70th Anniversary

On April 30, 1949 the president of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), Dr. L. L. Nettleton, met with eleven geophysicists for an "informal" lunch in Calgary to outline the advantages of creating a local section (Finch, 1985; Larson, 2005). The Calgary-based geophysicists were convinced and set about organizing the inaugural meeting, which took place on June 2 at the Palliser Hotel. There were sixty-four people in attendance and before the meeting was over, an executive was chosen: John O. Galloway, president; C. M. Moore, vice-president; L. J. (Lindy) Richards, secretary/ treasurer (Finch, 1985; Larson, 2005).

John O. Galloway had his own petroleum consulting firm when elected as president of the fledgling Society and was formerly the vice-president of Standard Oil Company of California (Chevron) (Finch, 1985).

C. M. (Charlie) Moore was the Canadian Manager for Geophysical Service Incorporated (GSI) in Dallas. He would later become the vice president of GSI (Finch, 1985).

L. J. (Lindy) Richards was the chief geophysicist for Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas Co. when elected to the Society. He would eventually become the company president. He was later elected Chairman of the Board of Quintana Exploration Canada Ltd (Finch, 1985).

It is amazing who some of the past presidents of the CSEG have been: Jonathon Downton, Dolbrin (most have used his textbook in university), Roy Lindseth, Brian Russell, and A. Easton Wren, to name a few.

The first name they selected for the new organization was the ‘Western Canada Geophysical Society’. However, when they went to register the name it was deemed to be too close to the Western Geophysical Company, so it was changed to the ‘Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ (Finch, 1985).

In 1957 the CSEG was invited to use two pages in the Western Oil Examiner, one of the primary industry journals at the time. The CSEG used the pages to publish some papers, opinions and schedules and an editor was appointed to organise documents for publication (Finch, 1985). Also, in 1957 the Education Committee was created. It served as an educational and public relations role and established a high school lecture program with speakers going out to schools and addressing the students directly (Finch, 1985).

In 1959 the CSEG produced its first newsletter, a monthly publication that announced upcoming meetings and events. During the year, eleven technical meetings were held, four scholarships were given, and two new committees established: a Membership Committee and a Legislative Study Committee, which looked at proposed revisions to the Engineering Profession Act (Finch, 1985). During the year, when the Western Oil Examiner folded, the Society began contributing material to the Canadian Oil and Gas Industries publication (Finch, 1985).

In 1962 the CSEG hosted the SEG 32nd Annual International Meeting. It was the first time such a meeting was held outside the United States. (Copeland, 1965).

The first Journal was published in 1965, the inaugural issue containing a paper entitled “Wiggles” by Nigel Anstey, which can be found on the CSEG Web site (Finch, 1985; Larson, 2005). It is one of the first papers I read when I began my career with Gale-Horizon Ltd. It taught me a lot about Fourier series, fundamental frequency and harmonics.

The first National Convention of the CSEG was held in April 1973 (Kuhn, 2004). General Convention Chairman A.E. Pallister wrote in his introduction to the Proceedings of the 1973 National Convention, “If this nation is to maintain its present energy self-sufficiency, as the demand for energy quadruples during the next thirty years, the membership of this Society will be called upon to make an even more demanding contribution” (Kuhn, 2004).

In 1985 the Executive decided that the role of the RECORDER as a simple bulletin of CSEG activities was not meeting all the requirements of the Society, so it was decided to change to a magazine style, with the dual objectives of expanded and improved content and of self-financing (Paterson, 1985).

In 2013, the CWLS, the CSEG, and the CSPG came together under a limited partnership to provide a showcase technical conference dedicated to the petroleum geoscience of Canada and so the GeoConvention was born (Geoconvention, 2018). A new era began that involved integration of the geosciences.


Up until 2017, the RECORDER was self-financing. When the RECORDER switched to online only (except for the Geoconvention edition which is printed in April) we saw a drop in both readership and advertisers. Many did not see the value of the RECORDER anymore because it was no longer sitting on their desks to be read when they had a moment.

At the time, Chief Editor Nicole Willson reached out to Larry Fichtner, 1985 CSEG President, via email and phone about the future of the RECORDER. He suggested (Willson, 2017):

  1. Combine the RECORDER with other partner societies' publications because of the great success we’ve had with this option in regards to the GeoConvention
  2. Increase the volume of social content,
  3. Keep the quality of the articles high, but write so everyone can understand the information.

We are currently working with the Digital Media Committee (DMC) to improve the website, increase our footprint in social media, and improve communication within the CSEG. We have many proposals on the table but are limited by the number of members of the committee. We need volunteers to help us out.

We are hoping to use social media to increase the availability to our members. We are trying to get great articles for the CSEG RECORDER and we invite you to help us out in this regard. We are not going to limit ourselves to just geophysical articles but seek articles from across the geosciences. By doing this we are stepping beyond our comfort zone. We also want to reach to other organizations and see how we can work together.

We don’t want to be the RECORDER of the past. We want to be better at meeting the members’ desire to learn about diverse subjects across all the geosciences.

