SEG/AAPG Distinguished Lecturer Fall 2016

Steven Constable

Steven Constable

(Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA)

"Marine EM: The Past, The Present, and The Future"

Abstract

The high cost of deepwater exploration motivated the development of commercial marine magnetotelluric (MT) exploration in 1995, but it wasn’t until marine controlledsource electromagnetic (CSEM) methods burst upon the industry scene with the formation of three new contractors in 2002 that things got really exciting. Now the bubble has burst and the excitement has diminished, but marine EM remains an important tool for offshore exploration. Early mistakes were made as a result of poor instrumentation and a lack of good interpretation tools unlike seismics, EM relies heavily on inversion to produce useful results but both equipment and inversion codes have improved significantly. Still, EM images resistivity, not hydrocarbon content, and false positives occasionally occur, but false negatives are rare. That is, without an EM signature there is little chance of discovering economical hydrocarbons. In this lecture I will review the history, discuss the 10 important things you need to know about marine EM, and look to the future of the method.

Content: Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Biography

Steven Constable studied geology at the University of Western Australia, graduating with first class honors in 1979. In 1983 he received a Ph.D. in geophysics from the Australian National University for a thesis titled “Deep Resistivity Studies of the Australian Crust” and later that year took a postdoc position at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, where he is currently Professor of Geophysics. Steven is interested in all aspects of electrical conductivity, and has made contributions to inverse theory, electrical properties of rocks, mantle conductivity, magnetic satellite induction studies, global lightning, and instrumentation. However, his main focus is marine electromagnetism; he played a significant role in the commercialization of marine EM for hydrocarbon exploration, work that was recognized by the G.W. Hohmann Award in 2003, the 2007 SEG Distinguished Achievement Award, and now the SEG 2016 Reginald Fessenden Award. He also received the R&D 100 Award in 2010, the AGU Bullard Lecture in 2015, followed in 2016 by being named Fellow of the AGU. More recent efforts have involved the development of equipment to map gas hydrate and permafrost. Steven has served as an associate editor for the journal Geophysics, as a section secretary and corresponding editor for the American Geophysical Union, and on the MARELEC steering committee.

Content: Society of Exploration Geophysicists

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Fotos: Aurelian / SGS