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  • GAC SPOTLIGHT

    120 THE LEADING EDGE JANUARY 2008

    On 3 November 2007, as part of the celebration of the 20thanniversary of its founding, Abdullah Al-Naim, the first pres-ident of the Dhahran Geoscience Society and now SaudiAramco vice president of Exploration, made adinner meeting presentation that sum-marized its success in advancing thetechnical and professional develop-ment of its members and their role inthe exploration and development ofthe nations hydrocarbon resources.

    Since 1987, DGS (initially the DhahranGeological Society) has fostered technical andprofessional networking and cooperation between its mem-bers via dinner meetings, technical symposiums, conferences,workshops, distinguished lecturers, affiliations with majorprofessional societies, and many other activities (Figure 1).

    The main driver behind the founding of the Dhahran GGSwas the need for a forum at which geologists could share tech-nical ideas and promote professional development. In 1998,DGS became the Dhahran Geoscience Society. This transfor-mation to a multidisciplinary organization that encompassesboth geology and geophysics and related sciences occurredat the same time as its affiliation with SEG.

    The Societys monthly dinner meetings, popular since itsinception, have featured well-known scientists and technicalexperts. DGS also publishes the Oil Drop (a bimonthly newslet-ter providing technical information on geology and geo-physics, upcoming events and field trips), GeoFrontier, andcosponsors GeoArabia.

    DGS now has more than 500 active members and, as partof assisting their technical development, has been proactivein the international arena through affiliations with major pro-

    fessional societies, such as SEG, AAPG, andEAGE.

    Since 1991, DGS has jointly orga-nized many one- and two-daycourses and hosted several distin-guished lecturers in various techni-

    cal specialties. DGS is currently or-ganizing the Geo-2008 Conference in

    Bahrain and arranging the tour for SEGs MiddleEast Regional Distinguished Lecturer.

    DGS has, throughout its history, supported local univer-sities and schools and partnered with these institutions toattract students to the geosciences. DGS encourages and pro-motes interests in geosciences at universities within theKingdom through educational days, information sessions forstudents, and presentations on the latest technologies. DGSalso sponsors attendance of geoscience students at regionalconferences, provides DGS activities available to students atno charge, organizes conferences for students, sponsored (withSEG) the regional Geoscience Challenge Bowl in 2007, and par-ticipates in Science Week at schools to engage precollege stu-dents.

    AHMAD OTAIBI, President,DGSRALPH BRIDLE, President-Elect of DGS

    Dhahran Geoscience Society celebrates its 20th anniversary

    Figure 1. Twenty years ago, the DGS began as the Dhahran Geological Society, with founders (left to right) Hussain Otaibi, Abdulla A. Al-Naim,Ibrahim Jallal and Rami Kamal.

  • JANUARY 2008 THE LEADING EDGE 121

    In early November 2007, I wenton a consulting project inMongolia under contract with alocal mining company to evaluateits coal deposits. Given the coun-trys rich, diverse mineral re-sources and its strategic locationnext to China (its major potentialmarket), Mongolia is poised to rapidly develop its naturalresource base.

    The companys coal reserves are about 400+ km southeastof the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. While en route to the site, Isaw several indigenous animals roaming freely (Figure 1).

    The job of the joint exploratory was to evaluate thereserves in preparation for a major coal exploration projectin 2008. Some interesting sites within the boundaries of thecoal basin are the exposed petrified forests.

    During my last few days in Mongolia, I visited a smallgeophysical company, Magic Signals, based in Ulaanbaatar,that is staffed by relatively young geophysicists and geol-ogists (Figure 2). I brought up the idea of becoming SEGmembers and forming the countrys first geophysical soci-ety, and the proposal was well received.

    I consider Mongolia the last major frontier in onshoremineral and hydrocarbon exploration. The country is largelyun- or underexplored and, as a result, the application andlevel of geophysical activities in this country are expectedto soon increase as global demand for energy resources andcommodities continues to rise annually (Figure 3).

    LAWRENCE M. GOCHIOCOGeoNano Technology Company

    Houston, USA

    Mongolia: The final geophysical frontier

    Figure 1. Double-humpedcamels native to Mongolia.

    Figure 2. Charter members of the future Mongolian GeophysicalSociety?

    Figure 3. Exploratory geoscience team posing in front of petrified woodstacked by Mongolian nomads.

