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recruitment special 2011






Opportunities Worldwide As a leading technology company in the field of geophysical science, PGS can offer exciting opportunities within seismic exploration. We are looking for new BSc, MSc and PhD graduates with geoscience, engineering and other numerate backgrounds to join us. We are offering careers in the following areas: • Interpretation Geoscientists • Geoscience and Engineering • Data Processing • Field Crew – Marine

Special Features

In PGS you will be encouraged to work hard to learn new skills, supported by an organization that prioritizes innovation, people, delivery and Health & Safety. If you can demonstrate your willingness to meet challenges, you will never lack new opportunities in PGS. To learn more, please visit, or contact us at

A new geoscientist for a new millennium How Landmark founder sounded out alternative career Quick guide to recruiting top talent through social media What it takes for women

A Clearer Image

Interactive Depth Imaging Services

Interactive depth imaging services from WesternGeco GeoSolutions enable the integration of measurements and data across scales and disciplines— within a time frame that can significantly impact on the uncertainty inherent to the E&P process. A key component of these services is the LSI localized seismic imaging software package, which can be run on a single workstation or a cluster of computer nodes. Prestack depth migrations on a Gulf of Mexico 2-OCS block are run in just a few minutes on a single high-end workstation. Interactive depth imaging can make a measurable impact on many geophysical processing applications, including: „  SGD* Seismic Guided Drilling „  Quantitative Uncertainty Analysis

Building a

geoscience career By Andrew McBarnet


ur annual Recruitment Special is an important service provided by the EAGE as part of its commitment to nurturing the next generation of geoscientists and engineers. It offers an opportunity to reflect on the current state of the profession as it might be viewed by outsiders, especially students, graduates, and others who may be considering a career in this field. We would like to think that the many human stories told here about life as a geoscientist will speak to this audience.

There is much more of course, with articles dealing with careers expectations, training and leadership issues. If there is one clear message, it is that social media need to be embraced by educators in order to be current with the new Web savvy generation.


Potential employers in oil and gas, near surface geoscience, and related engineering disciplines are one of the key target audiences in this publication by enabling them to assess the availability of human capital and the investment needed to make their area of employment attractive. In this respect the report on the work of the IUGS Global Geoscience Taskforce is particularly relevant in its identification of global trends in geoscience education and recruitment, and the need to fill the gap in the geoscience professional ranks about to be left by the retiring ‘baby boomer’ generation. There is a clear warning that schools and universities in many countries need to switch up the gears if we are to attract the quota of geoscientists necessary to meet the range of technology requirements of modern society that need ‘geo’ support.

SPECIAL intro • mcbarnet 

We also include a snapshot of some of the ways EAGE is encouraging a new generation of geoscientists and engineers. At our major events, an ever increasing amount of effort is being put into special programmes organized for students with the intention of engaging them at an early stage with the professional community that will soon be part of their lives. The Job Centre goes one step further and facilitates face to face meetings between companies and their future workforce.

Table of contents Recruitment Special EAGE Publications Officer Neil Goulty, Durham University ( Editor Andrew McBarnet ( Publications & Communications Manager Marcel van Loon (

A new geoscientist for a new millennium Paradigm CEO Eldad Weiss looks at what the future holds for the next generation of geoscientists.

Publications Manager Linda Molenaar (


Publications Coordinator Salima Gader ( Account Manager Subscriptions & Recruitment Stefan van der Kooij ( Production Co Productions bv ( Editorial/Advertising enquiries EAGE Office (address below)   EAGE Head Office EAGE Office PO Box 59 3990 DB Houten The Netherlands Tel.: +31 88 9955055 Fax: +31 30 6343524 E-mail: Website: Regional Office Russia & CIS EAGE Geomodel LLC Starokaluzhskoye shosse, 62 Build. 1, korp. 6, 3rd floor 117630, Moscow, Russia Tel.: +7 495 611 9285 Fax: +7 495 611 9286 E-mail: Website:

SPECIAL table of contents • page 2 

Regional Office Middle East EAGE Middle East FZ-LLC Dubai Knowledge Village Block 13 Office F-25 PO Box 501711 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel.: +971 4 369 3897 Fax: +971 4 360 4702 E-mail: Website:


Regional Office Asia Pacific EAGE Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd. Signature Office Suites Menara Rohas Perkasa 8th floor, West Wing Jalan P Ramlee 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: + 60 32 719 5551 Fax: + 60 32 719 5511 Email: Website: EAGE members change of address notification Send to: EAGE Membership Dept at EAGE Office (address above)

What it takes for women How can women assume leadership roles in a largely male-dominated business?

18 What they're saying is unconventional Academics/researchers and geoscience students ponder on the implications and challenges of unconventional resource developments.

How Landmark founder sounded out an alternative career A profile of the extraordinary transition of Dr Andy Hildebrand from innovative geoscientist to music industry guru.



Unconventional view Social Media

8 Global change faces geoscience profession 14 A new geoscientist for a new millennium 18 What it takes for women to be leaders in the oil and gas industry 22 How leadership and accelerated development in E&P reduce time to autonomy 26 Bridging skills gaps in near surface 31 Unconventional resources pose fresh challenges for our future geoscientists and engineers

40 Learning in the oil and gas industry needs to embrace our social networks 46 Quick guide to recruiting top talent through the social media

Career moves

48 How Landmark founder sounded out an alternative career 52 Geoscientists have opportunity to work worldwide with CGGVeritas 58 Starting out on a career in the E&P geoscience field 62 Land surveyor takes the plunge offshore 64 A landmark moment for one job searcher

Calendar 2011 66

SPECIAL table of contents • page 3 

Professional judgements

4 Recruitment works with EAGE! 6 Students will be challenged to reach the top at EAGE's Vienna Annual Meeting


EAGE Update

Recruitment with EAGE! T

here has been increasing discussion in the past decade over future recruitment for the oil and gas workforce worldwide. For example, the ‘baby-boomer’ generation – a highly experienced group of oil and gas professionals – is retiring from the industry. The big economic turndown and oil company downsizing just before the Millenium caused many prospective graduates to opt for careers in other industries. At the same time, worldwide hydrocarbon reserves are decreasing and oil and gas professionals are facing everincreasing technical challenges. Take all these points into account and include the recent economic crisis, and you will see that solutions are needed urgently.


SPECIAL eage update • page 4 

EAGE has as one of its goals to support the recruitment needs of its 16,000 membership, many of whom are involved in the oil industry. One of its most successful initiatives to date has been the Job Centre, launched in 2006 as a feature of each

EAGE Job Centre in action.

Annual Meeting. As a result the exhibition floor at the 73rd EAGE Conference & Exhibition in Vienna from 23–26 May 2011 will include a Job Centre, an area, dedicated to recruitment where students, professionals, and company representatives can meet in a relaxed atmosphere and discuss potential career opportunities. At the event, oil and service companies like Statoil and Schlumberger have a recruitment booth to present the professional employment opportunities in their companies. According to feedback from Job Centre exhibitors, it is a superb way of meeting and finding potential recruits. Furthermore, they find the quality of the visitors to be very high. The idea is spreading, and this year EAGE has been invited to host a Job Market at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). This event, taking place from 3–8 April in Vienna, Austria, attracts over 10,000 geoscientists from over 90 countries. The Job Market

is intended to show EGU members that working in the oil and gas industry offers great opportunities. EAGE wants to play a positive role in recruiting and is dedicated to improving the image of the industry which is sometimes perceived as volatile in terms of staff job security and also environmentally insensitive in some of its operation. The Association believes it is well placed to facilitate a positive dialogue about the industry’s activities and prospects. Our annual Recruitment Special, first published in 2007, plays a role in this process and is read by oil and gas professionals and students worldwide. Meanwhile EAGE supports its senior members by offering them the opportunity to stay connected to the geoscience world and work through the Expert Alumni website. This organization is supported by several industry bodies, and helps EAGE’s senior members to stay connected and find where they can hire out their knowledge. More information can be found on the Career section of the EAGE website. The website of the Association also has an online job board with available industry jobs ( This includes all job advertisements from EAGE’s main publication First Break, which is distributed to the entire membership every month. In 2011 EAGE plans to do more online. It wants to offer recruiters from oil and service companies more tools to search and find the right candidates. If you are interested in this or have questions, you can contact EAGE’s recruitment manager Stefan van der Kooij (

The Challenge

Solving the toughest energy problems


World-class talent and real determination


Investing in our people and their development

Subsurface Careers Are you up for the challenge?

BP operates more giant field discoveries than any of our competitors. Our strategy is to invest in the largest and lowest cost hydrocarbon deposits, and to optimise returns on our existing assets. And that takes the best teams of scientists and engineers in the world and access to technology that’s just as outstanding. Our geoscientists, petrophysicists, reservoir engineers and petroleum engineers work with offshore, deepwater and onshore oil and gas projects in 29 countries. From the first stages of exploration through development and production, their energy makes it possible for BP to push back the frontiers of geography and technology to find and develop more oil and gas. To support their efforts, BP provides training and development that’s as wide ranging as the challenges we offer. We have openings for professionals across the value chain from exploration, through to appraisal, development and production. Visit our careers site to apply in the following areas: Geologists Geophysicists (interpretive, analytical and acquisition) Petrophysicists Petroleum / Reservoir Engineers BP is an equal opportunities employer.

Students will be challenged to

reach for the top at EAGE’s Vienna Annual Meeting


tudent participants at the 73rd EAGE Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE EUROPEC 2011 in Vienna will have the opportunity to join in a Student Programme that is both challenging and entertaining.


SPECIAL eage update • page 6 

EAGE continues to fine tune its student activities for the Annual Meeting, and this year will be no exception with a theme of ‘Reach for the Top! What better theme to encourage students to explore their career options and build up their knowledge about geoscience applications being applied to numerous industry sectors worldwide. The Student Court will incorporate the theme by offering a climbing wall to test participants’ skills and strength in going for the top! For those unfamiliar with the EAGE Student Programme, it offers a variety of activities not all too serious which allow participants to explore future opportunities in the geosciences and engineering field as well network with their student peers both on an academic and a social level. The programme is distinguished by the participation of companies from various industries interested in meeting a new generation of talent, so it is a winwin for the companies and students who get to meet potential employers. The Student Programme has this year expanded from a four to five day programme with the inclusion on 23 May of a field trip to an OMV oil rig. A new initiative called the Student FIELD (Fully Integrated EvaLuation and Develop-

ment) Challenge will have a final jury evaluation day on Sunday 22 May. The main activities will take place on the exhibition floor in the Student Court beginning on Monday 23 May during the Ice Breaker reception and will finish on Thursday 26 May at the end of the day. The Student Court will include a special registration desk for all student activities. Students will go through a two step registration process that will lead them from the main registration desk to the student registration desk to confirm their participation in all the programme activities. The main programme will once again offer four parallel programme sections throughout the four day conference and exhibition. In addition there is the Student Poster Programme. This year EAGE

received the most poster presentation applications to date. The selected posters will for the second time be on display alongside the main Conference Technical Programme posters in the Poster Pavilion from Tuesday 24 to Thursday 26 May. Posters will cover 15 selected topics and will be presented in three student poster boxes within the pavilion. Poster topic specifics will be listed in the official programme and catalogue. In addition there will be a Student Workshop entitled ‘Discover the balance between technical and soft skill development’ presented by Pascal Breton (Total) on Tuesday 24 May and a Student Short Course on ‘4D interpretation and use for field development and reservoir model update’ by Emmanuelle Brechet (Total) on Wednesday 25 May. These special

to outwit one another in the bid to win some fabulous prizes sponsored by PetroSkills! The student chapter winners of the 2nd online Geo-Quiz will be among the teams taking part in the live quiz and special acknowledgement will be given to the chapter members who helped their team (of three students only) to attend the live quiz.

