider is apparently alternative energies. BP is trying to grasp some of the alternative energy business and Chevron tried to kill electrical car development. From all these, we can see that alternative energy is real threat to oil & gas. It's probably too late for many of us here to change careers, but If your kids are going to college soon, do you want them to pursue seismic exploration career? I don't worry too much about the future for geophysicists working on other methods such as EM, resistivity and IP, etc., since they are employed vastly in the mining industry which is steadily growing. My another question is, if there is a massive layoff of exploration geophysicists, what options do we have for different careers? Are there good alternative careers we can pursue easily?

GuyM
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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:42 pm

When I was hired in '92 I was asking similar questions, and back in '99-'00 when the oil price was under US$17/barrel the same thing was on my mind; looking back at those two "pivot points" the industry high in '08 was both unthinkable and unknowable. It is a cyclic industry - roughly 8-9 years - and I suspect always will be.

What has happened to Geokineteics and Global Geophysical is not new either; Digicon (one of our industries digital innovators) and PGS both had periods in chapter 11 bankrupcy protection, for example. Many firms have not ridden the cycle of the industry well, getting caught out with large libraries of non-excluisve seismic they couldn't sell, under utilised vessels and so on - some make it and some don't. The same is true of oil companies - even the top tier of "super majors" looked very different 15 years ago.

In the mid-term, the world will still be hydrocarbon based; the critical thing about oil is that it is an energy-dense transportable fuel. Most "alternatives" to oil generally revolve around the creation of electricity, which is difficult to store and transmit - the losses from the generation point to the wall socket, and then into some form of battery are significant, charge cycle times are long, and off grid there is an issue. While it varies from country to country, the majority of oil use is not on domestic car use, but on long range transportation of goods, and to a lesser extent people. Primary industries that produce bulk goods - such as farming and mining - are highly dependent on oil use for this purpose - eletrical systems struggle with long-range "heavy lifting" outside of major population centres and rail networks.

One key thing to consider over the next 10-20 years is demographics. Some of the statistics in this piece : http://dpa.aapg.org/testimonies/2007/07 ... earing.pdf are startling; there are a lot of people in the oil exploration industry that will retire in the next 10 years or so; this presentation is also of interest : http://www.aapg.org/slide_resources/kal ... /index.cfm

These numbers would suggest a vaiable career path exists for the next two decades or so, simply because the industry has never really replaced the numbers that were laid off in the '70s and '80's adequetly.

Seismic reflection methods are already being suplemented by passive seismic monitoring (for microseismic, and even noise correlation) and these techniques are set to grow with the use of unconventional resources (and have applications in things like geothermal energy as well) - however an article I recenetly posted was suggesting there may be a need for an upswing in 3D seismic in unconventional exploration to monitor faults from a hazard perspective for hydraulic fracturing projects.

That said, as with all careers, I would suggest that ensuring your round out your "hard skills" development with good, transferable "soft skills" is always the best career plan. A narrow and highly focussed pure-technical skills set will always leave you vulnerable to shifts in any industry - as the financial investment advisors tell us, a balanced portfolio is always the least risk, and the same is true of the skills sets you chose to develop you time in investing in.

kaden
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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by kaden » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:12 pm

GuyM, you provided valuable insights. What I concerned most is the whole industry could be doomed instead of going through cycles. Newspaper publishing is one of the good examples due to new technology - in this case it's the new digital world including the internet. Although many major newspaper players survived well by adapting to the digital era, workers in the industry suffered the most. Similarly, In any events affecting oil and gas sales, petroleum giants would survive well by investing in other industries since they got a lot of cash. But those employees and services providers, including exploration geophysicists, would not have such luck.

