“Concepts you still have to develop between your two ears...”

An interview with Doug Pruden

Coordinated by: Satinder Chopra | Photos courtesy: Joyce Au
Doug Pruden

Doug Pruden is an experienced geophysicist who has been working in the oil patch for the last 27 years. After initially working for different companies, Doug reached a point that he calls ‘major career crossroads’. Here he had to decide if he should secure a senior management position or remain in the technical stream of geophysics which he really enjoyed. He opted for the latter and since 1999 has been consulting. Apart from the science that he practices, Doug has served on the CSEG Executive as President (1999).

Doug was quite responsive to our request for an interview and shared his thoughts with us during a relaxed and an interesting discussion. Following are excerpts from the interview.

Doug, let’s begin by asking you about your educational background and your work experience.

Educational background – I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Geophysics from the University of Calgary in 1980 and I started working with Chevron right out of University. I worked with Chevron till ‘83 and moved on to Canterra until about ’88. I moved to Bow Valley in ‘88 and then from Bow Valley to Remington Energy in ’93. I have been consulting since 1999.

How did you get into geophysics?

I entered University wanting to do a science degree, initially thinking that I wanted to do a degree in geology, but I came to the disappointing conclusion after my first few geology classes that it was boring. I couldn’t get worked up over just straight geology the way it was being presented. I did, however, stumble upon a beast called geophysics while I was in first year and decided to explore it. I discovered I liked the utility of math and physics and applied geophysics seemed like an interesting course of study.

So geology is boring?

No, I wouldn’t say geology is boring. Far from it. I would just say the way geology was presented at university for me wasn’t stimulating. Largely a function of the subject, the student and the instructors and how we interacted.

You switched over to three different companies, Canterra, Bow Valley and Remington, and you must have made these changes for good reasons; would you like to share those reasons with us?

The only company that I actually left voluntarily from was Chevron and that was after the first 3 years of working there. That was just a decision prompted by the realization that I didn’t feel like I fit into the organization the way they were functioning. The industry was moving at a pretty good pace and an opportunity came up to move over to Canterra so I took it.

In the other three cases, my moves were dictated by outside forces. I left Canterra because Husky bought Canterra; I left Bow Valley because Talisman had bought Bow Valley; I left Remington because Dominion Energy had bought Remington out.

So you were sort of forced to...

Yes, circumstances forced me to make decisions and move on to new opportunities. At the time it was painful in terms of being told you are not wanted by the new entity, but in time you come to realize that was simply a function of who knew you within the new management structure and what people they wanted to fit within that organization at the time. I learned very quickly after the first couple of times that there are bigger opportunities out there to pursue, so I didn’t get too twisted off over it after a while.

I actually know some people I worked with who have made a career of finding companies that are ripe for takeover and have a likelihood of wanting to lay people off so that they can collect packages.

Doug Pruden and Satinder Chopra

Oh, yes, that is the celebration part. Some people think that to move up the ladder, changing jobs is a must and there are others who will say that staying with one allows you to identify with that company and grow with that company, there is a sense of belonging that develops in you, etc.. What is your take on this?

I guess a bit of both. I think if you stay with one organization for a long time you begin taking on the thought processes of that particular organization. I think that change is good for every body because it forces you to view your career, the interpretation problems, to view what-ever it is you are doing from a new point of view. That is the good part about changing. Staying with the company and identifying with it as an entity, I don’t think that is a valid view point in the 21st century anymore. I don’t think there are very many companies out there that are really serious about bringing people on and taking them in as part of the family. The fact that I have been through so many companies that have been bought and sold and let go so many times leads me to believe that the corporate culture is a soul-less, self-serving culture. People aren’t brought in and raised in the company, they are brought in in order to do a job and then when their job is no longer of use to the company or that individual no longer fits in the company, they are discarded. We, as an industry, have almost gotten to the realm where the staff level is almost disposable, which is unfortunate. I think there must be a happy medium somewhere in where you can join an organization and grow with them and be part of a family and then follow it to its natural conclusion. There are some companies that are like that. I’d say the closest experience that I had of that was at Remington because that was a family-run company and you got to know everybody within the company. It felt like you were at least involved in it at that level. I think those experiences, while they are out there, are probably not available to everybody.

Could you tell us about the work culture that you may have experienced in the different companies? What differences are there?