The Student Court will be the meeting point for Exhibition Tours on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 May when company representatives offer student specific information and promotional items regarding their companies. Students can register for the Exhibition Tour during their conference registration. Practice makes perfect! That’s why a series of trial interviews from Tuesday 24 to Thursday 25 May offer an unprecedented opportunity for students to sign up for a 30-minute practice formal interview with a potential employer,

The Vienna Student Programme will of course highlight the legendary GeoQuiz activity challenging university teams to prove their knowledge and skill learned during the course of their studies. Our returning quizmaster Prof Patrick Corbett will be joined this year by current EAGE president Davide Calcagni. Their job will be to set questions for 30 student teams competing

Our Vienna Student Programme once again proves our commitment to students and their future in geosciences and engineering careers. The Student Programme and Student Evening would not be possible with our sponsors Statoil, ExxonMobil, Total, CGGVeritas, BP, eni, SPE, and the EAGE Student Fund including Shell, CGGVeritas, PGS, and WesternGeco. An overview of the Student Programme schedule is available online at

"EAGE continues to fine tune its student activities for the Annual Meeting, and this year will be no exception with a theme of ‘Reach for the Top!"

SPECIAL eage update • page 7 

This year there will be only one student debate on Wednesday 25 May provocatively entitled ‘There is no future in transporting hydrocarbons to market’. The proceedings will be hosted by volunteer company representatives with the debates designed to bring motivation and awareness to both the student and professional audience.

including a 10-minute feedback session. It is a chance for students to experience an interview and anything is possible. Last year a number of students were offered jobs as a result of the interviews. The time slots are limited so it is advisable to register as soon as possible.


events in the Student Lecture Hall cater to an intimate student audience offering a more personal and interactive learning experience.

It wouldn’t be a proper EAGE Student Programme without the special Student Evening, this year taking place at the Sansibar on Tuesday 24 May offering Austrian buffet, drinks, DJ, and a dance floor. Industry VIPs and EAGE Board Members make a point of attending. With an international environment and a water front location on the Danube river, an eventful night’s entertainment can be expected. All participating students will also receive a special student gift during this celebration sponsored by ExxonMobil.

Global change

faces the geoscience profession Leila Gonzales,1,2 Christopher Keane1


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 8 

and Joanne Venus2,3

University of Toulouse III MSc student Mponda Malozo, a YES Network communications team member working in Tanzania.

Countries like China, with its rapid economic growth and improved wealth of its citizenry, have increasing demands for energy and materials, and are also beginning to address the environmental challenges brought through such rapid development. Many other countries also have local needs, but are exporting their home-grown geoscience talent. The education system is unable to produce sufficient geoscience talent to meet rapidly expanding societal needs, leaving a nearly global shortage of geoscience talent for the available work. To meet these challenges, the geoscience profession will need to become increasingly global and mobile. However, we must first understand the current global state of the profession, namely, how geoscientists are defined, where they are educated, where they work, and what factors will influence the development and direction of the profession over the coming decades. The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), with endorsement by UNESCO, established a taskforce on the global geoscience workforce to address three issues on a global scale: define the geosciences, determine the producers and consumers of geoscientists, and synthesize the results into proposals for pathways towards improved global capacity-building in the geosciences. IUGS tasked the American Geological Institute to lead the taskforce’s efforts to collect and synthesize the data. A synthesis of the taskforce’s ini-

tial year of data collection sheds light on key issues surrounding how geoscientists are defined in different countries, where geoscientists are being educated versus where they work, and how the migration of geoscientists between countries effects the ability of countries to meet local demand for geoscientists and build the sustainable educational infrastructure to build a local base of geoscience talent.

only for employment, skills transferability, and quantification of the profession, but also for areas as diverse as data exchange and research collaboration. As a profession that is already global in scope and increasingly global in its human capacity, the vernacular of qualifications, experience, and job descriptions need to be either comparable across national boundaries or open to consistent and meaningful translation.

Based on prior IUGS estimates, nearly half of all working geoscientists resided in the US, and the US also produced nearly half of all new geoscience graduates globally. However, new data from the IUGS Taskforce indicates that Europe and Russia combined graduate more geoscientists per year than the US. Furthermore, Indonesia and China are also graduating several thousand new geoscientists annually. The eastward shift in geoscience graduate production is complicated by the wave of retiring geoscience professionals in developed countries, and thus the pull of opportunities not only in their home countries, but also globally. The global migration of geoscience professionals and students also affects the ability of developed and developing countries to build and sustain the infrastructure required for producing new geoscience graduates. Currently, the regions that produce the most geoscientists are not meeting their own local needs, and many areas with growing local demand, such as in Africa, continue to export graduates to other countries, creating a global talent deficit. Such a dynamic environment creates great migratory opportunities, and the migration of geoscience professionals raises questions about how nationality is defined, and furthermore if there is indeed an ideal ‘global geoscientist’.

How geoscientists are currently defined varies extensively by country and region, as does who is ‘covered’ under the term geoscientist and how they are counted. As a broad generalization, resource-intensive countries tend to define geoscience with a focus on traditional ‘hard rock’ topics and often exclude soils, hydrology, and geography disciplines. Less resourcedependent countries tend to be more inclusive of disciplines and tend to include more surface-process disciplines.

What is a geoscientist? Global definitions of the terms ‘geoscience’ and ‘geoscientist’ are needed to ensure accurate global comparability of metrics and data. This is important not


Classical geology disciplines which form the historical basis of the ‘geoscience’ definition typically include geology and geophysics. In some countries, however, (e.g., US), ‘geophysics’ encompasses a broad swath of skills and applications that range from high-end imaging (math, physics, computing science) to ‘interpretation’ that is heavily reliant on geological skills, to applications focused on hazards and crustal dynamics. In other countries (e.g., China), ‘geophysics’ is more homogeneous with a limited inclusion of geological expertise, and rather focused on the system dynamics. However, with increased participation in international conferences, publishing, and societies, this definition, like most, can be expected to broaden over the long-term. Geoscience engineers (e.g., petroleum, mining, geological, geotechnical, and environmental engineers) are also generally included under the definition of ‘geoscience’, yet in some countries (e.g., US), these fields are sometimes aggregated with other engineering disciplines by government agen-

American Geological Institute, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia, USA YES Network 3 University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environmental Science, Leeds, UK 2

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 9 

he next several decades will define the role and stature of the geoscience profession globally as demographic and economic changes spread across the world. Developed countries are already in the midst of the great wave of retirements of the post-war generation, and with these retirements come the substantial reduction in capacity for the geoscience profession that is creating a shortage of critical talent. Similarly, many emerging nations are also facing current, and likely worsening, shortages of geoscientists.



cies, licensing agencies, and employers. Geoscience managers, who are lumped into a general engineering or natural science management category in the US federal data, are generally accounted for under the definition of ‘geoscientist’ in other countries and in most non-federal data sources within the US. This, among other challenges in quantifying people, is an artifact of historical economic activity where supervisory and labour roles were clearly defined. As the global economy continues to increase the level of service and knowledge work, those roles will continue to become much less defined, and thus ambiguity may result in assessments and census by agencies outside of the discipline.


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Just as the global economy continues to evolve, so too do the geosciences. The geosciences by nature are inter-disciplinary, yet they are increasingly becoming more inter-disciplinary and inclusive in function and association. Although the term ‘Earth systems science’ is loosely used to define the direction of the future of the field, the IUGS Taskforce argued that there is no such thing as an ‘Earth system scientist’ but rather that ‘Earth system science’ is the result of collaborative work within inter-disciplinary teams. As a result, these teams foster the development of geoscience professionals who not only use their analytical skills, but also think conceptually in terms of relevant interactions between earth systems and are literate across related fields. In addition to the broadening of the traditional definition of what a ‘geoscientist’ is, the profession’s future is dependent on the cultural and societal recognition of geoscience as a profession and what it constitutes. To this end, context is required. As seen increasingly in US-based studies there is a demand by young adults for social relevance as a prerequisite for valuing an activity. To this end, coupling the definition of the geosciences with its interaction with social and economic needs is critical in order to make plain the necessity of geoscience in dealing with the human and economic benefits of addressing hazards, water, energy, resources, and environmental

health issues. These are not examples of application of the discipline, but are integrated into the definition of geoscience itself. Geoscience of the future will not be defined by relict Victorian-era systemic sub-discipline titles, but rather by the social and economic application. This likely evolution will also begin to deconvolve some of the transnational definitional boundaries where the issue of the inclusion of non solid-earth topics represents migratory barriers to a global geoscience job market.

Where are geoscientists being educated? Traditionally, the US has been the major producer of new geoscience talent. The legacy of this is seen today with both the large number of geoscience academic units (over 900) and the approximately 250,000 geoscientists working in the US. However, graduate production is shifting eastward as Europe and Russia combined now graduate more geoscience students per year than the US (8000 graduates per year combined vs. 6500 US geoscience graduates per year). Countries in Asia, such as Indonesia and China, are also graduating several thousand new geoscientists annually. Australia and Africa are producing on average about a thousand graduates per year. In Africa, nearly half the total graduates are produced from South Africa alone. Geoscience curriculum varies between countries and regions as do local and regional employment requirements. In the US, a Master’s degree is required for the majority of geoscience occupations, yet in Australia geoscientists generally hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the discipline. In China, diplomas do not have the strict subject specificity seen in most other countries, but rather are divided between social sciences and natural sciences. Thus, precision in the number of graduates with comparable education to geoscience graduates elsewhere is lacking, and the estimate is proxied through the existing structure of geoscience associations. Furthermore, recruitment and retention of geoscience students is a critical challenge for many countries. Issues echoed

across most countries, and in particular in both China and Australia, include two key facts that were highlighted through the IUGS Taskforce discussions: first, the geosciences (geology) are largely absent from primary and secondary education, and second, national governments have not readily acknowledged deficiency of geoscience talent relative to the discipline’s role in the national economic portfolio. In some countries, such as the US, the solutions to these issues are viewed as a simple immigration and/or outsourcing fix. However, for all countries, the lack of local geoscience talent and the need to import such talent represents a hidden threat to domestic sustainability of the discipline. Thankfully, changes are occurring in a number of countries that will address these challenges and help bolster the local supply of new geoscience graduates. In Australia, a revision is currently underway in the national curriculum that will reintroduce geosciences as ‘Earth and Environmental Science’ at secondary (preuniversity) level. In the US, an increasing number of states include earth sciences in their curricula at some level, and over 70% of US universities accept earth science courses towards their science admission requirements. These are positive steps for the future, but substantive threats exist to the sustainability of the geosciences in most countries because of fundamental weaknesses in the continuity of academic geoscience programmes. Increasing demand for geoscience skills is translating into increases in enrolments in many countries, such as the US and many African nations. However, these systems currently do not have sustainable capacity to maintain the necessary quantity of faculty and facilities, nor the disciplinary spectrum needed to educate the next generation of geoscientists. In the US, the rapid retirements of faculty coupled with a strong discipline shift in new geoscience doctorates towards environmental topics is leaving many core and specialty, but economically important geoscience topics, at risk of eradication. If the current trend continues, it will lead to the extinction of entire sub-disciplinary geoscience areas of need in the economy, including

