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Bureau Seminar, March 18, 2011

On Beyond Zebra: Moving from deep water deposit models to
successful integrated modeling of deep water deposits.

Link to streaming video TBA: available 03.18.2011 at 8:55am

Dr. Lesli WoodDr. Lesli Wood
Dr. Lesli Wood
Quantiative Clastics Laboratory
Bureau of Economic Geology

Quantitative Clastics Laboratory
Bureau of Economic Geology

The resource industry has struggled with how to develop heterolithic reservoirs for nearly 100 years. Today we continue to struggle with the same problems but the deposits are several 1000 meters under water, beneath 1000's of meters of sediments and, as if that is not complicated enough, beneath 1000 meters of salt or other image absorbing material. Today, more than ever we have to move beyond reliance on a single technology, or a single analog for addressing uncertainty, modeling flow and predicting resources in deep water deposits to a more holistic, integrated approach at understanding.

Professor Parke A. Dickey, University of Tulsa Petroleum Geology Professor, in September 1958 is quoted as saying "We usually find oil in a new place with old ideas. Sometimes, we find oil in an old place with a new idea, but we seldom find much oil in an old place with an old idea. Several times in the past we have thought that we were running out of oil, when actually we were running out of ideas." The next generation of subsurface scientists will face increased challenges as we move into ever more hostile and foreign environments in search of energy. Knowing that development of new tools for this search are often few and far between we must teach individuals unique ways for new discovery using integrated approaches to problems utilizing the tools they have at their disposal today. However not all geoscientists are made equal. For geoscientists to be successful in this new hostile world they must be able to visualize and predict subsurface structure, rock and fluid properties. They must be able to seek out, organize and abstract answers from masses of data, and seek new ways to combine observations to gain insight where often there is nothing but darkness. Academics, industry and vendors all have a part to play if the endeavor for these geoscientists to produce an integrated model of the earth is to be a success. Academics must abandon their often Elizabethan approach to education, a system where professors educate students as a personal legacy, with hope for these students to carry on the sometimes abstract interests of their mentor in academia and government arenas. We must recognize that every culture brings a unique perspective and skill set to problems. Industry must find ways to incentivize integrated approaches to problems and devolve habits that constrict expression of new ideas. Vendors must live in the problems if they are to provide solutions.

It was Wallace E. Pratt who said "Oil is found in the minds of men." I would challenge that the next generation of oil-finders will be men who are able to think beyond Z, to discover a new alphabet and therein describe the world in new ways – ways that open new opportunities in understanding and predicting the earth. We all have a role to play in development of these oil finders. This talk will discuss the challenges and the role that we all play in this effort to integrate the future.



Department of Geological Sciences
Institute for Geophysics
The University of Texas
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