There are not a lot of differences in the basic work culture. I think every place that I have gone to has good hard working people who want to do a good job. I think the biggest differences in work culture in companies are largely imposed on individuals by the management style. There are companies which are what I would call management heavy. They are very much process driven with a lot of time spent in meetings, and decision making is a process bordering on being an ordeal. Not a lot of energy actually gets put into implementation, so more emphasis is placed on strategy than actual tactics.

Then I have been working for other organizations where the strategization is minimized and the emphasis is on tactics. The prime question asked within these organizations is “How are we going to achieve it?”. Those are the organizations in which a lot of work gets done. I wouldn’t necessarily say you can generalize, but I think as a rule, smaller companies tend to be more tactical and bigger companies have the luxury of being more strategic just because they’ve got the luxury of more people and they can afford to do that. Also the promotional structure is to management, so management generally has to have something to justify itself.

What has been your philosophy towards your professional growth because you switched with those companies, till 1999.

Well, my strategy behind the move is that there wasn’t one. It was fate. In terms of my professional growth, it had no clear goal until I was at Bow Valley. I had the opportunity to work for Neil Rutherford. Neil and I sat down one day and he decided to mentor me a bit and asked me what I wanted my career to be like. What did I want to be known for? I guess I thought about it and I decided that I wanted to stay in the technical stream and that I wanted to be known as a highly accomplished seismic interpreter. Just how you measured that we had no idea. But the idea to be the best that I could be at that became a focal point, and we talked about strategies to do that. I have had opportunity to look at management positions since then and just decided that it didn’t appeal to me as much as the technical side does. So since that day, that’s kind of been my philosophy: just stay technical, stay current and don’t do anything poorly if I can avoid it.

That is really good. What career accomplishments are you most proud of?

I have had a few of them that I have been proud of. When I was at Bow Valley we worked on a very large project in North East British Columbia prior to it having been well explored or well documented in the industry. One of the peripheral accomplishments that I am proud of is that we got to present a structural base model for the tectonic development of the Peace River Arch Graben system to the CSEG. That model was well accepted by the geophysical community. Even years later people mention it to me and how it helped influence them, so I feel proud of the work that we did on that.

I would have to say that when I went over to Remington, the discovery and exploitation of the West Stoddart Doig pool was significant. While the discovery well was geologically fortuitous, we put a fair amount of subsequent seismic work into developing the pool, understanding the geophysics of the pool and presented that to the industry and I think hopefully inspired a few other companies to go out and look for more. I know the Triassic Doig play is now a fairly robust play being chased up and down the same regional trends we identified at that time in N.E.B.C. I am certainly not vain enough to think that I was influential in doing that, but I think that the work that I did there may have helped somewhere along the line. It certainly helped develop Remington as a company, so from a financial point of view I like to think that the work I have done is useful. So I am pleased with that.

In recent years I have had lots of opportunity to work with many companies, large and small and I have had lots of exposure to different projects. In recent years I have had more exposure to AVO technology and seismic lithology and I think I have helped to develop some of my own personal expertise by doing this work. I have tried to transfer some of that knowledge through papers, posters and presentations when I have had that opportunity, so I wouldn’t say there is any one event that stands out. I just try to do, like I said, the best I can when I can.

Would you like to say something about the most challenging project you may have come across, if it is different from the ones that you mentioned?

No, most of the challenging problems are the ones that bear the fruit, really. They don’t always work out, but I think some of the more challenging projects I have had to work on are in areas where there is a lack of geophysical seismic data. In such cases we’ve built models based on geological understanding and then tried to interweave that with potential fields data like HRAM or gravity data that may be available . That is hard work because you are used to the resolution the seismic data gives you and at that level you sort of, you want to be able to pronounce authoritatively what is going on but you know you darn well can’t. That is difficult work but it is also exciting and rewarding.

Once they have gained enough experience, some geoscientists like to work as consultants, like yourself. What are your views on this and was your decision good?

In my particular case I think it is the best decision that I could have made. When my last company, Remington, was bought out, it wasn’t in a particularly great set of circumstances. Oil prices had fallen, fortunes of the company had taken a dramatic turn to the negative and the company was purchased by Dominion at very, very cheap stock price. There was a general feeling of disappointment amongst most of the people that worked for Remington and at that point in time I was trying to decide what my next step would be. I guess when I looked around the patch I couldn’t find any company that was really the one I wanted to work with. I couldn’t work up the excitement about going to even try to work for anyone on a long term basis, so I flipped perspective and said “well, I am just going to date, I am not going to get married right away”. As I made that decision to begin consulting I discovered that I really enjoyed it because it gave me a lot of exposure to different parts of the basin, and in different basins in the world that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I think I have grown more in the last 7 years consulting technically than I did in the previous 14, just because of the variety of that exposure to different ideas. I know I have read more technical papers in that period than I had previously. And there was a general freeing up because I was no longer required to work on administrative tasks that were in each of the jobs previous to that.

