A big challenge for geophysicists and seismic interpreters is to do good work today and to make results available to tomorrow’s workers. With rapidly-advancing subsurface data acquisition, analysis, storage, and access tools at our disposal, how do we maximize their use for accurate and efficient project execution and retain information during and after project completion? This requires a two-fold approach: geoscience-focused technological innovation, and a philosophy of interdisciplinary collaboration and communication.
Technology fit for purpose
Seismic analysis is a synthesis of many different data types — the seismic data itself, wells, velocity models, geology, cores, previous work — which in turn generates more data and parameters that are important to reservoir engineers, economists and drillers. Furthermore, geoscientists are inherently interested in exchanging ideas and information, but not necessarily the information-technology business models whereby that happens.
What will be helpful then are not new software applications in which to create, analyse, and record, but versatile innovations that help us increase the efficiency of existing data and tools required for interpretation, archival, and transmission. These solutions will acknowledge and fit the subsurface workflow of geophysical interpretation and model building, followed by dynamic well planning and drilltime model refinement, and not the other way around. The user should not be constrained by the tools.
Work together and bridge the gap
The geoscience community has the same problem as the intelligence community. Each person on the project has at least one crucial bit of information that no one else possesses. Analyses also create an immense wealth of knowledge that is not effectively transmitted through the organization and to the next generation of workers. Technical proficiency in geophysics and interpretation is traditionally rewarded, and collaborating with geologists, petrophysicists, reservoir engineers, economists, and drillers takes time. Such collaboration is invaluable as we move forward, however, especially in the areas of inversion and 4D interpretation which involve reservoir architecture, volumetric properties, and fluid movement. Adopted at a management level, a culture of sharing within projects will encourage similar interdisciplinary associations across the organization.
As scientists in a cutting-edge industry, we know that technology is not just software but also the effective utilization and management of data and people. Flexible and light solutions that address our workflow requirements and boost the capabilities of existing tools as well as cross-disciplinary work and communication are two ways to get us there.