Where geoscientists work: the global migration of the geoscience workforce Current estimates of the global distribution of geoscientists indicate that a large proportion (~250,000) of geoscientists are in the US. Approximately 215,000 geoscientists are located in Russia (~80,000), Europe (~60,000), China (~40,000), Canada (~20,000), Africa (~10,000), and Iraq (~5,000). Estimates are unknown for Central and South America, India, and

the Middle East. The taskforce has expectations of substantial numbers in Latin America, and preliminary work indicated that the Indian geoscience community may be comparable to Canadian levels. However, in India, there is no current trend for importing or exporting geoscience talent, and thus the country’s geoscience workforce is not a major factor in the aggregate global pool as of yet. Global migration is an important component in today’s economy, and is a major issue for the future of the geosciences. The question of what is the nationality of a geoscientist has been a rather profound question for the IUGS Taskforce. In a global economy, geoscientists are a leader in being global workers. For geoscientists educated in countries that tend to export their talent, regardless of local demand, the question of what is a nationality is especially difficult to answer. Ironically, the three regions that produce the most geoscience graduates each year (US, Europe, and Russia combined, and China) are not meeting their own domestic needs. The US and Europe are often able to import talent, while emerging economies like China are focused on retaining talent to meet as much of their demand as possible. Some countries/regions that have real domestic needs (South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Central and Eastern Europe) continue to export their new graduates. These graduates are usually in search of higher

Global migration of both geoscience students and professionals should, in a fully open market, help mitigate the rising supply-demand imbalances in global geoscience talent demand. Overall, developed nations are facing a potentially large demographic shift and potential involuntary downsizing of their geoscience workforce from increased retirements. Developing nations, on the other hand, are facing serious shortages in geoscience human capital from both domestic education challenges and emigration opportunities that will impact building both the local economy and required infrastructure. Further complicating this dynamic is the frequent divorce of central government priorities from actual national geoscience needs. For example, numerous Middle Eastern nations are investing in petroleum geologists to sustain production, but their most immediate need is for geoscientists who can address natural hazard mitigation. These complicating domestic issues operate as externalities to the global flow of geoscience talent and prevent it from functioning as a true open market. Thus, regional, and perhaps global, talent deficits are likely to continue well into the future.

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 11 

the elimination of all of the intellectual capacity needed to educate students. Furthermore, the research topics of new geoscience doctorates are not in the areas that will necessarily produce the flow of funds that will support these new geoscience doctorates into becoming tomorrow’s faculty and researchers. In other countries, especially those that are still developing economically, the core issue is that the talented geoscience graduates are pursuing jobs in developed nations where economic prospects are much better than in the local economy. This ‘brain-drain’ is complicated by the increased retirement and/or emigration of existing faculty. An additional dynamic challenge to sustaining the flow of geoscience students through academic programmes is that the high demand for geoscience talent often leads students to exit their education prior to earning their degrees. This trend is evident particularly in economies with strong economic geology aspects, such as in Africa, Asia, and Australia.


Geophysical instruments in use on land.

wages and additional education in North America or Western Europe. One challenge that remains is that students often need to leave their home country in order to develop the skills needed locally, but will they return if they find better pay elsewhere? Some countries, like South Africa, are seeing such a large exodus of their best geoscience talent that the sustainability of university-level geoscience education beyond the next 10 years is in doubt. In Australia, graduate degree recipients are predominantly foreign students who then often return home to work or work overseas for Australian companies. So what is the functional nationality of a geoscientist from Indonesia who earns a degree in Australia and then works in Africa for an Australian company? Political and ethnic nationality and professional nationality clearly may not be the same. The key to career success is mobility. Moreover, the IUGS Taskforce has been discovering that in the future, nationality will be a minor issue and the ‘global geoscientist’ will become the new norm.

Global migration of geoscience talent.

Insights from the next generation of global geoscientists


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Over the past couple of years, a few international early-career geoscientist organizations have emerged to engage and retain geoscience graduates and early-career geoscientists as they make the transition into the workforce. The organizations have dynamically self-organized as virtual networks, and quickly expanded their membership through the use of Web technologies, developing international collaboration, and connecting geoscientists from the remotest reaches of the world by focusing on common science and social concerns. Because these organizations have been able to effectively remove geographical constraints to connect geoscientists, they are a successful piece of the puzzle for addressing the challenges faced by the global geoscience workforce, especially in regards to recruitment and retention of geoscientists and in normalizing the impacts of global migration of the geoscience workforce and unequal distribution of geoscience capacity. One such organization, the YES Network (, a professional international association for the support

of geoscience students and early-career geoscientists, seeks to actively connect geoscientists around the world to engage them in applying their geoscience knowledge to solve societal problems. The YES Network has actively bridged the age gaps in the profession by bringing together geoscience students and early-career geoscientists with professionals passionate about the next generation. The success to date has been fostered through its organization of blended virtual conferences that combine in-person contact with virtual interaction and in the creation of leadership teams that enable YES Network members to actively serve the international membership and develop critical leadership, project management, networking, and team-building skills. In most cases, YES Network members serving on leadership teams are rarely from the same country, and they will often meet face-to-face for the first time at events months or even years long after establishing strong working relationships. One of the major initiatives of the YES Network is to develop local capacity at the national and regional scale through the expansion of its National Chapters, and by providing professional development opportunities for YES Network members.

The main goal of the National Chapters is to develop local capacity through the recruitment and engagement of local geoscientists in outreach activities that raise the awareness of the geosciences in the local community. National Chapters also develop resources for professional development including mentoring programmes, facilitating networking opportunities, and linking local organizations with YES Network resources. National Chapters aim to organize YES Network workshops on scientific, academic, and career topics. Recently YES Network National Chapters have organized conferences (such as the YES Africa 2011 Symposium coordinated by all of the YES Network National Chapters in Africa) and activities at recurring national geoscience conferences (such as those planned by the YES Network USA National Chapter at the Geological Society of America's 2011 Annual Meeting). YES Network members are able to easily connect with the YES Network Chapter in the country in which they reside, whether they are visiting for a few months or staying for several years. Through the broader and seamless interconnection with the global YES Network, they collaborate on outreach activities, develop research projects, or organize conferences or work-

Preliminary results from this survey indicate that a driving factor in a student’s decision to choose geoscience as a university major is their previous interest in the subject. Further developing this interest in more students may be achieved through targeted outreach efforts to secondary school students and by providing introductory geoscience undergraduate courses that enable students to link geoscience concepts to solving societal issues. Additionally, a larger proportion of geoscience undergraduate students were more focused on pursuing a career in the geosciences than were geoscience graduate students. Students overwhelmingly enjoy their coursework, however most prefer field work to class work, and say they learn more in the field. Given that 20% of the survey respondents indicated that enjoyment of the outdoors was a factor in their decision to pursue a degree in the geosciences, the incorporation of field work into introductory geoscience courses at the university level may aid not only in the recruitment, but also retention of geoscience students. A key factor in the transition of undergraduate students into graduate programmes is the influence of a mentor, and most often

Within the early-career geoscience professional cohort, the majority of respondents stated that they expect to be in the same job with promotions by the end of the next five years. Senior scientists and early-career scientists echoed each other as they identified the factors that retain geoscientists in the profession, namely, opportunities for advancement, challenging work, and a supportive work environment.

Conclusions and challenges ahead With the combination of rapid retirements in the developed world, and rapid economic expansion and impact of resource and hazard issues in the developing world, the next 25 years will truly be a dynamic time for the geosciences. The continued efforts of the IUGS Global Geoscience Taskforce to establish a global definition for the geosciences and develop metrics that enable the status and composition of the global geoscience profession to be benchmarked will be key in aiding the progression of geoscience as it navigates through changing demographics and geographic mobility of the global workforce. As economic and societal needs shift over the coming years to deal with increased demands for resources and adaptation to environmental

challenges, it will be critical for the geoscience profession to fully understand the ebb and flow of geoscience human capital and infrastructure in both academia and across business sectors. This comprehension will allow international geoscience networks, like the YES Network, that nimbly bridge geographic, demographic, and disciplinary distances, to expand into areas that lack the necessary geoscience capacity and develop the necessary connections with the local community to initiate development of critical geoscience infrastructure, including human capital.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the members of the IUGS Global Geoscience Taskforce and the members of the YES Network for their contributions to the discussions and data collection efforts reported in this article.

About the authors Leila Gonzales is the geoscience workforce analyst for the American Geological Institute’s Workforce Program. Christopher Keane is the Director of Communications & Technology and the Editor of EARTH magazine at the American Geological Institute. Joanne Venus is president of the YES Network and a PhD student at the University of Leeds.

IUGS Global Geoscience Task Group Members Moutaz Al-Dabbas, Geological Society of Iraq (Iraq) Tanvi Arora, NGRI (India) Jay Barton, Consultant (South Africa) Peter Pangman, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (USA) Sarah Gaines, UNESCO (France) Ochir Gerel, Mongolian University of Science & Technology (Mongolia) Alireza Gharagozlou, NGDIR (Iran) Leila M. Gonzales, American Geological Institute (USA) Christopher M. Keane, American Geological Institute (USA) Michael G. Loudin, ExxonMobil (USA) Michael Leggo, Australian Geoscience Council (Australia) Edmund Nickless, The Geological Society of London (UK) Jacques Varet, BRGM (France) Andrew Waltho, Rio Tinto (Australia) Xiaoping Yang, Chinese Academy of Sciences (China) The YES Network

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 13 

Furthermore, the YES Network is running a 10-year global geoscience longitudinal survey to evaluate the key inflection and decision points in the career pathways for early-career geoscientists, from university through 10 years post-graduation. This study aims to identify the factors contributing to individual decisions, and will monitor survey participants’ career choices over this period. The results will provide insight into the causal factors for decisions pertaining to recruitment and retention in geoscience university programmes, as well as decisions about career pathway choices.

that mentor is a relative or teacher. Fifty-three percent of graduate students stated they were inspired by someone, usually a teacher or relative, to study in the geosciences.


shops. Thus, the fluidity of the National Chapters and their membership allows for the YES Network to provide an anchoring point within the country that brings together geoscientists from around the world to build local capacity by engaging with local communities via outreach activities, national events, and establishing longterm collaborations between institutions.

Paradigm has over time developed some key software solutions for the E&P oil and gas industry. Here CEO Eldad Weiss looks at what the future holds for the next generation of geoscientists.

A new

geoscientist for

a new

millennium I


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 14 

t’s a well-known fact that the world has been experiencing a significant depletion of existing oil and gas basins for years, and that there is an urgent need to find and produce previously unreachable or hidden hydrocarbon resources. A huge amount of time and considerable resources have been invested in developing new technologies that can help to both locate and extract these resources. Advances have been made, of course, in drilling technologies, enabling oil and gas companies to dig deeper and in more challenging regimes than ever before.