Now, would I recommend that for other people? Not necessarily. I think it is entirely up to an individual’s taste in what it is they like to do. Some people really enjoy working by themselves. I don’t mind working by myself at all but I can work just as easily with a group of people. Some people need to be part of a community to be part of a group in which case going to consulting can be very lonely work. There are financial insecurities that you have to worry about. If you are used to a steady pay cheque you don’t go into consulting because it doesn’t happen, but by the same token I have never been in a situation where I have had to worry too much about it. It seems like the work is coming in and maybe that’s just a function of a shortage of technical people out there right now. So in my case it was a good decision, but would I recommend it just openly to everybody? No, I think everyone has to look at their situation and make a decision based on what they want out of their career.

We no longer have geophysicists or seismologists, but we have specialists in seismic data acquisition, seismic inversion, migration, anisotropy etc. So you think there is merit in having such a scenario or we should have something like a generalist pattern we had some years ago?

I think that the technology that we have now is so complex that specialization is inevitable. I would shudder to think that I would be in an organization and be expected to know everything there is to know about all of the technologies you mentioned and be able to execute them competently. I don’t think that is a reasonable expectation anymore than it is reasonable to expect a general practitioner doctor to be a cardiologist or brain specialist. I believe the optimal situation would be to view the consultant or the in house geophysicist as akin to a general practitioner. We have to be conversant in as much of the technology that is available out there. Not necessarily expert on it, but know enough about it to provide recommendations to our companies or our clients as to what technologies to use and then bring in the specialists who know how it works. Of course we can learn from that process, but I don’t think I would ever want to dedicate myself to any one technology like that.

Doug Pruden

Do you think new geophysical technologies hold the promise of extraction of more information for characterizing hydrocarbon reservoirs and do you use them in your interpretation for lowering of risk so to say?

I try to utilize the new technologies whenever it is practicable. Some times when you work for an organization or client, they really don’t want that level of knowledge. Their questions are simple and can be answered by simple set of maps. But there are other clients who require that depth of investigation. The fact that we’ve got that spectrum to play with makes it rather interesting because there are some people who request only a simple approach but you know darn well that a more detailed approach would be of use to them.

So I do use them, but I try to be selective in terms of what is recommended. Obviously you are not going to recommend pre stack depth migration to somebody working in Western Canada that has an AVO problem! But I think, too, that there has been some basic disappointment in the lot of the technologies that have been out there over the years because they have been inappropriately applied. I think AVO suffered that stigma for many, many years, after its first presentation in the early 80s. Everybody ran out and did AVO work and after about 5 years of that scurrying about people started to dismiss AVO. It gained the perception that it doesn’t work universally and it only works for the cardium play, or it only works for the colony or in the Gulf of Mexico. Since that time a lot of work has gone into the technology, in which AVO is the starting point and if you start delving into seismic lithology and utilizing rock physics, now you can extract useful information that wouldn’t necessarily resulted in the AVO bright spot but you can perhaps glean some information in terms of what the rock is doing, which is really the key question we are being asked as geophysicists: what are the rocks doing and how do we explain this to the geologists? And I don’t know if I answered your question.

You have. For generating prospects, what has been your strategy that you may have followed?

What I do is not formulatically based. Basically, prospect generation comes about by looking at what the objectives of the problems are. For example, the geological problem is the key. If I were to put a formula to it, it would be basically: 1) let’s examine what the geology is doing. 2) let’s examine what the geophysical response to that geological problem is. 3) Is it observable in the data and then can you go out and actually look for it economically? Often times by the time you’ve gotten to that third stage you may decide that the particular play is not practical from a seismic perspective but it doesn’t mean that it is not prospectable. You may find a different technology to use, such as gravity, magnetics, some sort of artificial intelligence work done on the well logs, for example and the seismic will fall by the wayside. Each problem, as I say, is unique, but I think if you were to reduce the problem to a formula, you would have to systematically disassemble the question and ask “What is the basic question that we want to answer and can we answer that?” If we can’t answer that, what can we answer? You then put the pieces together and try and connect the dots, which is the ultimate goal to get a well drilled. So I often joke that my job isn’t necessarily to predict the results, my job is an excuse to drill a well.

