Industry geoscientists face growing challenges in building subsurface interpretations, due to increasing geologic complexity, the importance of subtle details, or both. Conventional reservoirs now include components difficult to image or interpret. Unconventional reservoirs may at first look simple and homogeneous, but have subtle expression of key elements.
Developing effective interpreters requires significant personal and company resources, and has traditionally focused on geologic concepts and software. Successful and productive interpreters emerge more through chance and self-motivation, and commonly struggle when learning to integrate geologic models and interpretation tools in real data volumes.
Spatial cognitive skills have been recognized as a distinct class of intellectual skills, with various subsets and individual skill types. More recently, spatial cognitive skill research has been applied to the geosciences, and to developing effective methods for teaching basic and advanced geology concepts.
This conference provided an opportunity for bridging the gap between industry, academia, cognitive researchers and software vendors, and for enhancement of E&P interpretation strategies and tools, critical skill development, and supporting training methods and resources. Much of the academic geologic world is at least aware of spatial cognitive skill science, and many professors include adapted pedagogical strategies. The conveners represented these different groups, and additional theme leaders were selected to encourage integration.
Broadly speaking, structural interpretation includes any subsurface geologic form, whether derived from deformation or deposition. In all cases, recognizing and interpreting these forms requires 3D thinking and application of geologic knowledge, enabled by effective tools and techniques. Visualization has often been used in industry in reference to software, especially for interrogating and interpreting 3D seismic. While a key component of this conference, we hoped to emphasize more complete mental visualization that enables true understanding and integration of geologic concepts and models.