Eldad Weiss, Paradigm CEO.

Our company contributes to the conquest of these new frontiers by funding the

research and development of advanced E&P software solutions that complement the progress made in the field. The technologies we have developed over the past 25 years have extended the ability of professional geoscientists and engineers to respond to the industry’s challenges, and changed the definition of seismic and geological interpretation, seismic data imaging, reservoir characterization and analysis, subsurface modelling, formation evaluation, and drilling engineering. For many years, geoscientists were defined by their expertise in geology, geophysics, and engineering, and by their ability to painstakingly sort through the stacked seis-

mic data provided by processors employed by their company or by a service provider. Interpretation of the data was done through onerous manual operations which, while relatively productive, were timeconsuming and limited by the quantity and quality of the seismic data provided and by the interpreter’s ability to view the greater picture concurrently with the detailed data.

while enhancing collaboration between multi-disciplinary teams.

Today’s professional is now able to perform complete workflows that cross fields of expertise which were once considered to be completely separate. These developments, most of which have taken place over the past few years, have led to the emergence of what may be called ‘a new geoscientist for a new millennium’. Through the automation of many traditional tasks, such as horizon and fault picking, seismic classification, and inter-

“The recent developments in computing power, together with the automation of many of the interpreter’s manual tasks, have, in my opinion, made the geoscience profession far more exciting than ever before.”

pretation modelling, today’s geoscientists are able to generate knowledge about the sub-surface that was unavailable to earlier generations of professionals. The speed of the computer-assisted interpretation process allows users to create, display, and analyze different scenarios of the sub-surface geology. The ability to access any scale of information, from a regional to a reservoir perspective, from raw seismic data to a detailed reservoir model, and from petrophysical recordings to a simulation of dynamic reservoir data, has transformed the interpretation process from a mundane job of picking horizons, posting the results, and creating maps, to the far more challenging, and ultimately satisfying, task of searching and analyzing massive amounts of data. Software providers are continually working on ways to improve the functionality and graphic user interface of the new programs, in order to make the interpretation workflow easier, more ergonomic, and more efficient. Major developments

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 15 

The borders that once separated the geophysicist, petrophysicist, geologist, and reservoir engineer, limiting each of them to performing specific tasks using only the data provided to them, have been blurred by today’s advances in hardware, data management, and software technology.

Visualization of full scale of information provides added insights into the sub-surface


Today’s geoscientists find themselves in a more challenging situation. In addition to the traditional skills required of geology and geophysics professionals, modern geoscientists are also tasked with mastering highly sophisticated computer applications. The recent developments in computing power, together with the automation of many of the interpreter’s manual tasks, have, in my opinion, made the geoscience profession far more exciting than ever before.

in computer graphics provide users with powerful animation techniques on the desktop, enabling the geoscientist to present his or her results to management in a dynamic and highly informative fashion. Together with the accelerated development of advanced software, we have seen ongoing improvements in computing hardware, the growth of ultra-fast networks, and a breakthrough in data management. The combination of powerful hardware and high-speed data transfer means that massive amounts of data are readily accessible on every desktop, and even on laptop computers. These developments have made it possible, both technically and economically, for companies to load an entire basin’s worth of data into their computers. Add to that the huge growth in disk capacity and the major drop in storage costs. Not too long ago, data was stored in extensive removable storage devices housed in huge warehouses, with robots employed to bring the data. Today, it is possible to store petabytes of data on the corporate network, and users can access them directly for re-processing, analysis, and interpretation work.

“The borders that once separated the geo­physicist, petrophysicist, geologist, and reservoir engineer, limiting each of them to performing specific tasks using only the data provided to them, have been blurred by today’s advances in hardware, data management, and software technology.”

All of these developments – advances in computer power, the development of high-speed networks, and the drop in storage costs – have changed the level of data integration and reinforced the inter-disciplinary collaboration between geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, and reservoir engineers.

Data management takes centre stage The huge amounts of data now available, the integration of many data types in a shared interpretation and visualization environment, the cross-over of professionals from one field to another, and the enhanced cooperation between multidisciplinary teams in widespread geogra-

phies, require ever increasing capabilities for managing, storing, and securing data. The IT administrators in oil and gas companies are taking on added responsibilities, and their part in the data processing, interpretation, and characterization process is becoming increasingly crucial. It is the IT Department that must prepare the appropriate data management groundwork, including data access permissions, security, backup and restore, data search and retrieval, and other capabilities. Oil companies will need to play their part in this evolution, by adopting new procedures which strengthen data management systems and internal security, and by strengthening their IT Department, and making it an integral part of the work environment.


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 16 

Future directions

The size and complexity of data provides new challenges for interpreters and IT administrators alike.

There is no question that our industry will continue and even accelerate development in order to meet the serious challenges facing the oil and gas E&P industry. There will be a growing demand for qualified geoscientists, engineers, and computer experts, who will be tasked with further developing the tools required to fully utilize all of the available data, and with creating new workflows to make efficient use of multi-disciplinary integration of data and applications. It will be up to the younger generation of geoscientists to adopt the new technologies and help transition them to the mainstream, veteran interpretation community.

Want to develop even more? We are looking for experienced personnel

What it takes for women


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 18 

to be leaders in the oil and gas industry


Conference report on how women can assume leadership roles in a largely male-dominated business.


ore than 600 women involved in the energy industry gathered in Houston, Texas last October to discuss both natural gas industry issues and leadership development skills at the 7th Women’s Global Leadership Conference in Energy & Technology.

Gulf Research, a joint venture of Gulf Publishing Company and Gelb Consulting Group, conducted a survey of female executives in the oil and gas industry to assess the attributes and core qualities women must possess to succeed in the energy industry. The majority of respondents had more than 11 years of experience

in the industry and five common themes emerged as success drivers. These themes included communications and technical skills that provide the basis for any professional. Next, adaptability and resilience represented the traits that helped women succeed in middle-level positions. John McKeever, president of Gelb Consulting Group, said: ‘The last theme the research uncovered referred to resilience and that is something rather unique to women seeking advancement while balancing work and family priorities. However,

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 19 

To help women gain more knowledge about both of those success drivers, the conference included several topics on effective leadership in a traditionally male-dominated industry and speakers shared insights, advice, and experiences. Hadley McClellan, director of events for Gulf Publishing Company, said: ‘An international advisory board assisted in the

development of the conference agenda and recruitment of speakers. Additionally, our planning benefited from research of women in the industry conducted on their views about leadership.’


Conference chair Marcela Donadio, a partner at Ernst & Young and head of its Americas oil & gas sector, said the conference had a dual mission to provide strong technical content along with information about leadership issues facing women in the industry. The major success drivers for women in the oil and gas industry are technical competency and the ability to lead.


The conference, the largest of its kind, aims to provide a global gathering to meet and discuss female leadership issues in the energy industry, ranging from energy security and geopolitics to personal career development.


being persistent in seeking out opportunities to demonstrate value to her team and organization was at the top of the list.’ Another quality that was cited by most respondents as an important indicator of success was confidence and, as stated by

noted: ‘Leading is about confidence and really knowing your stuff and being able to stand up to the situation,’ said Nimocks. In her presentation ‘Moving Forward in Your Career,’ she cited five key female leadership characteristics for career management: meaning, energizing, framing,


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 20 

"Leading is about confidence and really knowing your stuff and being able to stand up to the situation." one survey respondent, a ‘strong sense of self’. This was echoed by Donadio in her presentation ‘Having Presence: Being Heard in a Room Full of Men’. She described ‘presence’ as the ability to project intelligence and awareness, which is part of evoking confidence. She said that effective leadership is based on more than gender. ‘Credibility is much more important. It’s not a matter of gender, but one of proficiency in a highly technical industry. Once competency is demonstrated, it must be complemented with the development of leadership skills and all persons, men or women, have different styles of leadership.’ Suzanne Nimocks, who serves on the board of directors for a Canadian natural gas company Encana, and recently retired as a senior partner at McKinsey & Co,

connecting, and engaging. These characteristics are central to leaders who have successful and satisfying careers. Meaning is to understand what matters most to your career. Research has shown that for men, meaning is defined by status and pay while women define meaning by the quality of work they do and the people they work with. ‘It is really true that women find meaning at work,’ said Nimocks. Energizing requires that a woman intuitively thinks about what energizes her and what depletes her. ‘You need to reflect and understand what is energizing to your life and to your work and then concentrate on enhancing those areas,’ said Nimocks. She explained that women need to focus on increasing what they are good

at, instead of always focusing on what they want to fix or improve. The last three characteristics for leadership involve interaction with self, others, and the organization. Framing is how we interact with ourselves and evaluate a situation. ‘Learn to be an optimist and avoid a downward spiral,’ said Nimocks. ‘Women tend to replay negatives in our mind whereas men can quickly move past a negative.’ Studies have shown that women are two to three times more likely to get depressed, and more likely to feel happiness, for a total spectrum of emotions. Connecting is how we interact with others and engaging involves our interaction with the organization and finding a voice. Nimcocks said women prefer that their needs and achievements be noticed and rewarded, but to be successful women must learn to speak up for themselves. Donadio agreed and said you must be an advocate for yourself and that speaking up does not equal aggressiveness. Women tend to wait until they have all the knowledge to do the job, while men will take the risk and ‘go for it’ thinking they have most of the knowledge and will learn the rest. Donadio encouraged women to be as confident. The 8th Women’s Global Leadership Conference in Energy & Technology will be held this year in Houston on 15-16 November.

He knows there’s a well out there. So do we. at ViSit uS


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How leadership and accelerated development in E&P reduces time to autonomy Henry Edmundson, director Petro-Technical Expertise, Schlumberger, and founder and chair, Plato Alliance was the keynote speaker at EAGE’s GeoSkill workshop held last September in Pau, France. This is an edited version of what he had to say on training and


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 22 

development in the E&P community.


his presentation is a personal view, based on a long career of technical communication, technical knowledge management, and the implementation of technical training. I don’t believe in complexity. I am naturally inclined to sift through life’s chaos to have the satisfaction of finding a few simple truths. But as colleagues may testify, I also like to create chaos just for the sheer pleasure also. I promise not to indulge that habit here.

E&P skills situation The demographic crisis of the E&P industry is well known. It was the oil price

crash of the late 1980s that created the problem we have today. At that time, recruiting came to a standstill and students deserted the petroleum engineering and geosciences to seek their fortunes in the IT boom. Twenty years later, virtually every E&P company – super-majors, IOCs, NOCs, service companies – now have a hole in their workforce centred around the 40-year old mark. In the boom years of 2004 to 2008, the quick and dirty solution was to poach talent from your neighbour, but that game has obvious limits and anyway it’s financially

and emotionally exhausting. The proper solution, as we all know, is a long term one: figuring out some way of filling that midcareer hole through accelerated development of young people. The trouble is knowledge and experience cannot be instantly and miraculously created. So what to do? First is to figure out the required competence of your typical mid-career professional. What do you need these guys to know and what do you want them to be able to do? Second is to work out how to get young recruits to that level of competence as fast as possible.