So that better be a good one. Going by what you just mentioned, you have been a successful seismic interpreter. What would you say is required to become one?

I mentored some junior geophysicists so I struggled with that question specifically. First, in order to be a good seismic interpreter, you have to be at least a passable geologist. It is not so much a problem in Canada, but I have, in dealing with other international venues, discovered that geophysicists tend to isolate themselves from geology and pursue the data exclusively and some interpretation disasters result because of that. By the same token the object of our work is to interpret the geology using remote sensing. We can’t interpret the geology until we understand geology, or at least have a model for the geology, so it’s highly critical that to be a successful interpreter you have to understand geology, whether it is the structure, the stratigraphy. And again, it is sort of a generalized idea, you don’t have to be the expert at it, but you have to be conversant at it to understand what the problems are. Following up on that is just to be aware of the limitations of the technology. It’s like any journeyman, you understand what your tool is, you understand that a hammer is for hammering and you don’t try to use the wrong tool for the wrong technology. So there is an apprenticeship period in which you learn how to use the technology and where it is applied and how it’s applied and as you mentioned earlier, there are so many new technologies out there that it’s not something that you are going to achieve overnight. And then good mentorship is probably the most key aspect. If you don’t have an old dog showing you where all of the pitfalls are lying, you are going to re-invent mistakes that you don’t need to re-invent.

I think the question that I am going to ask you probably has been answered, but whatever remains, maybe you can answer that. According to you, what all is entailed in doing successful seismic interpretation? Now I will give you a little background for this. There are geophysicists who would just generate structure maps from 3D seismic data and go ahead and present them and say, here is a nice looking anomaly where you can drill. There are others who would like to use the advanced technology that is available and do a little more digging around and confirming that it is the correct decision. Of course, doing this would need the blessing of the management. What is your stand on this?

Yes, I think you touched on this before. The approach has to apply to the problem and it all comes down to an understanding of what the geological objectives and what the management objectives are. Quite often management will tell you that they want to do one thing when they really want to do it for different reasons than what they tell you or what’s implied and not because they are deceiving you, but because I don’t think they understand the connection between it. They may have to drill a well on a particular piece of land but it’s more important to them that the well be drilled because the land has to be earned than it is for the well to be drilled onto an optimal prospect location. So the compromises that you have to deal with are often I think related to that. I don’t think, I hope at least, that there aren’t any geophysicists in the Canadian Patch that divorce themselves from the geology and just go straight doing structural interpretations because there are places in the world that’s just going to come back and bite you in the end. Before you can figure out what’s happened you are out of a job.

As you mentioned, you have been using a lot of technology whenever you could, like AVO over the last few years. What other technology ideas have you tried to assimilate in your interpretation?

Okay, I have to thank Dan Hampson for this because he first introduced me to it with his EMERGE program, but I have started to enjoy and appreciate the use of neural network technology. I have gone out and I bought myself some software for experimenting with it and I have had some really interesting, I would have to say, successful results in employing it on the seismic interpretation side but quite often on the mapping side. In the integration of multiple attributes it’s been really instrumental in bringing together the whole idea of relating a number of seismic attributes to geology. So in my mind that is a technology that I have employed over the last few years that has served me very well and I think needs to be used to be more in the patch.

The problem with it is that most geophysical product users want to have a black box. They want to have a function something like EMERGE, where it’s all in one package and it’s not necessary to completely understand what you are doing to the data except in the context of how it’s applied to this problem. So to go and delve into the base mathematics and the assumptions of the technology is not something that everybody necessarily wants to do, perhaps doesn’t need to do, but I think the benefits from digging into that far out-weigh the time investment. As I did research into neural networks, I discovered that it is widely applied in most industries around the world and not really well implemented in the geophysical industry. It is beginning to be implemented, but it’s not well implemented, it’s not an integral part of how we address the interpretation problem, and the geophysical problem is one that lends itself very well to the use of neural nets.

As for other things that I have done, I have invested in a copy of MATLAB and I play around with math algorithms. That has had some interesting results and it has helped solve some problems that I wouldn’t have had the tools to solve otherwise.

So much for the technical part. Doug, do you ever get stressed out at work or outside work and what is your biggest turn-it-off approach?

Since I have started consulting the biggest benefit I have had is I do not get stressed out at work nearly as much as previously. It does occasionally happen, but certainly not as frequently. I have the benefit of not owning the problem, only the task of addressing it. That in itself has a different level of stresses with time management being the biggest.

