“On the whole the attitude is positive… people still see a lot of opportunities for geologists and geophysicists….”

An interview with Peter Duncan

Coordinated by: Satinder Chopra | Photos courtesy: Vince Law
Peter Duncan

Peter Duncan, President of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) was in Calgary in May of 2004, meeting with the CSEG Executive and attending the CSEG National Convention. An experienced exploration geophysicist, Peter has had the opportunity of founding at least three exploration companies that were built on unique and specialized technology ideas. A well traveled man, Peter was gracious enough to sit down with us and share his experiences and ideas on a wide range of topics. Following are excerpts from the interview.

Peter, let’s begin by asking you about your educational qualification and work experience.

All right. I come from the East Coast of Canada. I did my undergraduate degree in geology and physics at the University of New Brunswick. In the summer of 1970 I worked as a junior geologist on a copper exploration project in Newfoundland. I was assigned to Roger Cavin to lug IP equipment around the prospect. As we were in the field with little else to do, Roger took the time with me in the evenings to teach me about the equipment and the reduction of the data. I fell in love with geophysics. The Physics and Geology Departments at UNB got together and designed me a custom program. I graduated from there and went on to the University of Toronto where I did a Masters and a Ph.D. in geophysics, studying under George Garland.

I then went to work for Shell Canada in Calgary and after 3 years doing what would be called applied research, I asked for a job in the real world. They moved me down to Yarmouth Nova Scotia to be the project manager on a tin deposit that Shell Canada had discovered. I had been down in Yarmouth for less than a year when Shell decided to get out of the mining business and transferred me back to Calgary and into the Oil and Gas side. I was made party chief for their East Coast seismic operation off shore Nova Scotia. I did find after working in the minerals end of things as a project manager, where I had a fair amount of independence, that I was attracted to go to a smaller organization and so I moved from Shell to a company called Pulsonic Geophysical in Calgary in 1984 as their Chief Geophysicist. Pulsonic was a Digicon subsidiary at the time and after 18 months with Pulsonic here in Calgary, I was offered an opportunity to be Chief Geophysicist for Digicon in Houston. At the time, while there was three times as much land seismic being shot in the domestic US as there was in Canada, there was ten times as much 3D being shot in Canada. Digicon was interested in bringing some of that Canadian know how down to Houston to develop a 3D market in Houston. I went to Houston in June of 86.

In 1987, after I had been down there for a year, Digicon offered me the opportunity to start a new company for them. The vision was of a consultancy to perform integrated multi-disciplinary field studies that involved seismic, petrophysics, reservoir engineering and geology. At that time the idea of integrated multi-disciplinary studies was really starting to catch on and we were, I think, right out there in front learning how to do them, perhaps even setting a bit of a standard. That company, Exploitech, was purchased by Landmark Graphics in 1989. I went with it as its president and we became Landmark Graphics’ wet lab. Landmark was expanding their software laterally into the various other disciplines to support the idea of integrated multi-disciplinary studies. We were well placed to provide feedback on their products based on real world experiences.

In ‘91 there was a significant down turn in the service business, one of the many cycles that our business goes through. Every down-turn always provides an opportunity. So three of us actually got together and did a leveraged buy-out of our little consulting company back from Landmark and decided that rather than be a consulting firm any more, we would build an oil company. So in December of ‘92 we founded an oil company based around that core group that had been a Landmark subsidiary. We called it 3DX Technologies. Our business plan was to go to the smaller independents in Texas and Louisiana and offer what we thought was major oil company level expertise in the application of 3D to both exploration and field development, but in a partnership scenario, not as a service. We raised some money on Wall Street, eventually took the company public. We sold that oil company to Esenjay Exploration, another public company in ’99.

From there, I kicked around in two little technical start-ups that other people had founded; one of them was a company that was developing human scale immersive, virtual reality as an exploration and development tool, and another was a company that was a spin-off from a biotech firm that had a pattern recognition tool that had been developed for human genome work. We were trying to develop both a product and a service along the lines of applying that tool to seismic interpretation. I had been in that business for almost 2 years when I was introduced to some people who owned some intellectual property in the area of passive-seismic and microseismic monitoring. That seemed like a good opportunity to me and a chance to start to build something on my own again from the ground up, so I left the pattern recognition organization and once again, stepped out to try to found my own company.

So, you are working with your specialty, you are offering microseismic type of service?