Electrical cars is a real threat. Without the need from vehicles for gasoline and diesel, the oil price will plunge. More advanced batteries will be developed for electrical vehicles, it's just a matter of time. Chevron might be able to delay it once or twice, but not forever.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by geophix » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:37 pm

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/ ... 1820120201

The title of the article is "Oil industry sees no threat from electric car", although the story is still about "nobody knows for sure". In general, it's perceived that the oil industry will still have a very good time until and after year 2030. However, the most important, unknown and unpredictable factor is the developing technologeis, including those for batteries. The thing is, a single battery technology breakthrough can blow up the whole oil industry - a very scary thought.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:50 pm

I'm less concerned than you - total car use in the US accounts for only 22% of the oil used, and not all of this will be able to be replaced with electrically powered vehicles.
The majority of these journeys in the US are less than 10 miles.

While crystal ball gazing is difficult, I suspect that industrialisation of the agricultural and freight transportation networks in the emerging economies of China, India, Brazil, Pakistan and Indonesia alone will drive a far more significant increase in the demand for oil than any decline brought about by the use of electric vehicles for short-hop journeys in industrialised cities in the OECD. These five countries have about three times the population than the US and Europe combined, and a far faster rate of social and economic change overall.

Even then, while I agree that the technology of batteries and fuel cells is evolving, a lot of the battery life extensions we see in things like mobile phones and laptops come from smarter power management and lower power usage of the systems; there's some gains to be had here for cars, but a lot less as the direct desired output is (kinetic) energy. Its not just the technology, however. Scaling up the supply of the rare-earth metals needed for batteries is far from trivial, and is already being hard-pressed by mobile technology. Hydrogen fuel cells present a different issue - the transportation and storage of hydrogen on this kind of scale is a major challenge, and far more energy intensive than simply pumping oil down a pipe. Hydrogen is frankly pretty scary.

As the US becomes freed of overseas oil imports (through hydraullic fracturing), the explotation of conventional oil resources outside of the US (but by US firms) will continue. My understanding this is happening now, and companies are already transitioning aspects of their (conventional) exploration focus offshore from the US.

A key thing to remember here is that gasoline used to be a waste product; all of the current super-major oil companies have their 100+ year old roots in supplying lamp oil, in the wake of diminishing (whale!) supplies. Unlike CDs, vinyl records, newspapers and books, there is an instrinsic value of oil as a versitile resource that means that the entire demand is unlikely to vanish with the advent of new technology.

So - if all domestic car use in the US and Europe suddenly became electrically operated (as opposed to hybrid, which looks to be how things are developing):

- the impact on the impact on the downstream (retail) side would be huge; garages (or fillign stations) and their associated shops will vanish, by and large
- the impact on the upstream (exploration) side will be no more significant that other economic and geopolitcal factors we have seen over the last four decades

The real "buggy whip" issue for oil would be the development of cheap energy source (fusion? orbital solar arrays?) coupled with the ability to transmit this energy efficiently to (mobile) industrial scale uses; again, crystal ball gazing is risky, but I would put this at more than 20 years off.

This is all just my opinion, based on the research I have done into likely global energy demands across all segments and sectors. You are right to look as carefully into this as any (financial) investor would!

There are a lot of excellent an unbiased reports you can find on this topic on the web, and I'd encourage you to do your own research based on the entire use (and global demands) as opposed to worrying too much about the changes in single market segment - ultimately, its you call what to do.

kaden
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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by kaden » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:26 pm

Thanks for the comforting thoughts and arguments for future exploration geophysicists. :D

I don't know where you get the 22% number, the consumption of gasoline and diesel combined should be more than 50% of petroleum products according to the following links:
http://peakoildebunked.blogspot.com/200 ... oleum.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_product

But the idea of crude oil are used in many other ways beside vehicle fuels are good news to us. :D At least it will not be a total collapse simply because of electric vehicles.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:08 pm

kaden wrote:Thanks for the comforting thoughts and arguments for future exploration geophysicists. :D

I don't know where you get the 22% number, the consumption of gasoline and diesel combined should be more than 50% of petroleum products
Yup - that's all petrol, all diesel, and all forms of transport from motorbikes and RVs to semitrailer trucks and busses.

