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Bureau Seminar, March 31, 2014

Industry-driven advances in predictive earth systems modelling: addressing the paleotopograhy challenge in 4D

Allison Thurmond
AAPG Distinguished Lecturer

Manager for Research and Development in
basin and petroleum systems analysis

As the cost of finding and extracting oil and gas rises, petroleum companies must increasingly resort to proprietary and custom technology to gain or maintain a competitive edge. In contrast, the data we purchase and human resources employed are shared throughout the industry. In order for a company to differentiate itself from its peers, it must gain a competitive edge by improving the way their human resources interact, interrogate, interpret, and most importantly understand their data. This need has fueled a technology pull from vendors and a technology push within the petroleum companies. The amount of research conducted within the industry continues to grow at a strong pace, and the speed at which new technologies are becoming obsolete is also increasing. The classroom will never be able to fully train incoming students for the software and hardware they will face on even their first day in the job, much less during their first years in the industry. It will not be the students who are the fastest and most knowledgable about a software package that will be the most agile in this changing environment; it will be those students who have mastered the fundamental geological concepts, have had cross-disciplinary training, have demonstrated creativity, and have a passion for innovation who will be best prepared for the technology evolution that will continue to drive competitiveness in the oil and gas industry. In this talk, I will show examples of how quickly our technology is evolving in this landscape and show the importance of concepts over keystrokes.

About Allison Thurmond
Allison (Allie) Kennedy Thurmond is currently a manager in Statoil for research and development in basin and petroleum systems analysis in Bergen, Norway. She works with a team of talented researchers spread throughout Norway and in Houston who are developing cutting edge technologies in topics such as basin analysis, geodynamics, petroleum systems analysis and pore pressure and seal. She graduated with a B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Texas at Dallas where her graduate focus included structural geology, tectonics, remote sensing and GIS. Her Ph.D. work involved understanding the structural / tectonic evolution of the Afar Depression, Ethiopia through field work and remote sensing (i.e. radar interferometry). Prior to joining Statoil (formerly Norsk Hydro) in 2005 and throughout her undergraduate and graduate education, she worked for the US Department of Commerce for more than a decade as a Supervisory Survey Statistician.

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