Yes. MicroSeismic, Inc. is a service company. We do have some proprietary software but it’s not for sale. We offer passive seismic applications, in two areas. One uses micro- earthquakes as seismic sources to generate 3D structural images, particularly focused at topographically difficult areas where conventional seismic is expensive or culturally challenged, areas where you can’t get the heavy seismic sources in or environmentally sensitive areas, where cutting lines and being intrusive environmentally is both expensive and perhaps not allowed. We go in with receivers only and use microseisms as our sources.

The second area that we are involved with is passive microseismic or acoustic monitoring of development projects. We might be involved with monitoring hydrofrac’s, injection of CO2 or water, steam, anything that has to do with monitoring the dynamic processes that are going on in the field and around the reservoir.

That was a good comprehensive answer. Thank you. What do you think about the present health of the seismic acquisition industry?

Well, I think the evidence would seem to be that we are seeing an uptick in the industry. Mind you, we’ve had high product prices for a long time and the market has not rebounded perhaps as much as we would think. There are people who for some time now have been saying that the shortage of product is going to force more exploration work in order to replace that product. Matt Simmons down in Houston began saying 10 years ago, “You geologists and you geophysicists, your future is assured because we are going to need you as hydrocarbons start to get scarce.” We haven’t seen that quite yet.

Peter and Satinder
Peter and Satinder in conversation

Having said that, I think there are some really strong pressures on our industry that, from the business point of view, we are going to have to face and that are probably going to make the business continue to be a challenge. I was in China, I think in 1990, and had the opportunity to visit BGP, the Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting. I was amazed at the size of the organization. But they were an internal organization that serviced the needs of China, and of course it was a fairly politically isolated country. I just got back from China again and it is a world of difference today. We were told that there are between 180 and 190 land seismic crews that are currently deployed by Chinese entities, all subsidiaries of their oil companies. BGP has 101 seismic crews, 67 of them are internal to China, 34 of them are now overseas, competing with the traditional western operators. They have modern equipment. They have large well educated crews. They obviously have lots of experience. When you have 180 crews working, you have the opportunity to share experiences and to learn from your mistakes so much faster than when you only have 2 or 3. They are a force to be reckoned with and it goes without saying that the salaries and benefits that they pay their employees give them a competitive advantage over the other contractors. And it’s not just seismic crews.

When I walked around the SEG Beijing Exhibition, I was amazed to see the breadth of services, equipment and software that has been written, developed, produced and manufactured in China, that covers every aspect of our business from well logging to seismic interpretation to seismic processing to inversion to geophone and recorder manufacturing. They do everything and they are not doing it just for China any more. On the marine side, there are Russian service companies, again well educated, in a competitive salary situation to us, in a competitive benefit situation to us. Those groups are going to cause pressure on the traditional contractors that is going to prevent us from seeing the rebound in prices that we might expect.

So that’s one area of concern. And then of course there is the continuing environmental pressure, certainly in North America, as the traditional fields for finding oil and gas are starting to decline or be picked over, if you like, and we have to move more into the frontier areas. Those frontier areas are expensive to operate in because they are mountainous or they are treed, or whatever. They are expensive to operate in because they are often protected environmentally. We want to protect our country side but it makes operations difficult, slow and expensive. That aspect is also going to make it difficult for our service companies to see a rebound.

I think we are waiting for something new to happen. If you look at our history there have been these little surges of activity, a surge of activity in seismic when analog seismic recordings began to be readily available, a burst of activity when we moved to digital and a burst of activity when we moved to 3D. Where is that next surge of activity? I don’t see it on the horizon. People have claimed it would be 4-D which is certainly proving more and more useful, but we haven’t seen 4-D be the savior of our industry yet. Multi-component? There have been some who said, “Look, multi-component is going to cause everything to get re-shot and it’s going to be the savior of our industry.” But we are not seeing that. We haven’t seen that body of case history that proved that multi-component is justified economically.

I was going to ask you if there is an innovative and revolutionary technique on the horizon. You have already answered that.

I should say that I think there are opportunities. There are these new areas of development; the heavy oil, the bitumen mining, the coal bed methane, the methane hydrates. Those are areas for which our geophysical technology hasn’t found a consistent application. We are seeing micro-seismic techniques being applied to the heavy oil development and some talk about how to use geophysical techniques to help with the development of the coal bed methane. I think we will find ways to innovate and apply our geophysical technology to these targets.

You have been associated with the pattern recognition techniques and my question here is, do you think that it is really effective pattern recognition techniques that we are using now and that is helping the interpreters?

