Reservoir Management in the 21st Century

Dr. Leon Thomsen
Principal Geophysicist
BP Upstream Technology

The petroleum industry has become very adept at finding oil and gas, with wildcat success rates commonly in the range 50%–75%. However, once it is found, we still recover it in ways that are quite similar to the methods of thirty years ago, and with similar efficiency. There has to be a better way. This talk will discuss a vision of how we will do better, using advanced techniques of geoscience and reservoir engineering.

Dr. Thomsen holds degrees in geophysics from Caltech (B.S. 1964) and Columbia (Ph.D. 1969). His academic career began with post-doctoral appointments at CNRS in Paris, and at Caltech, followed by faculty appointments at the State University of New York in Binghamton (1972–80). His industrial career began with 14 years at Amoco, at its famous Tulsa Research Center. Following the change of its mission in 1994, he joined Amoco's worldwide exploration department in Houston. Since the 1999 merger, he serves in BP's Upstream Technology Group in Houston, as Principal Geophysicist.

For his work in seismic anisotropy, Dr. Thomsen was given the Fessenden Award in 1994 by the SEG. He served as the SEG Distinguished Lecturer in 1997, and was Chairman of the Research Committee in 1998–2000. He and his colleagues received the EAGE's Best Paper Award in 1997 for their converted-wave analysis at Valhall. Dr. Thomsen was given Honorary Membership in the GSH in 1998. This year, he serves the SEG as Distinguished Instructor (, offering a short course in advanced geophysics at 25 locations around the world.