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FRENCH, WILLIAM S., Grant Tensor Geophysical Corp., Houston, TX

ABSTRACT: Explorationists and Dinosaurs

The exploration industry is changing, exploration technology is changing and the explorationist's job is changing.

Resource companies are diversifying internationally and their central organizations are providing advisors rather than services. As a result, the relationship between the resource company and the contractor is changing. Resource companies are promoting standards so that all contract services in all parts of the world will look the same to their advisors. Contractors -- for competitive reasons -- want to look "different" from other contractors. The resource companies must encourage competition between contractors to insure the availability of new technology but must also resist the current trend of burdening the contractor with more and more of the risk involved in exploration.

It is becoming more and more obvious that geophysical expenditures represent the best "value added" expenditures in exploration and development budgets. As a result, seismic-related contractors represent the growth component of our industry. The predominant growth is in 3-D seismic technology, and this growth is being further propelled by the computational power of the new generation of massively parallel computers and by recent advances in computer graphic techniques. Indeed, these developments have completely changed the way the explorationist turns seismic data into well sites.

The interpretation of seismic data involves much more than mapping the geometry of a time section. Interpretation involves the analysis of wavelet shapes and amplitudes prior to stacking the data. Thus, modern interpretation involves understanding

compressional waves, shear waves, and propagating modes which create noise and interference. Modern interpretation and processing are carried out simultaneously, iteratively, and interactively and involve many physics-related concepts. These concepts are not merely tools for the interpretation, they are the interpretation. Explorationists who do not recognize this fact are going the way of the dinosaurs.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90988©1993 AAPG/SVG International Congress and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela, March 14-17, 1993.