Well, certainly the interpretation of seismic data is a pattern recognition discipline. The computer that we have always used, and I think is still the most powerful for pattern recognition, is the human mind. The human mind has the ability to apply real time constraints that make it more effective than any other pattern recognition tool that I have seen. The problem of building a computer based pattern recognition tool is a very complex, multi-component problem. I have seen some really interesting results in pattern recognition that apply in one area or another, but the tools hardly ever seem to be transportable any distance. So in other words, you get a good learning set and you develop a technique for pattern recognition that’s effective in a given area, then when you take it somewhere else it doesn’t seem to work. I think the problem is associated with finding the right set of basis functions that can be generalized over large areas or large variations in geology.

Do you think multi-component data as it exists today provides the extra value that we are looking for? Does it justify the cost or the effort in going and acquiring data and then into processing it and interpreting it?

I have to say that in theory I am and have been a big supporter of multi-component data. I have always had the idea that the indirect observation of the shear-wave energy through AVO has to be less correct, less useful than the direct observation of the shear energy. The development of the understanding of how to capture, process and isolate converted waves in order to directly observe the shear energy balance, allowing you to then have more direct observations of VP & VS, all just sounds to me like the right thing to be doing. Now, I have shot a couple of converted wave surveys myself, had the data processed and then run smack into the problem of making some clear interpretations. I have thought that as the tools for doing the interpretations caught up, the practice would catch on. I have felt that the cost of acquiring the extra data is a bit inflated because the service companies are wary of it, wary of what problems they will encounter.

Once upon a time people used to say 3D was too expensive for anything except development work. Perhaps it was then, but now it has become a commodity. I have always felt that there would be that maturing of the multi-component technology leading to lower prices. Now people are telling me that they are doing shear wave surveys and they are getting good results. They are calibrating their P-wave data, then they don’t have to continue doing more shear wave acquisition in that particular area. The expensive projects, like ocean bottom work, where it is not that much more expensive to do the 3C or 4-C should provide the body of work that will prove the technology and allow it to catch on. But it’s going to take longer than I had hoped.

Being SEG President you have a wider exposure, as you travel such a lot, meet so many people, so you have a better feel for things. What is your perception about the overall future of our industry?

You know, if you just go on the basis of what you see in North America, particularly the United States and maybe a little bit in Canada, it’s pretty depressing. I think our people, our earth science community, geologists and geophysicists in the oil business have been beaten down pretty hard. We all have friends who have left the industry. We know that enrollments in Universities are down. When I talk to my compatriots around here, no matter how well they seem to be doing right now or how much they are excited about their particular piece of work, a lot of their mind share is taken up with worry, concern and discontent.

I don’t see that same attitude when I go overseas. I was in Bahrain for the Geo 2004, and there they talk about how two thirds of the world’s remaining conventional reserves are sitting within a small circle of the Middle East and a third of that is sitting within Saudi Arabia. Those guys are doing exciting, innovative things on a day to day basis. Drilling wells, finding reserves, testing new science, driving back the frontier, because they have the money to do it. Those people are excited and they are doing good stuff.

Peter Duncan

I went to Mexico and the Mexican Government had announced, last fall, a 16 billion dollar, 6 year investment in the E&P side of Mexico to increase their daily production by 40% within 6 years, to increase their reserves by 75%, and to achieve 100% reserve replacement within 3 years. Those people are well employed and they are spending money to try new things.

In India, their production is up 40% in, I think it is, 3 or 4 years. ONGC had just announced a privatization plan where they would sell off 10% of their national production to private companies. The New Delhi Paper, when I landed, had a full page ad from a brand new oil company, being started up by a cell phone company. They were advertising for presidents, engineers, geologists, geophysicists, secretaries and door men. While the students there were worried about jobs, there was a sense, perhaps not as upbeat as their IT industry, but there was a sense that things were opening up, that there were private companies moving in and there were going to be jobs.

In Oman, I gave a lecture at the Sultan Qaboos University to 60 geology and geophysics students, all of them from Oman, all of them excited about the prospects of work in their field. And obviously, in China things are blow and go.

So, when I go to the rest of the world, the idea I get is that people still see a lot of opportunities for geologists and geophysicists and they see an industry that is still, by their standards, making lots of money and growing - not shrinking. They hear all the stories about what’s going on in North America and it does worry them, but on the whole the attitude that I get is positive.

I think that attitude is the correct one.

Well, that’s very encouraging. You know, R&D in our industry has come down over the last, say, one or two decades; gradually it has declined because oil companies feel they don’t need to get into that and labs and research centers run by oil companies like Amoco and others, have been shut down for whatever reasons. Do you think that in the absence of all this, we will have a problem in that the basic research will not be forthcoming?

