If you’re a geologist who recognizes that you need to get up to speed on seismic technology, or a geophysicist with a yen to understand the geologic concepts needed for seismic interpretation, Bruce Hart may be the go-to guy for you.
Hart, an AAPG member and leading researcher at Statoil, did an earlier stint in academia as a professor at McGill University in Montreal. While there, he traveled the globe extensively, educating geoscientists in the esoteric realm of 3-D seismic.
Today, his short course, “3-D Seismic Interpretation for Geologists,” is a crowd-pleaser – as were his earlier programs. The course is designed to introduce participants to the art and science of seismic interpretation.
It’s based on Hart’s digital textbook (AAPG Discovery Series No.16), which synthesized material presented to students and industry professionals in Cairo, Houston, Copenhagen, London, Kuala Lumpur, Denver, New Orleans, Calgary and other locales since 1995.
Hart first recognized the need for this focused approach when attending an “introductory” workshop on 3-D seismic technology a number of years ago.
“The speakers were geophysicists, and the audience seemed to consist mostly of geologists,” he said. “I watched as the audience’s eyes rolled backward, closed or started drifting when the speakers began talking about the ‘distribution of azimuths’ in a 3-D survey or other relatively advanced topics, at least for geologists.
“A short while later, I was asked to be a co-instructor on a 3-D seismic short course for small independent producers, and decided I should start with a ‘refresher’ on the basics of the method before diving into 3-D seismic techniques,” Hart noted.
“The response was quite good,” he said, “and since then this format has been well received in other courses I’ve taught.”
Upping Your Game
The industry has long recognized the value that 3-D seismic brings to the table in the E&P world. Even so, it’s actually not used everywhere.
“One place where it’s not used as much yet – but it depends on the play – is in the unconventional world,” Hart noted.
“People are definitely doing structural attributes, picking up faults and things in the Marcellus, Eagle Ford and other plays,” he said. “But there are still a lot of companies in some parts of some plays not using it much.
“In some places like the Bakken, where the reservoirs are so thin, they don’t see the value in it.”
Hart commented that one of the advances he sees today is that geophysicists are really off and running in the realm of geophysical-based prediction of rock properties. Yet the geologic community overall has not embraced what’s doable here and how it’s done.
“The geophysicists have ways of doing seismic inversion to predict rock properties,” he said, “but I think some of the math is beyond the average geologist.
“Some inversion-based predictions have math and physics on the side sometimes, but you need a geologist to look at this and say whether they make geologic sense.
“To make a contribution, geologists should up their game a bit and learn more about the methods and be in a position where they could say this image doesn’t make sense geologically,” Hart noted. “Or maybe it’s something new about the geology they didn’t understand before.”
An Unconventional Approach
Inarguably, much has changed in science and technology over the past decade or so, but it still holds true that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
“No matter how much science and technology have changed, there are still things people need to learn, still basic concepts of understanding the geology and what you can and can’t do,” Hart emphasized. “The importance of understanding geology when you’re trying to do interpretation is just as important now as earlier.
“The industry is getting value from 3-D today, but it would be getting more value if (they) were more focused on using it for unconventionals, which are so big now,” Hart added.
He stands ready to help.
“To do more unconventionals in my course, I need to update my digital textbook, which won’t take all that long at this point,” he said. “I’d really like to do it – if I can find the time.”
Meanwhile, you can take advantage of his current enlightening 3-D course to get a good grasp on:
- Fundamental controls on seismic resolution/imaging.
- How data acquisition and processing parameters affect data interpretability.
- Differences between 2-D and 3-D seismic data.
- How and why different seismic visualization techniques are used during an interpretation.
- Basic concepts of seismic structural interpretation.
- Basic concepts of seismic stratigraphic interpretation.
- The utility of different types of advanced seismic analyses (AVO, attributes, inversion, etc.).
- A generalized seismic interpretation workflow, emphasizing the need to integrate seismic interpretation with geologic and engineering analyses.