I dug a little deeper and lookd at the figures from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Centre for Transport Analysis, which breaks out the figures by vehicle type.
Source is here : http://cta.ornl.gov/data/chapter1.shtml

Here's the full breakdown of the figures for the US : http://cta.ornl.gov/data/tedb31/Spreads ... le1_17.xls

Light vehicles total of 45%, of which cars is 22.9%, and the remainder is classified as light trucks.

Electric light trucks? Maybe at some stage, but as they tend to appeal to what they call "petrolheads" over here, I suspect the car companies will focus for a long time on getting the car market right for the Europe and the US (where the adoption rates are likely to be higher) than the US.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by chrisvecan » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:34 am

There is an ongoing electric car company in Israel called "Better Place", it looks like it's failing but it's still too early to tell. The main technical problem is still the battery - it's expensive and there are not enough supporting network yet. There are other non-technical problems such as the government support and public trust. Electric cars are mostly likely prevail first in countries which are not greatly influenced by election campaigns where oil and gas companies can lay their hands on. As a gasoline-thirsty country, China has strong support from the government for electric cars. I suspect China will be one of the first countries where electric cars prevail.

No matter how the electric car business goes, it's going to be a lengthy period, 20 or 30 years, I would say, before we feel the real pain from the loss of oil and gas markets.

The other good competitor of oil and gas is biofuel which is already running very well in Brazil. But its success in Brazil might not be a good model for every country since it needs support from a large amount of agriculture production.

kaden
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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by kaden » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:04 pm

OK, I agree we probably should not worry too much in next 20 or 30 years. Every career has its risk, more or less. Due to increasing energy demand, alternative energies might be more supplemental than competitive to hydrocarbons in the next decades coming. But let's say if we hit the downside of a cycle, what options do we have for other careers? I know everyone's skill is different, and with good soft skills you might have better chances to survive, but do you know any options or stories of exploration geophysicsts doing something else? I would love to hear them... :D

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:41 pm

Actually a lot depends on those soft skills, general interests and seniority; lets see:

- IT, software development, systems consulting and so on
- auditing and quality assurance type work
- financial industry (energy company analysis)
- business management/contract management in the oil industry
- marketing
- one opened a kebab shop in the UK
- opened a pet/agricultural supplies store in a county village in Australia (but he came back to the industry as a consultant)
- management/project consultancy
- start up their own company
- writer

To be clear, I think there will be a down cycle; the industry has become more skilled at managing them, but the nature of exploration projects is to require different resources/skills over an 7-8 year cycle , and these tend to be synchornised by geopolitical activity (and because cyclic activities tend to synchronise anyway). 1984-5, 1992-3, 2000-1, 2008-9 - I'm thinking that the GFC will slow down the next cycle a little bit, but you never know.

yout
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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by yout » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:44 pm

I can contribute one, maybe just a half one ;) :
Still working on seismic exploration, but overseas - a second language could help a lot

Kirby
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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by Kirby » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:58 am

GuyM wrote:Actually a lot depends on those soft skills, general interests and seniority; lets see:

- IT, software development, systems consulting and so on
- auditing and quality assurance type work
- financial industry (energy company analysis)
- business management/contract management in the oil industry
- marketing
- one opened a kebab shop in the UK
- opened a pet/agricultural supplies store in a county village in Australia (but he came back to the industry as a consultant)
- management/project consultancy
- start up their own company
- writer

To be clear, I think there will be a down cycle; the industry has become more skilled at managing them, but the nature of exploration projects is to require different resources/skills over an 7-8 year cycle, I also investigated this 3 week diet post to find out if it works or not and these tend to be synchornised by geopolitical activity (and because cyclic activities tend to synchronise anyway). 1984-5, 1992-3, 2000-1, 2008-9 - I'm thinking that the GFC will slow down the next cycle a little bit, but you never know.
Geophix where did you get the year 2030 from? Is that the year oil reserves are estimated to run out?
Last edited by Kirby on Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

GuyM
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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:54 pm

Kirby wrote:Geophix where did you get the year 2030 from? Is that the year oil reserves are estimated to run out?
If you look at some of the estimates based around the production of oil from "tight" shales via hydraulic fracturing then supply will continue to out-strip demand (as it has done since about 2011) for considerable time. No-one had really looked for oil shales in any great detail outside of the US, which had a long term strategy to develop them to secure energy supply. One report I saw suggested that world-wide estimates of unconventional reserves increased by x4 in the last 18 months, as people started to look and asses more carefully.