There are two things that I would like to say about that. The first is yes, no one can deny that the major oil companies, in particular, have closed research labs and reduced their obvious expenditure on research. What they have done is move toward outsourcing of research. The major geophysical contractors will tell you that they are still spending a disproportionate amount of their money on geophysical research. Clearly their goal is to further develop their products and their services. The oil companies believe they pay for that research through the service fees, but they let the market drive the service fees down so they get the benefit of the research at bargain basement prices. Smart.

One thing that the oil companies are doing that I think isn’t widely appreciated, is that they have all started venture funds. They are seeking out the small entrepreneur who has got an idea, and they are seeding money into those little guys. It’s a marvelous business move. When they had large research labs, one of the problems that they consistently suffered was getting the technology that they developed from the lab out to the field. One tactic was to give the technology away. Give it to the contractors, because they are the experts at deployment. I think to some extent they have found an even better way now. What they are doing is funding the little entrepreneur, saying – “go develop that technology and then sell it to some of the big boys, the big contractors”. A lot more work gets done for less money. They depend upon a sort of survival of the fittest research environment. All these entrepreneurs are out there competing with each other, trying to come up with the best new ideas. Every now and then one of them hits a home run, and the investors, including the oil company venture funds, get all their money back. So I think they end up with a much more financially efficient way of getting the applied research done and delivered back to them as a service. Some will say, “ Well what about the fundamental research then?”, because the little entrepreneur usually doesn’t do fundamental research. This brings me to my second issue.

We are seeing a decrease in the number of technical papers that get submitted to journals like Geophysics. The little entrepreneur doesn’t have time to publish and he isn’t so inclined to go give away his latest idea. This is a problem in that we don’t have an environment where ideas are freely exchanged. So, I think the good side of what the oil companies are doing, is that it’s financially efficient and it encourages the entrepreneurs to go out there and find new near-term applications that will benefit our industry. The bad side is that we are seeing a little bit of a shut-down of communication and a loss of that technical professionalism that used to invigorate our industry and generate the ideas for the next great leap. That is going to be a problem for us down the road in five or six years, or maybe next year.

The average age of the E&P workforce in our industry is more than 45, or shall we say that the E & P workforce is maturing. So, is the SEG thinking about addressing this issue in some ways?

Absolutely. Thinking about it. Worried about it. I love this poetic phrase that is getting passed around about the “impending crew change”. SEG has really been trying to focus on attracting and retaining student members. Halliburton has a program that benefits the AAPG, the SPE and the SEG by paying 100% of the student membership fee. Our challenge is to create programs that cause the student members to become active and stay on once they graduate.

Apache also.

Apache funds the Global membership. We now have 3400 student members in the SEG, so that’s approaching 20% of our population. We have 130 student sections at Universities in more than 30 countries in the world. That all sounds pretty good. Free membership. They get printed copies of the journal. We give them free admission to the Distinguished Instructor Short Course, and the annual meeting. We are working hard to put more services on the web because that suits the young people. We are also running more and more Student Job Expos. We now have four that we support in the US jointly with AAPG, and industry sponsorship. The students come in and we have a day or two of poster paper presentations as well as an interview process that is set up with the oil companies and the contractors who want to hire. We present an opportunity for the students to show their wares. The oil company staff walk around and look at the work that is being done in a very focused way. The students are there. You can sit down and talk to them and then there are interviews scheduled for which the students can sign up. These expos are very popular. We are getting 200 – 300 students coming to each.

We are starting a virtual Student Expo in cooperation with the AAPG, which is going to be a Student Expo on the web. Students will be able to put their picture, a little movie clip, their resume, even a sample of their work on the page. Corporate members of the SEG will be able to browse the web, see the students and also advertise jobs.

Peter Duncan

This gets us to a core issue. Having free memberships to attract students into the society is all well and good, but there aren’t enough students in the Universities. We have to get to the seniors and the juniors in High School and the first year University students. We have to start selling them on our business as a career. What attracts the students? Jobs! The press we have been getting about the loss of jobs in our industry is one of the reasons why we don’t have enough students. With this impending crew change we are going to have more jobs than we have people to fill them. That is the message we have to start getting out from our industry to the students. That first, there are going to be jobs, and second, that we are not the evil tree chopping, grass flattening group as we sometimes get painted. That we are, all of us, people who grew up in the time when environmental awareness was coming on strong and that we are every bit as much concerned about that as anybody else.