    On 22 November 2007, Rodney WilliamCalvert passed away at his home in Houston,USA, after an extended illness. He was 63.

    Calvert was born on 7 September 1944in Rugby, U.K. He studied physics atOxford and geophysics at Imperial College,London. As he liked to put it, he started hisfirst time-lapse work measuring continen-tal drift in Iceland in 1966 as part of his PhD.After obtaining his doctorate in 1969, hejoined Shell in the Hague to work at the pro-cessing center, then housed at vanAlkemadelaan 700. In those early years,when punch cards were used to programcomputers, he was already building a rep-utation as a knowledgeable geophysicistwho inspired and mentored others. Duringthis period, he developed techniques formaking band-limited seismic impedancesections, an approach to interpretation thatlater developed into a new field in geophysicsseismicinversion. In 1971, he worked jointly with Texas Instrumentsto develop software for the first seismic supercomputer.

    When the management of Shells exploration operationsin Borneo moved from Brunei to Miri in Sarawak in 1975,Calvert was one of many staff transferred there. He becamethe manager of the new Phoenix processing center, and devel-oped prestack Kirchhoff migration for imaging steep dips inthe complex geological structures offshore Sabah, NorthBorneo. He helped seismic interpreters understand more about

    geophysics, and they much appreciated hisexplanations of some of the more esotericaspects of the discipline. Social life amongstall these new expatriates was quite intenseand Calvert was a most enthusiastic par-ticipant. Many Shell staff were involved inamateur dramatics and, although he didntlike treading the boards, he could be reliedon backstage, even spear-carrying or asvocal support from the audienceespe-cially where the bar was located!

    After this assignment in Malaysia,Calvert was transferred to Shell London in1979 as seismic processing center manager.He continued to support local research, act-ing as a catalyst for the development ofShells multiple elimination programMAGIC, prestack redatuming of shots andreceivers, and development of noise reduc-tion techniques on stacklamps (now Shells

    TIGER). He pioneered the production of 3D seismic data setsafter he became head of Geophysics in Shell Expro. Here alsohis coaching skills were paramount. Calvert had an extraor-dinary ability to explain complex topics, like prestack waveequation migration, not in equations but with pictures. Hislack of pompousness and his mischievous sense of humorwould not let him use the fancy names or acronyms, so histechniques were simply called Good, Better, and Best. Better wasthe precursor of what is now known in the Shell SIPMAPworldas FLATER. Together with a few colleagues, Calvert started

    m e m o r i a l

    Rodney Calvert1944-2007

  • the first 3D processing on a Shell operating company mini-computer. He always had one foot in the operational and onefoot in the research camp. His support for staff doing moreoff-the-wall experimental stuff rather than just turnarounddrudgery was certainly instrumental in building and main-taining the reputation of Shell as the leading-edge seismicprocessor of the time. He led Shells early 3D acquisition andprocessing efforts in the North Sea in the 1980s with innova-tive flair.

    In 1984, Calvert became the head of what was then calledLRE/5, the geophysical research department at KSEPL, theKoninklijke/Shell Exploratie en Productie Laboratorium inRijswijk, the Netherlands. This was years before Shell glob-alized its research and development, and KSEPL and BRC(Shell Oils Bellaire Research Center in Houston) each had itsown management team. Efficiency and avoidance of dupli-cation in research and development were then achieved bymeetings in Rijswijk or Houston. Managers and research staffspent a few days together in technical presentations and learn-ing from each other. Many of the research geophysicists atKSEPLin the mid-1980s remember these meetings and the latenights out in Houston with Rodney, who showed those fromthe Netherlands what they needed to know about oil town#1. These were seminal years for geophysics. He broughtShells first Landmark 3D interpretation workstation toKSEPL, and for a couple of years this miracle of technology,with stunning 3D images and interpretations of subsurfacedata from Nigeria was showcased to many Shell and otherVIPs. Since it was built on a 286 processor, turnaround timewas often tens of minutes, a far cry from what is possibletoday, so it gave 3D interpreters ample time to think aboutother things whilst waiting. During these years, Calvertsdepartment also laid the foundations of 3D ray-based veloc-ity model building, and the introduction of 3D Kirchhoffmigration in the operating units. Software developed at thattime is still used in Shell.

    During these years, he demonstrated and explained tohis staff how important it is to work with other disciplines.He had a good overview of all the projects in research anddevelopment and the head offic

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