An investigation into the past and the future of the CSEG RECORDER
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Many may wonder why I started this by quoting about changes, but we need to realize we are in a period of change. We are changing how we acquire data using higher density, how we shoot the survey using Slip-Sweep (vibrators) onshore, multi-azimuth offshore; acquisition and and these acquisition changes are forcing us to change how we process the seismic data. There have also been changes in the use of the seismic to plan the horizontal wells, which means there has been more emphasis on "stretching" the time data to depth. This has caused a re-emergence in depth imaging. It is almost a renaissance in seismic and its use to help plan the horizontal lateral completions.
This industry has always been about change since the first wells were drilled in Pennsylvania and Ontario around 1860. The initial refined product from oil was kerosene which was burned in lamps to provide lighting before the advent of electricity.
The process to refine oil into kerosene was created by a Canadian named Abraham Pineo Gesner from Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. The use of kerosene in lamps probably saved the whales from being hunted to extinction. If we look at this industry it has always been in flux, and booms and busts predominate. Its history is rich and colorful, full of interesting characters (Rockefeller, Getty, Keck, H. L. Hunt, Jack Gallagher, etc.). They tried somehow to stabilize the oil industry through their companies such as Standard Oil and government agencies such as the Texas Railway Commission or the Alberta Energy Regulators (AER). But, the issues with booms and busts are due to the capital-intensity of the business, and the multi-year lag time in getting projects executed (Rapier, 2015).
Look at the innovation that has taken us from 2D paper sections to 4D seismic on a workstation and the building of geomodels that are used for reservoir simulation. My first standalone system was a Spac-2 with 2 gigabytes of disk space. We used it to process seismic data in the field. With the turn around on the vessels using standalone machines being quicker, companies like WesternGeco began to move away from big mainframes which were tape-to-tape to workstations that were disk-to-disk. We moved from poststack time migration to prestack time migration and are moving towards prestack depth migration to be able to plan the horizontal wells better.
Just recently with the issues around pipelines, the drop in the price of oil, and the glut in natural gas due to the shale plays, we have all been challenged to change in this industry. We saw the development of pad drilling, horizontal drilling, fracking, etc. to create cost efficiencies that allow us to economically develop unconventional or deepwater plays. We did it and we are still doing it. Some have been hurt by this downturn, many have lost their jobs, and because of this our membership has been reduced.
Cost efficiencies for the RECORDER were explored and a new initiative was put forth to make the RECORDER electronic. This wasn’t the first time that the RECORDER had changed. Before September 1985, there was only a collection of activity announcements in a newsletter, but on September 1985 the first RECORDER in a magazine format was published and the first Editor was DW Paterson.
Though there have been changes to the RECORDER with more to come, we need to look to the past, our foundation, and to those that have made the RECORDER successful. We need to honour these people and thank them for all they have done. Some of the key individuals I know of are: Satinder Chopra, Penny Colton, Carmen Swalwell, Kristy Manchul, Oliver Kuhn, Larry Lines, Don Lawton, Marko Mah, and too many others to list here. They built this RECORDER and I am just a guardian trying to make sure we meet the needs of the readers.
One of the changes will be the placing of abstracts of papers onto the CSEG blog. We are also beginning to advertise the RECORDER on LinkedIn and twitter more, and are working with the Digital Media Committee (DMC) on how to improve our digital footprint for the RECORDER. We need to increase the number of people that look at the RECORDER. To entice people, we also want to cover the social aspects of the CSEG. Without readership, we cannot attract advertisers, and down the road if this is not successful, there will be questions why we have the RECORDER.
As Chief Editor, I need to listen to those that have been a part of the RECORDER, but also steer the RECORDER into waters which we have not gone before. Taking a magazine and making it digital is not easy.
Though the RECORDER is not a peer-reviewed journal, it has had some great contributors such as: Brian Russell, Dan Hampson, Satinder Chopra, Kurt Marfurt, Lee Hunt, Oliver Kuhn, etc. And because we release each edition publicly after 4.5 months, it is commonly quoted in papers, journals, other articles, company presentations. Through their articles, Chopra and Marfurt taught me about structural attributes and how to prepare the data to get better results.
Few realize how many awesome articles are present in the RECORDER, and being online, you can read it on the C-train.
I hope you all will support me in my role as Chief Editor, that you will contribute to the RECORDER, and the committees will send us what they are doing because the RECORDER is not about me, it is truly a reflection of our organization and the excellent work we do. It records our history as an organization.