In an ongoing and pioneering study so far lasting four years, Schlumberger Business Consulting (SBC) has been studying these issues with the cooperation of a large number of operators large and small. Key findings so far are intriguing. From one company to the next, clear differences exist in the time taken to develop young recruits to a relevant mid-career level. In fact the range is an astonishing three to 15 years. Questions raised are: why such a large range, and how come some operators are so fast and some so slow?

Time to autonomy

Second, it depends on company strategy. In Schlumberger, for example, we have a very intense learning programme for the first three years so field engineers become productive as quickly as possible so we get a return on our investment in them. They become quickly competent but in a very narrow specialty. Later they broaden their competencies. Operators often demand a broader development right from the start so the development process is longer.

How to accelerate human learning and experience Because companies will always be marching to their own time frame, let’s therefore focus on the common demoninator: acceleration. How do you accelerate someone’s ability to learn?

My personal starting point may be surprising to you or maybe you came to the same conclusion already, but I fundamentally believe that our innate learning ability cannot be improved. It cannot be accelerated. Just consider the evolution of the human mind. Getting our brains and thinking ability to their current level took hundreds of millions of years of evolution. No technique, no trick, no helping hand such as IT or the Internet is likely to improve our innate learning ability. We still learn the same way at the same rate. Remember that fad several years ago of learning languages by playing tapes while you’re sleeping. Did it work? Therefore the challenge is not a question of accelerating each individual’s ability to learn, it’s a question of making the whole learning process more efficient.

Methods of learning It’s worth reflecting therefore on how we learn. Turns out we learn in a multitude of different ways, and therefore efficient training has to use a multitude of training modes. Our buzz word is blending learning. So how do we learn? We learn by being taught. In the old fashioned way in classrooms with a teacher. It’s never

gone out of fashion when it’s done well, and it never will. Or by learning from a coach or mentor. Think of apprenticeship schemes of old, the venerable livery companies of London where skills were handed down generation by generation. This is a grossly underrated activity in organizations, and substantially eroded by an over-confidence in the potential of IT and the internet. We learn from each other. In the classroom, through social networks, bulletin boards, chat rooms, and workshops. This is the territory of professional communities and societies like the EAGE, and IT has contributed hugely here. In Schlumberger, we have an internal community structure that connects informally more than 20,000 technical experts in 25 communities, 124 SIGs (special interest groups). Almost all companies have similar initiatives. We learn by ourselves. In the library previously, now using the Internet. In Schlumberger, we launched an online library which last year delivered to employees 40,000 downloads of SPE papers, 8000 downloads of IEEE papers, 8000 downloads of

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 23 

First, the time required is surely different for different activities. Contrast engineering and geology. You can argue, though I admit it’s debatable, that geology takes longer to master than engineering. It takes time to see all those rocks and develop the necessary experience and interpretative skills. And we’re not talking here of making the right clicks on a software package.

Palais Beaumont, Pau, France: venue for EAGE GeoSkill workshop.


SBC characterizes a relevant mid-career level using the following definition: ‘someone making non-standard original technical decisions’. But as SBC freely admits, this definition allows for considerable interpretation.

Gartner documents, 14,000  downloads of Elsevier journal articles, 6000 downloads of American Chemical Society articles, and so on. Another self-study mode is often provided by e-learning. We subscribe to a powerful e-learning library that is used by more than 2200 employees. So far this year, these people engaged in 11,700 learning sessions, averaging 37 minutes per session. And now a strange one. We learn by sitting on our backsides. Another grossly underrated activity, not too popular with management. I am a great believer in this one. I love the story of the great French mathematician Henri Poincare (1854 – 1912) that illustrates the phenomenon of unconscious learning. Quote: ‘I entered an omnibus to go to some place or other. At that moment when I put my foot on the step the idea came to me, without anything in my former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it, that the transformations I had used to define the Fuchsian functions were identical with non-Euclidean geometry.’ How many times have we returned to a tough problem and found a solution after a night’s rest? So how can we make pull all these modes together and create a new learning efficiency?


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 24 

Competency management The first building block is competency management, the indispensable tool for establishing a logical curriculum, a planned

GeoSkill workshop in progress.

progression of gaining proficiency, and the only way of measuring learning progress. The challenge is to ensure that competency management is neither too heavy nor too light. Also that the IT system part of it is sexy to use, otherwise people won’t go there. It’s amusing to hear people bragging that one competency system is better than another. I am as guilty as anyone. There is no absolute answer to the numerous parameters required to define and implement a competency management system: there is competency granularity, number of proficiency levels, logic behind defining proficiency levels, etc. For example, granularity is a trade-off. Long lists of competencies are a turn-off, too short lists don’t capture the true state of an employee’s competency. By the way, engineers are usually not the best people

"There is no absolute answer to the numerous parameters required to define and imple­ment a competency management system."

to make this call – they love long lists. Ultimately granularity depends on end user requirements. Assessment, a key part of competency management, is also up for grabs. There are options from total control using one-to-one assessments by subject matter experts to no control at all. In Schlumberger, for example, every petrotechnical professional self-assesses themselves, and later with the help of a coach there is a light QC. Nothing dramatic or heavy. Our rationale is as follows: competency management in Schlumberger is primarily there to help the employee create an individual training plan, so if the employee does a poor or unrealistic assessment, it only affects his or her development, it will never kill the company. However, other companies will have other priorities and reshape assessment to their needs.

Quality Second building block is ensuring quality of material. I am a religious believer in aesthetic as well as technical excellence when creating training material. When I started the Schlumberger Oilfield Review in the 1980s, we editors divided our time and energy equally between the look and the content, and the current editors still do. To my mind, poor design is as much a turn off as poor thinking.

A third principle is that we naturally learn by progressing from the concrete to the abstract, not the other way around. In the 1960s and 70s in the UK, the academics got hold of the mathematics curriculum taught to primary school children. In no time, multiplication tables were out, and the theory of sets was in. An abstract concept such as the theory of sets for small children! It was absurd, and in no time we developed a whole generation of kids who couldn’t do mental arithmetic. Learning on the job, actually doing real tasks, is absolutely critical, at least as important as any theory. This is a crucial part of any learning programme and involves tight coordination between the training function and operations. Nothing is worse, and believe me I’ve seen it happen, is for formal training to be out of phase with on-the-job assignments. It is also why team workshops using simulated data are so important, because it reproduces real life situations when real life is difficult to arrange. Not many training companies or operators can provide this type of valuable training. It’s also why in the field of geology, it’s so important to get out to the outcrops and touch, smell, feel, and see the rocks we spend our lifetimes trying to understand. Those geology field trips may look like holidays to cost-conscious managers, but we know differently.

Customization The fourth and final principle is customization. It hardly needs to be stated that no-one solution fits all. As I keep saying, every organization has its own culture and way of operating. The good news is that there is enough variety in today’s E&P learning offerings to find the right combination to suit any type of organization. The right blend of learning is the one that fits an organization’s business goals, its culture, its population, its logistics constraints, and of course its budget. No single solution is going to keep all that in line. Never believe anyone who says they have ‘the’ solution. So these are the factors that, I believe, influence efficiency. A few simple truths that promise to accelerate the development process and ultimately help resolve our industry’s demographic crisis. Before I finish, however, there is one more important factor that has become even more urgent in light of the Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. That is the need for a comprehensive professional certification mechanism and an accompanying accreditation mechanism for training providers. The professional societies and organizations are trying hard. We will hear later of the SPE’s programme for professional certification, and we must salute similar efforts made by the Energy Institute in the UK. The IADC has been active in providing training accreditation to training companies focused on drilling. OPITO, an

Aberdeen-based organization, accredits training companies specializing in oil and gas safety. Worldwide, more than 120,000 people across 30 countries are trained to OPITO standards every year. But governments, operators and service companies will demand more. Accreditation and certification in our industry is still very fragmented. We need a major industry effort and breakthrough here, and it will require consensus building and above all the will to do it. This is going to be a hot area.

Motivation I would like to conclude by looking at the bottom line. What does training bring to the business? The most obvious reason is that it provides employees with skills that create value for the company. But there is a far more subtle benefit. Employees with a serious training plan feel motivated. They feel they have a future, they feel the company cares. This is exactly our experience in Schlumberger. The reason we lose people, and we lose 5% of our core technical population per year, is not so much a question of financial reward, nor so much a question of lifestyle, although both these factors do count. Above all, it’s because they lose confidence in their future. Not in the sense of failing to land their dream job, but in realizing they are not developing and have no hope of developing. The antidote is world-class training, and I believe this is achieved by hefty doses of common sense and a belief in the need for it.

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 25 

Concrete to abstract – on the job

"Those geology field trips may look like holidays to cost-conscious managers, but we know differently."


Another dimension to quality is keeping the training up to date. Is the material current? Is it tuned to new technology? Do the instructors know their stuff? Tough and perennial challenges for training companies. In the case of instructor-led courses, do the instructors have that human touch that makes the classroom alive or are they boring old pedagogues? Companies that field instructor-led training live and die by the quality of their material and instructors. It’s a major investment for them, and good training companies spend a lot of time on this.

Bridging student skills gaps in near surface

Nigel J. Cassidy1* and Jamie K. Pringle1 address the challenge of turning out a new generation of near surface geophysicists that meet the criteria of industry today.

As educators,

what can we do?

Europe appears to be moving out of recession but the recovery seems slow and ‘uncertain’ in the near surface community with the possibility of another few years of


austerity before companies are willing to invest in significant expansion and recruitment. So, where does this leave our current students, the near surface geophysics degree and the future of recruitment across the sector? In a commentary article in the recent Near Surface Geophysics special edition on ‘Student-based Research’ (Near Surface Geophysics, vol. 8, 445-450) we discussed the competencies and skills of our undergraduate and postgraduate student cohorts and how the expectations of employers (and students) have changed over the past five years. To many employers, the ideal graduate is an intelligent, competent, diligent, hard-working, and professional-minded individual who has a mix of practical, theoretical, and fieldwork skills/experiences. However, comments from our surveyed employer base (UK/EU medium-sized near surface geophysical survey companies) sum up what is commonly found in the industrial sector, namely, fieldwork and practical skills are the students’ weak point. Typical comments were: ‘Most graduates have specialist skills but the key for us is multi-disciplinary skills. Practical case studies are not being taught.’ ‘Graduates have relevant degrees, good all round skills, but their communication skills are a bit lacking. They rarely have fieldwork and data processing experience but are not bad at getting up to speed.’

Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group, School of Physical and Geographical Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG. UK. *Corresponding author

‘Graduates have less numeracy skills than before and courses have less practical elements and lack modern equipment.’ ‘A broad range of knowledge is important to us and graduate degrees seem to be more focused towards passing exams rather than developing understanding.’ This highlights the practical and applicationrelated skills gap that exists between current university-level education and the real world needs of employers. Ideally, a geophysics degree should provide students with a range of comprehensive, multi-disciplinary theoretical, practical, and field-based skills as well as the necessary team-working, computing, research, presentation, and other transferable competencies needed to function in a competitive marketplace. However, degree programmes throughout Europe have changed significantly in the last few years due to financial constraints and the evolving career aspirations of our incoming students.