The EIA figures from the US government for US oil production has shown solid growth since 2009-10, with about 2million bbl/day total production growth in the last 18 months. At this rate in around 18 months it will be over 10million bbl/day (the 1972 "peak"), and sometime round 2020 the US will have the capacity to be a net oil exporter again. Again - US demand has been static or falling for 3-4 years.

This is why despite a number of international events in the last 13 months (Russia/Ukraine, Iraq, Egypt, Lybia) the oil price has been stable, tdainging within a five dollar band around $102/barrel; we're not in the usual "supply and demand" bubble cycle that the world has been in since ~1974.

The upper limits for oil shale reserves in the US are huge - look at the Green River formation, for example; while there are technical issues to solve, of course, there is a strong push to do so.

Oil price comments: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=14531
US production figures : http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_crd_crp ... blpd_a.htm

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by geophix » Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:03 am

Kirby wrote:Geophix where did you get the year 2030 from? Is that the year oil reserves are estimated to run out?
No. It means the petroleum demand will not be significantly affected by electrical/hybrid cars AT LEAST by 2030. Here is the quote from the link I posted earlier:

In its Energy Outlook for 2030, released earlier this month, BP predicted that electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, will make up only 4 percent of the global fleet of 1.6 billion commercial and passenger vehicles in 2030.

"Oil will remain the dominant transport fuel and we expect 87 percent of transport fuel in 2030 will still be petroleum based," BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said as he unveiled the BP statistics on January 18.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by alexy » Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:42 am

In seismic exploration has no future. All existing exploration methods have very low accuracy of prospecting is not higher than 30% and as the end result is dry hole.
The future for the nuclear-magnetic survey methods
Applications of nuclear magnetic resonance for oil gas prospecting and exploration gives unique results. Company Halliburton and Schlumberger used NMR in logging surveys in the wells (only to a distance of 25 cm).
We use NMR properties from ground surface (without drilling) and see the hydrocarbons directly to a depth of 5 km and possibly deeper. This is our big advantage over the Schlumberger and Halliburton.
The accuracy of the surveys HC reservoirs exceeded 90% without interpretation and absence of dry wells.

NMR_technology,presentation, surveys http://www.mediafire.com/?b450hdhzn5bk08t
NMR tech General Idea http://www.mediafire.com/?r5sr8w3l8chrcr1

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by geophix » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:29 am

alexy wrote:seismic exploration has no future
You are kidding. In petroleum exploration, the seismic reflection method still provides highest resolution other methods can not match.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by alexy » Thu Dec 25, 2014 7:16 am

Geophix you are right in only one that seismic is the most used method prospecting. It is an indirect method with low accuracy of anomaly detection.
NMR method is a direct method of detecting hydrocarbon deposits to a depth of 5 km without interpretation.

Comparative Characteristics 3DvsNMR http://www.mediafire.com/?op0zdk07sekmltm

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Thu Dec 25, 2014 6:32 pm

alexy wrote:Geophix you are right in only one that seismic is the most used method prospecting. It is an indirect method with low accuracy of anomaly detection.
NMR method is a direct method of detecting hydrocarbon deposits to a depth of 5 km without interpretation.

Comparative Characteristics 3DvsNMR http://www.mediafire.com/?op0zdk07sekmltm
Seismic is very weak when it comes to hydrocarbon prediction - its mainly used to determine structure, lithology and identified geological facies associated with (conventional) structural/stratigraphic trap, as well as physical rock properties. Its only possible to infer where these variations are a result of varying pore fluids, and this requires accurate measurements and very careful work in order to ensure that the results are not influenced (or indeed created) by the processing of the data.