Going across Canada

We have planned the first edition to be about the work being done in the universities. Next, we plan to do a bit of a road trip on the Trans Canada Highway, beginning in St. John’s and working west. We will pause the road trip in mid-April to look at data management, since it is becoming more important for all the different geoscience industries. We then jump back on the Trans Canada and continue heading west. Below is the schedule of the upcoming editions.

Month Topic Special Coordinator(s) Technical Editor
March Atlantic Region Omid Aghaei Steve Jensen
Mid-April Data Management Sue Carr Kristy Manchul
June Central Canada Oliver Kuhn,
Jean Legault
Ruth Peach
September Prairie Provinces – Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta Draga Talinga Albert Scutt
Mid-October Canadian Cordillera and the West Coast Fernando Cerda Steve Jensen
December Northern Canada Albert Scutt Stephanie Ross

Statistics around the RECORDER

Looking at the number of online hits the CSEG RECORDER received from January 2017 to December 2018, we found that the average annual number of unique viewers was 348,480. Geographically, we found the following distribution of online hits of RECORDER articles:

Country / region % of view # of views (Annual average) # of views per month (Based on annual average)
January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018 (Based on annual average)
United States 22.0% 77440 6453
Canada 15.0% 52800 4400
North America 38.0% 133760 11147
Asia 27.0% 95040 7920
Europe 17.0% 59840 4987
Africa 8.0% 28160 2347
Central & South America 5.0% 17600 1467
Oceania 4.0% 14080 1173

Canadian Distinguished Lecture Tour

We recognize that with this downturn in Western Canada there is a growing lack of Industry understanding of what seismic can do beyond simple structural mapping. David Gray’s Canadian Distinguished Lecture tour is timely because he shows the geomechanic properties that can be derived from the seismic and how they can they be used to identify areas to drill in unconventional plays. David delivered a talk for engineers called “Calgary Branch PD Evening: Demystifying Geophysics for Engineers”. It was held on January 9, 2019 at the APEGA Windsor Conference Centre located at 2200 – 700 2 St SW. This is a CSEG Value of Integrated Geophysics (VIG) Committee initiative.

David will also be presenting the CSEG Technical Luncheon paper on April 21, 2019. I have already experienced his lecture, which was given during a ‘SEGA’ talk at the University of Calgary. David even had props with his talk! He showed how rock properties can be used together to generate a better understanding of where to drill in an unconventional play.

The Canadian Distinguished Lecture has been ongoing since 2007. It has seen people like Brian Russell, Gerhard Pratt, Ron M. Clowes, Richard Smith, Satinder Chopra, Lee Hunt, Don Lawton, Bernd Milkereit, Peter Cary, Mauricio D. Sacchi, Laurie Weston Bellman, Doug Schmitt, and David Gray. The topics vary from seismic inversion to potential fields.


We also have the CSEG Symposium on March 12, 2019, which features case studies. This year we are honouring Roy Lindseth, the father of seismic inversion, with the theme being ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’. This event should be attended not only by geophysicists but by geologists and engineers, so they can more fully understand how seismic can be used to enhance their results.

As an example, with geomodels we tend to interpolate between sparse wells. However, it would be useful to utilize rock properties calculated from seismic inversion to help guide the interpolation with co-kriging (geostatistical technique using sparse well data with the abundant seismic data for interpolation of rock properties) across the geomodel. We need to better integrate geology and geophysics in order to model the geology properly and calculate more accurate reservoir simulations.

We can incorporate geomechanical rock properties into these geomodels such as Poisson Ratio (υ), Young’s Modulus, brittleness, closure stress (which [[υ]/[1-υ]] and is the stress needed to hold open a fracture in rock once it has been created), percent anisotropy (Vfast – Vslow), etc.

Integration means working together with other disciplines, understanding each discipline's role and objectives, and discussing our assumptions and results when reviewing all the data. The goal is to work together to plan what has been referred to as ‘tying the surface to the sub-surface’, which is: placement of the pad on the surface to minimize cost and meet Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) guidelines; determining the drilling plan; placement of the horizontal lateral well within the best rock which can be referred to as the ‘sweet spot’; determination of the completions in the horizontal lateral such as location of the stages, and length (fracturing fluid, rate, pressure, proppant and tonnage of proppant is determined by researching other wells drilled in the area in a well and frac database); and estimation of the stimulated reservoir volume to determine economics.

It is surprising how much information can be drawn out of seismic that we can use to make better predictions, understand the geology and understand some of the drivers (porosity, closure stress, brittleness, etc.) of the play. Determination of drivers of the play is done by comparing the rock properties derived from the seismic to the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) of completed wells in an area. This allows us to determine sweet spots which can be used to determine the best places to drill the horizontal wells to maximize our return (production) with minimal cost which maximizes our profit.

Technical Luncheons

Each month the CSEG has a technical luncheon held at:
Calgary Petroleum Club (Devonian Room +15 Level)
319 – 5th Ave SW

Luncheon Date Speaker Titles
23-Jan-19 Jennifer Winters Canadian Climate Strategies: Federal and Provincial Emissions Reduction Policies
20-Feb-19 Jack Bouska “What Should You Do, With a Million-Channel Crew?”
27-Mar-19 Sam Gray Why We Shouldn’t Trust Seismic
24-Apr-19 David Gray An Unconventional View of Geoscience (CDL)

Abstracts for the luncheons can be viewed and the payment of $42.00 for the luncheon tickets can be made on the CSEG website at: https://cseg.ca/technical/category/luncheons/.