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 27 

t is interesting to look back at previous years’ EAGE Recruitment Specials to see how the perceived health of the geophysics industry has changed over relatively short time-scales. There is no doubt that the recession hit the geophysical, geoscience, and geotechnical sectors hard, with both industry and academia suffering in equal measures. In 2009, the Recruitment Special led with the feature ‘Recruitment and the credit crunch’ and it was clear to everyone that difficult times faced us. By 2010, a degree of optimism had arrived (within some industries at least) and the editor led with a more positive article on the ‘Green shoots of recovery?’ One year later, has it changed for the better? We would argue that it has and, with recruitment in the hydrocarbons and oil/gas exploration sectors slowly getting back to pre-2008 levels, there seems to be a sense that the hardest times may be behind us. This is good news overall and is reflected in the more positive vibe from our students who, once again, consider a degree in geophysics as a route to a meaningful and successful career. But is it the same for everyone? Have the geotechnical and near surface geophysical industries recovered in the same way as the hydrocarbons sector? Probably not.



In general, near surface geophysics is now commonly taught as a secondary component of other ‘broader’ undergraduate degree programmes, e.g., geology, civil engineering, environmental science, archaeology, forensic science, etc. Running an in-depth, comprehensive ‘purely geophysical’ degree programme is economically prohibitive for most universities. Put simply, providing relatively small groups of students with extensive undergraduate fieldwork, using the latest industry specification equipment, is just too expensive either in lecturers’ time or physical cost. As educators, we dislike this as much as our industrial colleagues but it is an unfortunate fact of current university life.


SPECIAL professional judgements • page 28 

On the positive side, university geoscience/ geophysics degree programmes have some of the highest levels of student satisfaction across the whole of physical and natural sciences (students clearly enjoy geophysics). Anecdotal evidence from recent graduates suggests that job satisfaction and career development opportunities in the near surface sector are still good, despite the recession. New graduate employees appear to relish the wide range of experiences they gain from their roles and they value the ability to develop careers technically, rather than through management routes. All this suggests a bright future for our students as long we can address the broadening skills gaps in a pragmatic and cost efficient manner. To achieve this, we believe that a greater collaboration between industry and academia is the way forward and that innovative, inclusive, transparent, crosssector approaches to student learning are the solution to at least some of our problems. Unfortunately, both universities and industry are short of cash for grand initiatives. So, what can we do? Firstly, we must all revise our expectations and assumptions of what a modern

Practical experience is what employers are looking for.

undergraduate degree is. Ultimately, degrees are not the same as they were 10 years ago and the Bologna declaration on European degrees, which aims to harmonize degree education across all European countries, has emphasised generic learning over in-depth specialist knowledge at undergraduate level. This may seem contrary to the needs of employers in the near surface geophysical sector, but it does reflect the skills set of incoming graduates and the wishes of industry as a whole. Fortunately, the unifying Bologna framework has led to exciting developments in collaborative Masters programmes across a number of leading European Institutions (e.g., MSc in Applied Geophysics – This should ensure a long-term supply of well-trained geophysics postgraduates in the future. In the meantime, developing a wider range of multi-institution undergraduate fieldtrips and practical-based modules, whilst encouraging our industry part-

"...we believe that a greater collaboration between industry and academia is the way forward... "

ners to become actively involved, is an approach we can all take. The advantages are obvious: economies of scale, sharing equipment, wider learning experiences, and efficiencies in staff time. However, it would require a completely new way of working for many academic institutions (which are always reluctant to change) and a real commitment from industry. Nevertheless, creating longterm educational links between industry and academia is vital for our future, and not just through large programmes of sponsored degrees (as is common in the petrochemical industry). The near surface sector cannot afford such schemes and smaller, more inclusive cost-efficient ways are needed. Should we look at providing more industrial ‘placement’ opportunities for undergraduates during their studies? Many of our industrial partners say that summer placements are a good idea, in principle, but uneconomical in the current financial climate. Volunteer internships are an option and although uncommon in the EU geoscience sector, they are becoming increasingly popular with students who want to gain a competitive recruitment edge. However, volunteer programmes raise the issue of inclusivity as they are unlikely to attract the less affluent students whose graduating debt may be up to €50,000. As such,

"Anecdotal evi­dence from recent graduates suggests that job satisfaction and career develop­ment opportunities in the near surface sector are still good, despite the reces­sion."

So, what about the future? Despite the recent economic downturn, we still produce some excellent geophysics gradu-

ates whose enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to the subject are without question. Industry recognizes this and good people are always in demand across the sector. However, the student skills gap is real and we need to work collectively as a community to enhance the student experience, embed the necessary practical/industrial skills into our degree programmes, and ensure that we provide the right skills for the best people. One thing is certain, however, the recovery will happen and we need to be proactive to guarantee that, when it does, the future of our discipline is secured though the quality of our graduates.

Join us in Copenhagen! Responsibly Securing Natural Resources

74th EAGE Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE EUROPEC 2012 | 4-7 June 2012 | Bella Center Copenhagen CH12-V1H RS.indd 1

08-03-11 10:47

SPECIAL professional judgements • page 29 

All well and good, but there are some hurdles to cross first. As academics we need to reassure industry that we are not going to undermine their technological developments, intellectual property rights, etc., and develop joint projects that are directly related to their concerns/ needs. Likewise, industry has to understand that universities have complex administrative procedures and that staff time is always in demand. We can also be

more flexible in the way we utilize equipment. Universities cannot afford the latest state-of-the-art field kit for teaching alone and we should be encouraging industry to allow academia access to their in-house facilities. In return, academia should be willing to help support industry with the development of these technologies without demanding a slice of IPR or payment. All of this is possible; it just takes a little willingness and cooperation on both sides.


we feel it is better to embed real world experiences into industrial-led dissertation projects and fieldwork during the course of a student’s studies.

New recruits may hold the answer to the knowledge gap Julianne O’Brien, brand and communications manager, Ikon Science, praises the potential educational value of the Internet and other modern media.




obody reading this short article needs the personnel challenges facing the oil and gas industry to be spelled out. A survey conducted by the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 2007 found that more than one third of the technical workforce is now over the age of 50. Furthermore the American Association of Petroleum Geologists reports a 70% decline in enrolment in programmes related to geosciences since the 1980s. Most of us can see efforts being taken by our organizations to bridge this knowledge gap and some carry it out better than others; but the fact of the matter is there is ever less time to transfer knowledge. Our over-stretched companies are forced to do more with less and giving staff development the

appropriate time and attention becomes a snowballing challenge. So whilst we all struggle to dedicate resources to on the job training, run and implement mentoring programmes, and make sure that all of our best people are in place as coaches, is there anything else that we should be doing as a collective to help relieve the pressure on the industry as a whole? As a small and fast growing company, the Ikon Science recruitment strategy relies on getting the balance right between recruiting new graduates and making and retaining experienced hires. Our new graduates are mentored by experienced members of staff and therefore the calibre of the mentor and mentee

"The principle behind reverse mentoring is that senior managers seek mentors from junior ranks in the organization and tap into their technical expertise and behaviour on the web."

In order to get the information on the Web in the first place, we need to implement ‘reverse mentoring’ a tactic, first implemented by Proctor and Gamble a few years ago. The principle behind

reverse mentoring is that senior managers seek mentors from junior ranks in the organization and tap into their technical expertise and behaviour on the Web. Our baby boomers, historically familiar with preparing epic white papers and hourlong presentations, are not used to sharing their knowledge through the channels which are made available through modern technology. This way of sharing information does not replace established peer reviewed technical writing and published papers. We work in a scientific industry and there is, and always will be, significant merit in writing papers as a way of transferring knowledge and contributing to science. We will always be able to learn from attending seminars and training from distinguished lecturers. The new communication technologies make it easier for some of our learning to be taken out of the classroom and put into a language that generation Y can relate to through innovation and information. Technology gives us meta-tagging and reusable learning objects which might be just what we need to help us take some huge leaps forward in bridging the knowledge gap in the 10 years that we have left before many of our senior scientists leave the industry.


Generation Y accepts instant messaging and audio and video content as an integral part of life. They are used to learning over the Internet and accessing the information that they need quickly. Ikon Science is currently developing an online portal

of geoscience information. The vision is to create an internal and external zone where geoscientists can go to access easy to digest information on matters related to quantitative exploration and development, as well as ask questions and discuss queries with their peers if they want to. This is not a secret development and the company actively encourages other companies to share or collaborate so that more of the existing knowledge within the industry is captured and shared on the Internet and that people in the industry get used to using it, as quickly as possible.


staff is very important. It is vital that the younger members of staff have access to the experience and wisdom within the firm whenever they need it and that the culture of the organization makes them feel like these channels are open. Some 80% of learning is informal and on the job, according to the Harvard Business Review. John Cone, the former head of learning at Dell, said: ‘The ideal learning centre at Dell has a class of one and takes place within 10 minutes of someone recognizing that they need to know something.’

America ´s Oil & Gas Producers

Unconventional resources pose fresh challenges for our future geoscientists and engineers In keeping with this year’s theme at the Annual Meeting of the EAGE in Vienna, we invited a group of academic/researchers and some of today’s ­aspiring geoscientist and engineering students


Resources and the Role of Technology’.

SPECIAL unconventional view • page 33 

to discuss the ­implications of ‘Unconventional

The academic/research view Do you consider the use of unconventional resources as an unavoidable outcome to the scarcity of oil in the future? Vincent: Unless an obvious alternative energy source is on the market tomorrow, then more and more time and attention will be paid to exploiting the more difficult to reach hydrocarbon resources. When I was at university 10 years ago it was said there was about 50 years worth of oil and gas left…the date for running out of oil and gas keeps moving forward, it just shows how the technology keeps on developing.


SPECIAL unconventional view • page 34 

Van der Meijde: Not necessarily. I think it is a combined effect of scarcity (higher profits) combined with technological developments. In one of the largest onshore oilfields in Europe, the Schoonebeek field in northern Holland, they will re-start production in 2011 having stopped in 1996 (after 50 years of production). New techniques make it possible to retrieve another 125 million barrels from the field (with still another 600 million barrels not retrievable with the present status of technique). This oilfield is not an unconventional resource but it gives an example of the role of technological developments in exploring for resources that were at first beyond reach. My personal feeling is that in the coming years focus for production will be divided between new unconventional resources and the reopening of older traditional fields. Hamoumi: Yes, hydrocarbon resources are becoming more difficult to access and challenging to produce, on the other hand there is a global population growth and current conventional exploration targets

Mark van der Meijde is associate professor in 3D geological modelling at the Department of Earth System Analysis, Faculty for Geo- Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He has a Masters in exploration geophysics and seismology from Utrecht University and a PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH- Zurich) in Switzerland. In 2003 he started working at ITC on the integration of remote sensing in earth sciences research and education and has since developed numerous courses in earth sciences including a distance education programme in applied geophysics. Before his work at ITC he worked at the Dutch Geological Survey (NITG-TNO) and the Dutch Seismological Service (KNMI). He was member of the organization committee of GeoSkill 2010, an EAGE conference on the ‘Challenges of Training and Developing E&P Professionals in the 21st Century’.

are not expected to satisfy increasing energy demand. Moreover, oil prices today have led many countries and companies to reassess the value of their unconventional resources that were considered too difficult or too expensive to extract. For some countries, the exploitation of unconventional resources offers security of supply for decades, if not for centuries to come and could reduce import dependence. Unconventional resources will play an important role in the years to come for industrial activity and economy. However, best practices will of course need to be observed to preserve and protect the natural environment. Steuber: Yes, I do not see that the global demand for oil will significantly decrease so that unconventional resources will

become more and more competitive, with the depletion of the ‘easy’ oil and increasing prices of the commodity.

