Last year saw continued contraction in the seismic data-acquisition industry. This included both onshore and offshore operations. Most notably, WesternGeco exited land and marine data acquisition. (In the case of marine, WesternGeco sold all of its vessels, facilities, and technologies to Shearwater GeoServices.) Ironically, it was just 1 year ago when I discussed in this column the new and exciting acquisition-related advances in the industry that had been developed for the purpose of better data sampling.

With this drop in acquisition business, it is not surprising that there were fewer seismic data-acquisition papers published in SPE proceedings. Nevertheless, several excellent SPE papers covered important acquisition and processing topics. One of the papers deals with the current state of the art for addressing marine challenges. This is described with a 3D case history from the Gulf of Thailand. Another paper deals with leading-edge techniques that were used in a recent onshore 3D survey in Abu Dhabi. And a third paper showcases the application of a relatively new technology, distributed acoustic sensing (DAS). DAS is rapidly finding a home in vertical-seismic-profile surveys and in unconventional programs. Indeed, this third paper deals with a DAS study performed in the Marcellus Shale.

Offsetting the drop in the number of acquisition papers was a proportionate increase in the number of SPE papers that covered other important seismic topics. These included inversion and reservoir characterization, 4D interpretation, seismic for carbonate plays, and machine learning. (Similar to what is happening in other industries, machine learning is receiving tremendous attention now in the seismic world.) Though industry fluctuations may affect our areas of specialty, there will always be room for improvement driven by innovation.

This Month's Technical Papers

Machine-Learning Approach Identifies Wolfcamp Reservoirs

4D Seismic With Reservoir Simulation Improves Reservoir Forecasting

4D Seismic Pilot Successfully Interprets Carbonate Reservoir

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 189888 Seismic Attributes Application for the Distributed Acoustic Sensing Data for the Marcellus Shale: New Insights to Cross-Stage Flow Communication by Payam Kavousi Ghahfarokhi, West Virginia University, et al.

SPE 192948 How Broadband, High-Density, Full-Azimuth, and Point-Source Point-Receiver Acquisition Improves Seismic Interpretation in Onshore Abu Dhabi by Sheikha Al-Naqbi, ADNOC Onshore, et al.

SPE 192956 Comparing Seismic Inversion Methods on a Carbonate Reservoir: A Case Study From the Mishrif Reservoir, Rumaila Field, Iraq by Olabode Joseph Olatoke, BP, et al.

SPE 192927 Effect of Seismic Acquisition and Processing Techniques in Challenging Subsurface Imaging, Block G11/48, Gulf of Thailand by Phansakorn Kaewprain, Mubadala

Mark S. Egan, SPE, is a consulting geophysicist. He worked for Schlumberger and its heritage companies from 1975 to 2016, at which time he retired. Egan’s last position at Schlumberger was as global chief area geophysicist in the Land Unconventionals Group within the WesternGeco segment. His previous postings included chief geophysicist positions in North America, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and London. Egan holds a PhD degree in geophysics, an MS degree in acoustics, and a BS degree in physics and mathematics. He is a member of SPE, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, and various local societies. Egan is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee and can be reached at


Mark S. Egan, SPE, Consulting Geophysicist

01 March 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 3