I tend to de-stress by being physically active, so in the winter I play racket sports. I play badminton and was playing squash until I injured myself. In the summer, however, I am a confirmed golf addict and I love to get out and golf on the green grass. The thing I love about it is that if you do it well you are focused for four hours on a little white ball and you don’t think about anything else and when you come off you feel mentally relaxed even though the course did beat you up.

You served on the CSEG Executive as President. Tell us about the work you did on the Executive during your term.

Okay. The Executive was an interesting experience. Actually I got conned into being in the Executive. It was interesting, every time I presented a paper at a CSEG Luncheon somebody from the Executive came up to me and asked me to run for a position. So the first time I was asked to run for Vice President of now Technical Services but it would have been the VP that organized the technical luncheons at the time. The second time I did it I was asked by Rob Stewart to run for First Vice President. I don’t know what they will ask me to do if I ever do another paper, but in any event, I got into it mostly because I thought – it’s time to give something back to the community.

The biggest thing that we discovered when we got into it at that time was that, financially, the CSEG was not as healthy as it currently is so we had some challenges in terms of how do we balance the needs of the geophysical community and the anticipated needs of the geophysical community with the resources that we had at our disposal. In addition, we had some big events that were arising during that time. GeoCanada 2000 was the big conference event and it was a 50th Anniversary of the CSEG, so we instituted some projects and programs that we knew were going to be an expense but we thought they were legacy items that were worth implementing. We brought in Jim as the Managing Director and started the move towards two-year terms for all of the Executive positions because we discovered the transition period was usually six months wasted by learning the job. So I feel proud that we were involved in at least getting that started. Obviously other administrators finished it, but the other thing that I am fairly proud about is that we commissioned and got the new logo.

Doug Pruden

You are a registered member of APEGGA, P.Geoph. Tell us from your experience, how does becoming a member of APEGGA help? There are not very many geophysicists who are members of this association.

Yes, about 1000-1200 geophysicists out of 49,000 members, and I think about 2,000 geologists or something like that, but the vast majority of the members of APEGGA are engineers.

I think geologists are about 3,200 or 3,500…if one includes students.

And this comment is completely politically incorrect but today the way APEGGA is structured, to be a member of APEGGA as a geophysicist, unless you are interested in getting into the group insurance plan, there is probably not a lot of benefit. This isn’t to say that it shouldn’t be a benefit, I firmly believe that it needs to be there particularly in this day and age in which we have the transition of demographics. We are losing a lot of the older, more experienced geophysicists, we have younger people coming into the oil patch now with nobody to mentor them. How do we guarantee equality of professional competence unless we have some sort of a program? The biggest issue that I have with APPEGGA right now, and I have expressed this to some council members, is I don’t think it is being effectively enforced. I think if APEGGA were truly serious about giving value to my membership, not only as a professional geophysicist, but also as a registered consulting practice, APEGGA would actually enforce the act and require people to register and give it some real value. There have been improvements over the last few years, but they still give me the impression that they are not taking it as seriously for the earth sciences as they do for the engineers and I think until that impression changes, APEGGA’s value is going to be under-achieved. They are not going to be where they would like to be.

What are your other interests, apart from golfing that you mentioned?

I love reading science fiction. I haven’t done it for years, but I used to cartoon a lot. You have known me for a few years you know I have a weird sense of humor but I like to play around with words. I like to build jokes, draw cartoons, so those are some interests that I have. I used to like hiking but we have gotten away from that over the last few years with the family. Just basically spending time with my family. For many years my two older boys were involved in competitive squash so I spent a lot of time as a parent on the squash floors driving them back and forth and being a supportive parent. So that was a lot of fun, but they are out of it now so it is time for me to do something else.

What would be your message for young entrants to our industry?

Get a mentor would be the very first advice that I give you and that’s a lot harder than it seems. You can’t just walk up to some old codger and say “will you be my mentor?” because there has to be a communication that goes on. I think this is one avenue that APEGGA is probably making good strides in as they have a mentorship program that they have established and I would like to see that developed more. I’d like to see that every young graduate gets hooked up with not just one mentor in the geophysical side but I think they should be involved in a group of mentors from the engineering and the geological side because the whole industry is becoming more integrated. You need to know more about geology and engineering now than you did when I started. So I think it’s very important from a career perspective that that be pursued. Take as many courses as you can take, but learn your craft, learn geology, I think it’s critical to take business courses. I think you need to know how the oil patch works because more and more we are getting into smaller and smaller capitalized companies, and if you don’t know how the companies are run you can’t really make a good judgment about who are good companies to even work for. So if you are going to invest your time, which is a non-recoverable resource, you should at least know where you put that.