How will the use of unconventional resources impact the workforce in specific relation to new recruits entering the industry? Vincent: New places to travel! Plus it looks like there are some interesting new research opportunities out there. Hamoumi: The exploration and extraction of unconventional resources require new techniques and new expertise in engineering, geology, geophysics, petrophysic, geochemistry, environmental science, and other relevant disciplines. Companies will improve their workforce and bolster their intellectual capital par-

Naima Hamoumi is professor in sedimentology and oceanography as well as head of the Oceanology and Geodynamics of Sedimentary Basins Laboratory in the Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V. Agdal University, Rabat, Morocco. She was also technical adviser of the Minister Delegate in charge of scientific research (2003–2004).

"One can won­der if it is actually necessary to adapt the programmes for exploration for uncon­ventional resources."

What are the advantages and challenges in specializing in unconventional resources as a career path? Vincent: I’m working in a current research area – geological storage of CO2. It’s very interesting to be involved in a science area that keeps growing and expanding and I’m sure specializing in unconventional resources would be equally exciting. Van der Meijde: I find it difficult to judge the advantages and challenges in a professional career path. From an academic point of view, I think there will be very little opportunity in the exploration side of unconventional resources to do an educational specialization in this field. In the coming years, not many universities will start a new programme in this field. Short courses might be possible, traineeships are an option, but a true specialization is not something that I see materializing in the next few years. Hamoumi: I would suggest job opportunities working in emerging exploration plays; working in a domain characterized by permanent technological evolution, scientific discoveries and new projects; developing these resources in an economic and environmentally sustainable manner; and contributing to sustainable socio-economical development

Do you feel unconventional resources as a topic is well covered in university programmes? If not, how could you suggest they be better integrated into the educational system? Vincent: Unconventional resources were mentioned in my degree in term of enhanced oil recovery and oil shales, and it looks like Leeds has taken more interest in it since I left. However, I think you’d better ask your student respondents how they feel about this one! Van der Meijde: I can only speak for earth science education, not for engineering and/or production related studies. But for geophysics it is in general poorly covered in educational programmes. One can wonder if it is actually necessary to adapt the programmes for exploration for unconventional resources. Exploration techniques are not that different. Parameters under investigation are slightly different and especially in reservoir estimation it would be necessary to train interpreters specifically, but the general exploration and processing techniques will remain the same. To integrate it better it is probably best to invite an expert to make students aware of the changing skills needed by

Ceri J. Vincent graduated from the University of Leeds with an MSci in geophysics in 2000. She has worked for the British Geological Survey for 10 years on CO2 capture and storage, working with academic and industrial partners on projects such as the EU COACH project (Cooperation Action within CCS China-EU), the UK-NZEC project (Near Zero Emissions from Coal), and the Asia Development Bank CCS demonstration strategic analysis and capacity strengthening, China. Ceri is also project coordinator for the SAfECCS project which is preparing for a demonstration of CO2 injection in South Africa.

oil companies. Most of the specific training will be done on the job anyways, independent of the training a student gets at university. I can imagine that for production engineers the situation is a bit different since techniques necessary to retrieve the resources are different from traditional oil fields. Hamoumi: To my knowledge the use of unconventional resources is well covered in university bachelor to post graduate programmes in the US and Canada. Other

"I consider it more promising to establish a broad background in terms of disciplines and methods ."

SPECIAL unconventional view • page 35 

Steuber: A good background in various fields of the geosciences is needed as integration across disciplines will become more and more important.

Steuber: Considering the typical undergraduate curricula, it is not possible to specialize specifically in unconventional resources. A few graduate programmes may offer this option, but I consider it more promising to establish a broad background in terms of disciplines and methods, including basin analysis, geomechanics, and geochemistry, to be prepared for a career in what is now considered ‘unconventional’.


ticularly in the areas of operations, reservoir engineering, subsea, and sustainable extraction techniques. The significant economic impact related to the development of non-conventional energies may lead to the creation of new companies and more job opportunities.

Thomas Steuber received his PhD in 1989 from the University of Cologne, Germany. From 1989 to 1995, he was assistant professor at the University of Cologne. He was Heisenberg Fellow of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft from 1996 to 1999 at the University of Erlangen, Germany, and associate professor at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany from 1999 to 2005. His research focus is on Cretaceous carbonate platforms, chemostratigraphy, geochemical diagenesis of carbonates, and environmental isotope geochemistry. In 2005, he joined the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, where he is presently professor and chairman of petroleum geosciences.

parts of the world have only begun to focus on these resources more recently. It is necessary to establish relevant professional undergraduate bachelor’s programmes on unconventional resource. These programmes may be specialized or inter-disciplinary depending on the target profile. It’s also necessary to develop and promote an R&D programme’s science building capacity ranging from exploration to production plus technologies for improving unconventional resource recovery with minimum environmental impact.


SPECIAL unconventional view • page 36 

Will the current development in unconventional resources throughout the industry affect a student or new recruit’s perception of the industry? Vincent: As unconventional resources form a more and more significant part of our hydrocarbon production, it opens up new opportunities for a wide range of graduates, for example, developing tools that will work in the harsh environments being explored, a question for engineers as well as geologists.

Hamoumi: Yes, they provide them with the opportunity to gain new knowledge and to be competitive. Rapid development of technology and understanding of these unconventional resources makes these resources a formidable untapped potential.

tion possibilities within the education programme to learn more about unconventional resources, through literature studies or internships in organizations active in this field. I do not have enough background to give a good judgment for production engineers.

Steuber: The industry may be considered more innovative and a driver of science and technology, given that this message is actively promoted by the companies.

Hamoumi: I would mention a solid background in the key geological disciplines to be applied to unconventional play evaluation; understanding all the possible field development scenarios; solid background in information and communication technology; knowledge of legislation and economy related to unconventional resources; ability to work in more than one language; teamwork and leadership capabilities; good communication and networking skills; sense of responsibility and a critical mind; and also be observant and curious.

What do you advise students interested in specializing in unconventional resources as their future career? Vincent: I can only give the same career advice my parents gave me – pick the subjects you enjoy and are good at and look for a career in that area; after all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time doing it, you might as well enjoy it! Van der Meijde: For geologists and geophysicists not necessarily much has to change. Just make sure you have a good solid background and use the specializa-

Steuber: Keep track of developments in your field, take advantage of industrysponsored research projects, but at the same time try to achieve an education that covers as many relevant disciplines as possible.

Register now! 73rd EAGE Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE EUROPEC 2011 | 23-26 May 2011 | Reed Messe Wien

Students’ view

Gulati: I wouldn't call it unavoidable per se. If the demand for oil and gas keeps rising, and we don't find an alternative energy source, then exploiting unconventional resources will happen when it becomes profitable. If we can't develop the techniques to make the process cheaper than, say, making fuel cells then it probably won't happen. I've read that whale oil was worth the equivalent of $1500 a barrel at its peak, but since it became cheaper to make kerosene, people weren't willing to pay out for the dwindling supply of whale oil. Likewise people aren't going to pay the price of developing unconventional resources unless they don't have a better option. Gimeata: Mankind started looking for alternatives to oil when scientists realized that this resource was going to end in 50-100 years. In one way or another, humans have always used unconventional

Ward: With demand still rising, conventional resources peaking and little plausible alternative energy, the industry will need to evolve to keep the lights on. Here in the UK, with a maturing North Sea, we want to improve our national energy security and reduce our reliance on Russian gas by encouraging investment in UK shale gas. Golikov: Hydrocarbon deposits are not infinite. There are various estimates, more or less optimistic, but all of them conclude that oil and gas deposits on our planet decrease and it becomes more and more difficult and expensive to explore them. The only one possible way for our society is a gradual movement to the unconventional resources. We have to learn how to transform the energy from the renewable sources to keep the current tendency in industry and living standards.

Anastasiia Ierofeieva is studying geosciences at the geological department in the School of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Petrography at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev. She recently took part in an IAESTE international exchange programme in Scotland at the University of St Andrews. Her main areas of interest are ecological geology and new resource development. She is currently a president of EAGE student chapter of Taras Shevchenko University.

How will the use of unconventional resources impact a student’s career path choice? Erofeeva: Geology will soon be divided into two progressive directions: ecological geology such as water, earths internal heat, etc, which will actively promote the use of unconventional resources; and

Oliver Ward read Geology at the University of Bristol. Since graduation in 2009 he has spent a year in industry with Exploration Geosciences, an independent oil consultancy, later moving to CGGVeritas. In the spring he was awarded the PESGB (Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain) scholarship award and NERC (Natural Environmental Research Council) grant for postgraduate study. He is currently working towards a MSc in exploration geophysics at the University of Leeds where he is course representative and president of the EAGE Leeds Student Chapter.

SPECIAL unconventional view • page 37 

Erofeeva: Yes, and not only oil shortages, I think that geology should move to the use of unconventional resources primarily due to a potential ecological catastrophe, which is increasing every day. After all, if we imagine for a minute that the Earth is like the human body we can immediately understand what conventional exploration can do to it. Take the smallest piece of the body, what will happen? You will disrupt the functioning of the whole organism, nature was not designed for such excessive use of its components, and as a result we could have a catastrophe.

resources, but we didn’t have the chance or the technology to develop it into a more serious domain. Of course, the fact that the oil is going to end soon is a really great motivation for looking into different alternatives. This is not the only reason why the need for non-fossil fuels exists. Taking into account the high costs of oil production, the whole infrastructure needed for oil to get out of the earth and into the market in different forms, the pollution which is produced during the technological processing, and accidents that happened over the years at oil rigs, unconventional resources are a much cleaner, safer, easier, and infinite way to produce energy, for a world whose population is growing exponentially and with it, also the need for more energy.


Do you consider the use of unconventional resources an unavoidable outcome to the scarcity of the future of oil?

classical geology, which will continue to focus on mining the earth’s resources. Thus, students from the first days of training will have to choose the direction of development, but more and more young professionals will go down the route of ecological uses of natural resources. Gulati: Students will be less inclined to seek careers in the oil and gas industry if it turned out they had to spend money on additional specific training, especially if that training doesn't transfer to other fields. The biggest impact will come from pressure from other energy fields, poaching manpower, investment dollars, and profit margins from oil and gas.


SPECIAL unconventional view • page 38 

Gimeata: Considering that the main concern for scientists will be developing the technology and methods of exploration and exploitation for unconventional resources, involuntarily, the paths of students and young professionals will become aligned with this branch of science, and this field will improve only if the new generations become involved in discovering and perfecting these resources. A lot of other interests will have to become involved: the financial aspects of this must be taken care of and the public needs to become more and more informed, so not only geoscientists will be affected by the new changes in the world of energy. Ward: It may provide a second, much needed, boom in recruitment highlighting the need for exploration and engineering graduates who are familiar with integrating geoscience and engineering information. I think we will see a move towards specialized, multi-disciplinary Masters degrees.