In the United States there is a wonderful organization called the American Geological Institute. The AGI is an organization of organizations. The SEG belongs to it, as do the AAPG, the GSA, even some international organizations, like the Geological Society of London. AGI’s whole focus is public education on the resource industries. The SEG is working with them to develop programs and materials aimed at High School and early year University students, in order to begin to attract them back into our industry. One of the things that I have been talking to people about doing down south relates to College and Career nights that most high schools host in the fall. When you go to those College and Career nights you find various Universities with small booths or tables advertising their programs. I would like to get a program together where the Society of Exploration Geophysicists sets up a booth to advertise careers in geophysics with pamphlets from many schools. Often, as part of these programs there are 20-minute talks given about the schools. I would like to see us give a 20-minute talk about careers in the Earth Sciences. Tell the kids about the opportunities for world travel, for playing with a lot of really neat toys, for treasure hunting on a scale that you cannot believe. Show them the thrill of discovery. Make them see how we are environmentally conscious. Do this not through impersonal movies or books or pamphlets but with real people standing up, talking with them. At the end of the day, personal contact is what brings people into an industry.

That is interesting. In what way are you steering the SEG, now that you are at the helm of affairs, than what other predecessors have done?

Oh, I don’t think I am doing anything particularly different and certainly –

No, it is the contribution that a new person comes in and tries to make by way of his ideas, that’s what I was referring to.

Sure. I understand. What are my particular concerns this year and what have we actually done?

First let me say that I think our current activities are all a logical outgrowth of what’s been done in the past. What has been different this year or what has perhaps really spurred along some of the programs, some of the specific concerns that we have this year, has been the spurt in international growth in our organization. We now have, as of the end of March, more than 21000 members and more than half of those members live outside the USA. That statistic leads one to say – “Whoa, what do we need to do to really recognize this change in membership and make sure that the way that the organization functions really reflects where our members are and what their needs are?” This trend has been developing over the last few years. The President of the organization and the Executive Committee are spending more time travelling around and visiting the various sections and member groups around the world. We are spending a lot of money on web based communications. Why? Because that gets to all of our members much more easily, much more cost effectively, much more quickly than any paper publication can. The DISC Program which was started six years ago is one of those programs that recognized that this trend. We send this course around the world to 20 or 30 locations, mostly outside the USA. But even with the DISC Program travelling around the world, we only see 10% of our members. So we are going to have that DISC Program, on the web, so that anyone, anywhere in the world, whether they are in Myanmar or Miami, can click on our web page and feel that they are attending, not some sort of half-baked, boiled down version, but in a rich way as the web allows. So we are spending a lot more money this year upgrading our hardware facilities and changing the focus of our on-line Governing Board and staff to be concerned more about content on the Web, to turn our web page into an electric equivalent of The Leading Edge. We have Geophysics as our flagship technical journal. We have TLE as a newsy, chatty –

Light reading stuff?

Now we have to focus on our web content and make our web into a magazine as well. We’ve just introduced a concept of Ecommunities. I think of them in my poor technical way as chat rooms. There is going to be an opportunity for special interest groups to set up spaces in our web that are dedicated to particular problems or concerns or special interests. Members anywhere will be able to subscribe, to contribute to them. They will become ongoing live forums on some of the technical issues and maybe some of the social issues that we are dealing with as geophysicists.

We have also been concerned about a couple of other things in the light of the change of demographics. We have been concerned about our dues structure. We have been concerned about our governance structure. We have been concerned about our physical presence around the world.

We have just spent a fair amount of time trying to understand how the level of dues is perceived around the world and just what our members can afford. We have done this by talking to our members, by looking at what some of our sister organizations do. Our sister organizations, SPE for instance, tend to be moving towards a variable dues structure that changes from region to region based on the Gross National Product or some other World Bank metric. SEG introduced the idea of a Global Member a few years ago. Under this concept members from certain lower income countries have a $5.00 membership fee. Services are reduced. For example we won’t send paper magazines to those members. In fact, we cannot even collect the $5.00 because it would cost us more to collect $5.00 from a member in India or China than it would to actually get the $5.00. Fortunately Apache stepped in to pay the $5.00, which was great, and they are continuing that program. We feel this program doesn’t go far enough. My Executive Committee is going to come to Council this year with a proposal to change the due structure more along the lines of what the SPE has, where there will be different regions of the world that will pay differing amounts.