The 2019 convention will be held May 15 to 19, 2019, in Calgary at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre. The sessions will be:

  1. Building Strong Foundations – Technical Fundamentals and Applications
  2. New Horizons – Novel Technological Tools and Advancements
  3. Unconventional Plays – Advancing Understanding and Profitability
  4. Managing the Risks of Unconventional Development
  5. Conventional Plays and Frontier Basins
  6. Challenges and Opportunities for the Canadian Energy Industry

Those that are ‘un’ or ‘under’ employed, an Exhibit Hall Pass is available (in advance) for free. For more information please go to: https://www.geoconvention.com/registration/registration-rates.html.


All that we do involves the integration of petrophysics, geology, geophysics, rock properties, geomechanics, geochemistry, completion information, microseismic and reservoir information such as pressures from Diagnostic Fracture Injection Testing (DFITS). Much of this is not taught at the universities, so we learn it on the job and reinforce the learning by taking continuing education courses. The continuing education can be taken through software companies such as: Hampson-Russell; Petrel; Seisware; GeoLog; Ikon; and others. The courses can also be taken through specialized education companies like: Piece (RPS); Nautilus; and, Petroskills.

The DoodleTrain was created so Canadian geophysicists could obtain the training needed without the necessity of travel to Houston or London to take courses. It is a branch of the Education Committee and brings in Canadian instructors as well as instructors from the UK and several U.S. cities.

The DoodleTrain has been held every November, beginning in 2002. The courses have been about interpretation, acquisition, processing, development and data management. Last year we had notable instructors such as Öz Yilmaz, Pat Connolly and Brian Russell, to name a few.

Paraphrasing Bill Nickerson (2003): Continuing education is a lifelong commitment, whatever your role is in the industry. It keeps us up to date with new developments in our field, introduces us to related disciplines, and refreshes our understanding of the basics. Staying current makes us more effective in our present jobs and better prepared for future jobs.

Unemployed CSEG members can enroll in DoodleTrain courses at a reduced rate in order to maintain their professional development status.

New ideas around seismic and how to extract value

Over the last 5 years, there have been some interesting ideas suggested on how to extract value from seismic. It begins with the acquisition. In our September 2018 edition, the focus was Emerging Technologies, and Andrea Crook wrote about stakeless surveys and high-density vibrator data, with a goal to obtain a broader bandwidth with the vibrators. It is known that if we obtain lower frequencies, then the results of a relative inversion such as colour inversion will approach those of a deterministic inversion. And if we were to do a deterministic inversion, we would not need to add as much back in from the model if we have lower frequencies. In the same edition Jinling Zhang and Kyle McMillan wrote about obtaining density from the seismic. Density is important, especially for our oil sand plays.

We on the RECORDER Committee want to continue delivering high quality papers, and again we need to stress that we need your help to do this. As demonstrated in this column, we truly stand on the shoulders of giants who have changed our industry. We need to continue to grow. Our organization was built on the intention to promote the science of geophysics especially as it applies to exploration, and to promote fellowship and cooperation among those persons interested in geophysical problems. By contributing and volunteering, you are promoting fellowship and cooperation, especially in today’s market where geophysics has been undervalued.

By learning more about what we can do with the seismic, we can show value on the asset team. Not only can we stay up to date with the DoodleTrain, the Distinguished Lecture, the Symposium, the Geoconvention, and the Technical Luncheons, but also with the RECORDER.

There are other events that can help you to develop, such as the Lunchbox Geophysics talks, the Microseismic User Group (MUG) meetings, the Emerging Professionals Program (EPP), the Junior Geophysical Forum, the Geophysical Industry Field Trips (GIFT), and probably some I have missed. We want to be able to provide information about these events so that you can obtain full value from the CSEG.

We also want you to know that the RECORDER is not just about communication; it is about education as well. There are many ways through the CSEG that we can obtain continued education and thereby advance ourselves. Even by being a part of the committees or the executive, we learn leadership skills.

Wishing you a prosperous New Year!!!!


Copeland, R.J., 1965, CSEG Highlights. CSEG Journal December Vol. 01, No. 01

Finch, D., 1985, Traces Through Time: The History of Geophysical Exploration for Petroleum in Canada.

Geoconvention, 2018, The History of GeoConvention. www.geoconvention.com/contact/history.html

Kuhn, O., 2004, CSEG National Conventions – Past, Present and Future. CSEG RECORDER May Vol. 29 No. 05.

Larsons, R., 2005, CSEG History – A Random “On-Line” Browse. February Vol. 30 No. 02.

Nickerson. B. 2003, DoodleTrain on Track. CSEG RECORDER September Vol. 28 No. 7.

Paterson, D.W., 1985, Editor's Notes. CSEG RECORDER September Vol. 10, No. 7.

Willson, N., 2017, Chief Editor Column. CSEG RECORDER April Vol. 42 No. 3



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