I think it will be interesting to see how this emerges over the next few years in terms of long-term success rates; this will only really happen (as we've seem with EM methods, for example) when of the large-scale major oil companies really sinks its R+D "teeth" into the method and applies it on a very broad scale - Statoil and Petronas, for example, have both tried a lot of different approaches (and indeed contrasted them) over the years. The industry is generally very conservative, especially when (as now) its in a revenue crisis.

It would be more than fair to say that all of the innovation in seismic methods over the last 5-6 years has not really demonstrated an improved success rate in oil exploration, and adding new techniques that provide an alternative assessment of the presence/absence of hydrocarbons is always interesting. Ultimately you have to generate enough accurate results to demonstrates it is truly predictive (in terms of accurate volumes, depths and so on, within the appropriately predicted error margins) as opposed to co-incidental agreements.

This has been a big issue with various seismic techniques (like AVO) - Wayne Pennington has written a fair amount on this subject. Its not sufficient to show "success" or "failure" - the predicted volumetrics/economics of the field, and the nature/type of the hydrocarbon resource located (gas, heavy oil, light oil, condensate etc) has to also match within the experimental error bars defined by the technique, and be proven by sustained production over time.

Initially I'd see this as complementing seismic methods, not replacing them; seismic is also widely used to define and resolve the reservoir engineering issues on the production side of things - determining rock properties and so on - which have a huge impact on production rates and hence economics. There's also an emerging role for seismics in passive based imaging to monitor fracture networks created by hydraulic fracturing, which again is critical to the overall economics.

It's worth noting that seismic acquisition rates are falling at the moment simply because locating the resource in unconventional plays is simply not a big issue in terms of the risk/expense.

The main "elephant hunt" for major conventional oilfields is taking place in the under-explored deep-water frontier basins in water depths of 1500m+. It will be interesting to see if any of the larger companies - which are the ones that can afford to be in the deep water game - trial this technology as a basin screening method.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by alexy » Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:49 am

Nuclear-magnetic resonance survey method of HC reservoirs, thermal, -drinking water reserves and minerals is a separate geophysical direct method in any structures and lithology. All other methods are indirect.
Our NMR technology transmits special signals are inherent only the desired substance (e.g. oil, gas) and on the resonance frequency (Larmor frequency) is re-radiated signal that we fix on the surface.
The interpretation is not necessary for us; it is a direct survey method.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:07 pm

alexy wrote:Nuclear-magnetic resonance survey method of HC reservoirs, thermal, -drinking water reserves and minerals is a separate geophysical direct method in any structures and lithology. All other methods are indirect.
Our NMR technology transmits special signals are inherent only the desired substance (e.g. oil, gas) and on the resonance frequency (Larmor frequency) is re-radiated signal that we fix on the surface. The interpretation is not necessary for us; it is a direct survey method.
My nuclear physics is too rusty to dig into the technical details (I've not really looked at NMR for more than a couple of decades, and I'd need to work back through some text books to get into the frame again...)

What I would say is that simply detecting the presence (and depth/volumetrics) of an oilfield at the surface represents only part of the exploration and production problem. It can be very important in many areas - especially when looking in new basins - however there is more data needed to be able to produce oil in most conventional plays.

Typically the key things to know are the physical properties of the rocks that form the "seal" and "reservoir" - essentially their porosity, permeability, secondary permeability, the sub-surface stress field and so on - which will govern how fluids will flow through them (or not) and the overall pressure regime. These kind of data are usually also derived from a combination of the wells/borehole data and the seismic survey.

I've seen examples where the pressure connectivity between oil "pockets" through the formation water had a critical impact on the production economics in terms of maximising production yield, which required some wider structural information. When it comes to siting production or pressure-drive wells, it is also important to know (for example) the positions to sub-surface faults and so on, to help minimise the issues there.

Most 3D seismic programmes are designed to cover both exploration and production needs; in the frontier case this is usually when a 2D survey has identified a promising target. The costs are relatively small when compared to a single production drilling campaign.