Now the second area of concern is governance. The founders’ of our organization tied ability to vote, hold office and participate in the governance of our organization to two criteria: experience and ethics. The rules require eight years of experience for Active Member status and that 3 other active members vouch that you are of good character. When we created Global Membership, we said that if you live in a low income country, you can join for $5.00 but you can’t vote, no matter how many years of experience you have. That decision disenfranchises a lot of people. It attaches ability to pay to right to vote and hold office. We want to begin to have our Executive Committee and our Council reflect the broadened experiences and skill levels that exist around the world. So we are going to suggest to the Council that we remove that restriction on voting for the lower income countries.

Peter Duncan

As for physical presence, one of the most powerful is through regional conferences and exhibitions. We’ve put money into the budget for next year and we have given specific instructions to our Tulsa staff that we now see it as one of our prime directives to start putting technical and commercial meetings on around the world, getting closer to our dispersed membership. The Annual Meeting is going to become more and more of a pinnacle event that attracts the best from all of these regional meetings. We intend to get more aggressive about going to the SEG Beijing, the CSEG, the SOVG, etc. and attracting the best papers from each of these, twisting arms, maybe even give scholarships, to get those papers coming to our Central Meeting, which then becomes where you go to see the best of the best.

We have some other plans as well. You may not know it but the OTC, the Off Shore Technology Conference in Houston, was actually initiated, that is the original idea was from a dear sweet man who is a member of the SEG and the GSH in Houston. It was his idea 35 years ago, and that Convention has had an attendance as high as 108 or 110 thousand people in the mid-eighties. It now attracts 50 or 60 thousand people every year. There is a two-year waiting list to get exhibition space. It is owned, collectively, by the SPE, the SEG, the AAPG and others. It is a fabulous role model for how our various societies can cooperate on a large exhibition. We have committed to do an exhibition in the same sort of partnership in the Middle East. We are calling it the International Petroleum Technology Conference. The first IPTC is going to be in Qatar in November of 2005. We hope to clone the idea into a major convention in the far east and South America as well.

That’s a very good idea. What are your other interests apart from the science?

Oh, heavens. Between starting a new Company and being President of the SEG I have had a pretty full year.

I would say that my other big hobby, and most in the SEG will know this, is music. Anybody who went to the President’s Reception last year and saw my son and I playing –

Yah, we saw it and I read that in the Leading Edge as well.

I have always enjoyed music. When I lived in Calgary and then later Houston, I used to sing Barbershop. I was a member of the SPEBSQSA, The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. I did that for many years. I have always done music in one form or another. Over the last ten years I have spent more time doing folk music and actually performing occasionally in bars in Houston. I think I’ve even got paid for it once. Or maybe I got paid not to come back, I am not sure. My son, my older boy, started taking violin lessons about 20 years ago when we still lived in Calgary. Four or five years ago when he got old enough, I began to take him to the bars with me. We had a little Folk Act that we called “Jeff and his Dad”. Through that he got introduced to the Houston Folk Community which is a marvelous, close knit, talented community. Now I spend most of my time going to listen to him play with other musicians who are far better than I. But still, if I am not doing SEG stuff and if I am not working on building my own company, then you will probably find me playing my guitar, writing the odd song and trying to find some people to play with.

Wonderful! One last question. When is Calgary hosting the next CSEG-SEG Joint Convention?

That is a really good question. We talked about that yesterday at the CSEG Board Meeting. The problem we have is that the facilities in Calgary are just inadequate. At the 2000 Convention that we had here, the exhibitors were not happy with the exhibit space and the Technical Program Chair, Peter Cary who is now CSEG President, had a really difficult time providing the right facilities for speakers. We were told that Calgary had plans to upgrade their convention facilities opening the door for a “next time”.

We were informed yesterday that the decision has been made to put those developments on hold, that Calgary is not going to improve Stampede Park and increase the facilities to the point where we would be comfortable holding another convention here. Now, if that decision is changed we’ll put Calgary back on the schedule because the people loved coming here.

Another point needs to be made. Yesterday we asked the CSEG, “How can we help you turn the CSEG Convention into a broader regional convention, drawing on geophysicists from a larger area including Denver and the Northern United States, where a lot of the geological and geophysical problems are similar?” We want to turn this into one of our larger regional conventions. I think that is the near term hit for us. It doesn’t have to wait for Calgary to improve Stampede Park. Let’s grow the CSEG Convention together.

Well that sounds very encouraging. Peter, it has been a pleasure talking to you and I thank you for giving us this time.

It’s been my pleasure. Thanks very much.


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