And don’t be so reliant on technology. I call my kids the Nintendo generation because they are very comfortable with computers. They can do things with computers because they have grown up with computers and of course these young people are coming out of University and they are very comfortable with computer technology but I think they are also complacent about computer technology in the degree that they believe if the problem is solvable, it should be solvable on the computer and that software should be available.

The reality of geophysics is that we don’t even start to understand how the earth behaves. We have some useful models for how the earth behaves and we have some useful computer programs that let us approximate that, but the whole objective is to interpret and the computer doesn’t interpret. The computer will allow you to assemble and collate your data and assemble your thoughts and perhaps draw and express your ideas but the concepts you still have to develop between your two ears. What I call the wet-ware zone and it’s the development of that cognitive part of our job that is never going to be replaced. It’s the part that unfortunately is, I think, being neglected in some young people’s upbringing.

I understand what you are saying because when I first got into doing interpretation my mentor first made me interpret on 2D seismic sections by hand and then he made me transfer this interpretation onto a base map. I marked them in and then he made me contour by hand so that I understood what is going on there. Contouring on the computer is not difficult, but this way you get to appreciate what the computer is doing. Unless you understand it you won’t be able to even edit those contours properly.

Yes, I mean computer contouring has a special place in my heart because I started using it very early in my career in an environment where I had to almost program the computer to do it and you had to understand what the algorithm was doing otherwise you would get garbage maps, so in the pursuit of that I learned how computer addresses the problem and how a computer can build the contours. That is not taught and I agree with your mentor that is how every one should learn.

Okay, one final comment I would ask you is about the future of the Canadian Oil Industry.

We are in a very exciting and frightening time of transition right now. In the first place I think when I am in my more cynical moods that the financial community and just the explosion of junior oil and gas companies 10 – 15 years ago has ruined the oil patch to a certain degree because we are no longer being driven by building up reserves. I believe finding new replaceable reserves is a social responsibility that we have and should idealistically be our driving force, rather than the emphasis by a lot of companies now on quarterly return on investment, uplift for the initial investors and how the stock price can be driven upwards to the point where the company can be sold. Now, you may as well be selling shoes or used cars because it has nothing to do per say with the oil patch. Every property in the basin has been bought and sold several times. They are all well known. So the only variable on a company base trying to build through acquisition is “What’s the price of oil”? and how much technology do we need to apply to get out what we have left? So I think that has crippled the oil and gas industry and I also think that the Energy Trust model has done damage to the oil and gas industry because the returns on investment are no longer being poured back into the ground to find new reserves, they are being distributed to the unit holders which is good for the investor but it’s not good for the oil patch.

Our basin has been neglected for a very long time. There seems to be a trend now towards more privately held companies being run by individuals who are more open to the idea of a longer term view of wanting to spend more time and perhaps even build reserves. I think that is potentially a good thing. It all depends on how well they can achieve their goals through financing. I think we are going to see a shift in emphasis, large scale, over the next few years largely because of the conversion requirement of the Trusts back into production companies or explorers. Assuming that it can last a while, I think we will start exploring into deeper parts of the basin because obviously the shallow cretaceous has been explored thoroughly. There is not a lot of new stuff left to find there but as you go deeper into parts of the basin there are many things that we do not understand stratigraphically or structurally and we are going to have to start building that knowledge. Another factor that is involved in this is all the old guys who worked in those deeper parts of the basin 20, 30, 40 years ago, if they haven’t left the patch by now they will be leaving and their knowledge has not been preserved. Some of it has been captured in terms of the Western Canadian Atlas and other means but there is a lot of knowledge that hasn’t been captured and it is going to have to be re- developed.

So, we are on a cusp. We will either move forward in that direction in my opinion, or we will digress back into just a husbandry mode in which we are running as a depleting basin and there is no future to it.

But I look to the South. Because in the States there has been a lot more emphasis over the last few years on new exploration and I think that that eventually will roll over the border and it will rejuvenate the patch particularly with oil prices rising the way they are and security of supply in North America is becoming increasingly important issue.

Let’s hope it does. One last question is – was there anything that I missed out in these questions that you expected to be commenting on?

No, you were very thorough and you were very nice in not asking embarrassing questions, I appreciate that.


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