I'd also be careful not to underestimate how slowly the "mainstream" oil exploration industry takes on new and disruptive technologies.

Most people look carefully at what the pragmatic large-scale oil companies do - they have survived a long time - in some cases over a century - through taking a cautious approach to innovation measured over the 10-20 year operational lifecycle of major oilfields. Essentially they let the smaller, innovative companies take the risk, and form the highly influential "early majority" when it comes to picking up on the technology in question. The exception to this is where they have driven the R+D internally, which does happen.

The government regulators can also be a key element. In many countries, they award exploration licences in a specific block based on the based on the technologies (and investment) that the bidders will use. While they can be open to novel technologies, they usually prefer any new survey method to be conducted alongside a mature technology. They are also heavily influenced by the technology the super-majors use.

There are a number of companies offering various non-seismic detection methods based on resonance of some type at present.

It will be very interesting to see what the uptake is amongst the super-majors over the next 5-10 years, and which company proves to have the best sales and marketing strategy. In practice, the sales and marketing strategy is often more important that how good the technology actually is - there are many cases where the "superior" technology lost out commercially to an inferior one with better marketing.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by kaden » Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:16 pm

NMR looks like a very promising technique. I would say at least it will provide unique information which other methods including seismic reflection don't provide. It's interesting to see how well it will play out in oil and gas industry and how it's going to affect seismic exploration.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by alexy » Sat Dec 27, 2014 11:30 am

NMR technology does not have any problems that have seismic:

https://www.slb.com/~/media/Files/resou ... ensing.pdf

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by geophix » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:59 pm

A method can be perfect in theory but it could still be a long run before it becomes practical. I know NMR has been used for groundwater exploration successfully but it's still not popular yet. There got to be a reason, maybe it's marketing, but maybe it's technical such as the resolution requirement or noise reduction. I would like to see some successful real stories for oil and gas exploration, too.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:29 pm

alexy wrote:NMR technology does not have any problems that have seismic:

https://www.slb.com/~/media/Files/resou ... ensing.pdf
I think we all understand the advantages of remote sensing as compared to deploying field crews.
We also know that in both borehole sensing and medical imaging, a variety of tools are deployed to gain different insights - NMR being just one such tool.

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Re: The future of seismic exploration geophysicists

Post by GuyM » Sat Dec 27, 2014 7:40 pm

geophix wrote:A method can be perfect in theory but it could still be a long run before it becomes practical. I know NMR has been used for groundwater exploration successfully but it's still not popular yet. There got to be a reason, maybe it's marketing, but maybe it's technical such as the resolution requirement or noise reduction. I would like to see some successful real stories for oil and gas exploration, too.
If people aren't buying what you have to sell, then it's almost always "marketing" - some aspect of the Product, Price, Place, Promotion and Packaging (the "Five Ps") isn't correct. (Place in this case is distribution into the purchasing network, and "Packaging" has to do with how the information is presented)

This is often the case in innovation. James Dyson was pushed back for many years by the vacuum cleaner industry with his "bagless vacuum" concept, which he tried to licence to them. It was only when he set up his own company making bagless vacuums that the product (and company) became successful gaining about a 30% share in some markets.

One key aspect in the Dyson case was that the vacuum cleaner industry made a lot of money from selling vacuum cleaner bags.

Pitching a technique that effectively makes all seismic surveying redundant to exploration geophysicists and exploration managers who have made their career on the basis of their in-depth knowledge of seismic exploration methods is always going to a tough sell.

This is especially hard at a time when most oil companies are mainly focussed on production and reducing production costs; cutting the time, risk and cost associated with finding new oil at a time when the world has an over-supply and the price has crashed by >45% over three months is another tough sell.

The "Dyson" model may be the one approach here - setting up an exploration company based on the new techniques, finding new massive oil fields and then selling those fields into the big oil companies has a number of advantages, and gives you more control in the "boom/bust" cycle of oil exploration.

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