"It may provide a second, much needed, boom in recruitment highlighting the need for exploration and engineering graduates who are familiar with integrating geoscience and engineering information." Golikov: Choosing a career is a difficult step for everyone, and it is very important to select an area with prospects. Such area would be unconventional resources. In a few years time investigation of unconventional resources will set the main trend, just as now such a trend is set by the oil industry.

rest of the world understand the importance of this change, the importance of using new resources, whether we are talking about deep water shale gas for instance, or geothermal energy, or whatever the choice resource is. The challenge is to be creative and effective at the same time.

What do you estimate the advantages and challenges will be in specializing in unconventional resources as a career path?

Ward: Unconventionals are likely to be of increasing importance in the industry and hence this type of expertise will be required for many years to come but, being such a new frontier, there are many unknowns involving higher risks and greater technical skill.

Erofeeva: The main problem is financing and the availability of a sufficient number of specialists for research, and also student support in the development of this area. There are not enough scientists currently involved and I think it would be great to make a team that would unite geologists from around the world with the same goal. The main thing is to start the process, and then it begins to develop. Gulati: You have the danger of finding that your chosen area of expertise has become obsolete in favour of a cheaper or simpler alternative, and that your more specialized skills won't transfer to another field, or a different area in this field. Gimeata: I think that the main challenge for these new prospects is to make the

Pavel Golikov graduated in 2007 with a BSc in geology from the Novosibirsk State University. He obtained his MSc in geology in 2009 and has started his PhD course at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, researching TTI anisotropy processing and analysis.

Golikov: The study of unconventional resources at the present moment is ‘terra incognita’. Thus the student who chooses this area has to be prepared to meet a lot of challenges on the way. On the other hand, the new area is the shortest way to achieve the great results and discover something new. That is the main advantage of studying unconventional resources.

Do you feel the use of unconventional resources is well covered in university Bachelor to post graduate programmes? If not, how could you suggest they be better integrated into the educational system? Erofeeva: There are only a few universities focused on unconventional resources research, as the majority of universities are focused on classic studies. Not many university scientists advocate the use of unconventional resources. How can students make a choice if they can’t see another direction? In my university we study using unconventional resources in a part of ecological geology for only one semester. Also, the eco-geology that we

Nina Girneata is a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in petroleum engineering at the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics, University of Bucharest. Areas of interest are tectonics and sedimentology research and seismic interpretation. After taking part at the 72nd Annual EAGE meeting in Barcelona, she decided to get more involved in the local student activities, and got elected in October 2010 as the new president of the EAGE Student Chapter.

Gimeata: From what I have seen at the conferences in which I took part, leaving aside poster presentations, the students’ interest in these resources is growing more and more, admittedly through the help of organizations such as EAGE, AAPG, and SEG, through workshops, lectures, oral presentations, and so on. Students have to express their need for a detailed course about these resources. Unless we express desire for such lectures in the university, I don’t believe that this subject will be covered soon. A very well trained generation needs to start looking into

Ward: Until recently unconventional resources took the back seat in the lecture theatre as a reflection on limited researchled teaching, but with increasing interest and investment they are slowly moving to the front of the class. I believe by encouraging collaboration between engineering and earth science departments supplemented by industry-led educational workshops the use of unconventional resources could be better integrated into the educational system. Golikov: Unconventional sources are not well represented in university programmes. I think that the main reason is the weak understanding of the nature of unconventional sources and its area of application. At present the society is not completely ready to move to unconventional sources, so the main task for universities is to guide people in the direction of the new age. To do that we need to change our mindset to make it more

"At present the society is not completely ready to move to unconven­tional sources, so the main task for uni­versities is to guide people in the direction of the new age."

ecology-oriented, and obviously we need to achieve new horizons in science and technology development. Speaking practically, I think universities should include more programmes concerning ecology, engineering sciences, and sociology.

What is your current perception of the industry considering the current developments in unconventional resources? Erofeeva: In my opinion, non-conventional resources are still very poorly utilized and methods currently in use require major financial resources, which is disadvantageous from the standpoint of modernity. We need a revised approach to the methodology and develop new ones. Much remains to be discovered but we the students are ready to exert all efforts to develop new techniques. Gimeata: From what I have read and seen, the big oil companies have started looking into this a lot earlier than expected. The idea for prospecting deep and ultra-deep water oil and gas is not exactly a new one, but the technologies needed for such projects are still in the course of developing. This is what I consider an unconventional resource at a general level, a prospect that in the past did not present itself with the best economical outcome, and it was left for future exploration. The companies are aware of the fact that current resources are becoming scarcer by the day, and the economy is taking a big hit because of this, and consequently the world’s population is affected. The conventional oil is about to end according to specialists, and the unconventional one becomes the best prospect for fossil fuels.

SPECIAL unconventional view • page 39 

Gulati: I'm not sure it's necessary or even recommendeded that the development of unconventional resources be specifically covered in a Bachelor's degree in geoscience. The BSc should focus on the broad scientific concepts, because students need to learn the tools that will help them solve a career spanning set of problems.

these issues, and learn in great detail, and be the path openers for present high school students, who will be the next generation of engineers and geoscientists.


study has much more of a theoretical basis than a practical element, it needs to be updated with new theory and methods for using unconventional resources and developing new ones.

"Energy companies must invest more in unconventional source develop­ment, even if it is not economically viable to do this right now." ish the economic ecological issues the world is facing, and to successfully take care of the increasing energy demand.


SPECIAL unconventional view • page 40 

Askhay Gulati holds a BSc degree in civil and engineering geology from the Nagpur University. After working as a programmer he took the opportunity to do his MSc at the University of Calgary. His thesis work deals with the algorithms designed to reconstruct improperly sampled wavefields. He is passionate about seismic data processing and is striving for an outstanding career with outstanding people at a major oil and gas company.

From what I know places like Alaska and Siberia are being explored for such oil. Shale gas and gas hydrates are believed to be more cost efficient than drilling for conventional resources in small reservoirs that are at the limit between profit and financial loss. The world is aware that oil cannot be replaced yet by any other fuel, biological or not, because of the vast use it has in a lot of different industries. As for unconventional resources that do not involve hydrocarbons, I believe that the possibilities are endless from electric cars, to wind energy, nuclear plants, and biological fuels to melting plastic back into oil as a Japanese scientist recently discovered may be possible. The only thing that needs to function is human creativity and the rest is only a question of time. From my standpoint, in order to be effective such resources need to solve, or at least dimin-

Ward: Until recently the headlines seemed to be dominated by supermajors and a few specialist companies as many smaller companies are reluctant to embrace such high cost developments. This month Cuadrilla Resources began production of the first UK shale gas field in Lancashire which could supply 10% of Britain’s future gas needs. This reflects DECC’s (Department of Energy and Climate Change) reluctance to be left behind in the hunt for unconventionals. Unfortunately, much of the press is focusing on the environmental concerns of these developments somewhat tarnishing the British public’s view and leaving graduates reluctant to join the industry. Golikov: Energy companies must invest more in unconventional source development, even if it is not economically viable to do this right now. In my mind all the large international oil companies will change their profiles in the near future with regard to unconventional sources.

What do you advise students coming into this field of study (geosciences and engineering) considering the future challenges this industry will face? Erofeeva: My advice is for them to reconsider their attitude to nature and geology, think about new directions for science without harming the Earth, and without disturbing the natural rhythm. Geologists are the defenders of the Earth, not the destroyers! Geologists need to remember that, and if we unite with the ideas we will achieve results very quickly. Just imagine: no more huge drills boring into the plan-

etary body, no crushing rocks machines for energy producing. Instead, we would have installations which will produce energy with no influence on the natural rhythm. And I am more than confident that this is exactly what was intended by nature! We just need to find methods of using the wealth of the Earth’s energies without harming it and move to a new level of consciousness. Gulati: I would recommend that students not specialize in a given area. A multidisciplinary approach is the way forward, so any employee who has expertise in more than one field will be a huge asset to any company. Gimeata: They should keep in mind that geology is everywhere around us, and not only in oil production. Mankind has started asking questions about our home since forever, and there will always be new questions to answer. Geology is around us, in the food we have, in our homes, on our roads, it’s everywhere. They need to understand that oil is just a part of geology and its possibilities are far from being explored. So the message is: heads up and never stop asking questions about the rocks around us. Ward: Be aware of all facets of geoscience and engineering as exploration and exploitation of unconventional resources requires integrating various types of information to make informed decisions, much more so than conventionals. Golkov: I suggest the students who choose geosciences and engineering as a part of their future life be open to the new challenges and not to be overfocused on hydrocarbons exploration.

Do You Have Experience in Seismic Processing\Imaging? Looking to Join a Fast Growing Company with Leading Edge Technologies? Please contact for available opportunities.

Learning in the oil and gas industry needs to embrace our






Elie Daher* makes a plea for new learning strategies that recognize the impact of the emerging power of social networks.

Learning methods have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. I have witnessed how learning has shifted from classroom training to a variety of learning methods varying from e-learning to blended learning, action learning, collaborative learning, or social learning. Back in the 90s, learning was a one way event. It was a teachercentred process relying on students to reproduce knowledge transmitted by the teacher rather than produce knowledge of their own. The teacher relied on lectures, supported by textbook readings and fill-in-the-worksheet practices that reduce

students to passive recipients of information and fail to develop their thinking skills. Fun was a dreaded word in education. If students were having fun, they were not learning. The assessment methods were focusing on the amount of facts the students have memorized. In the early 2000s, the training industry thought that it would be better to replace instructor-led courses with e-learning modules and it began to automate the training process by the use of online courses. These were delivered and tracked through learning management systems (LMS).  This was followed by a period of disillusionment with early e-learning on the part of managers, as it failed to deliver on early promises, and employees, who were unenthusiastic about the requirement to plough through hours of online courses on their own. Attempts at modifying e-learning models from coached e-learning sessions to targeted e-learning modules for specific skills or knowledge that are best suited for e-learning dissemination have enhanced the absorption rate of e-learning information and improved the retention of information (ROI) through e-learning.

The current approach is to couple e-learning courses with coached instructor-led courses and this is often referred to as a blended learning approach. This is believed to enable students to accelerate their retention of the information delivered during formal teacher-centred classes. The blended learning concept has been augmented with a variety of learning activities, and each company tends to define their own blend. The blended approach is sometimes supplemented by the addition of practicals to make training more relevant and allow the learning-by-doing concept. Some companies have gone further by adding an element of coaching and mentoring to the blend. Mentoring and coaching are intended to ensure that the knowledge disseminated during the formal learning sessions is applied successfully not only during the controlled practicals but rather on the job. Learners need to be engaged in activities such as problem-solving, producing original interpretations, or other decision-making activity The coach becomes the person responsible for ensuring students successfully transfer their newly acquired knowledge to the workplace, thereby improving the overall return on investment in learning.

* The opinions expressed here are entirely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the views of his employer Schlumberger.

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here is increasing pressure to use new information and communication technologies to teach students, children, and adults, the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st century. Somehow the oil and gas sector has got behind in embracing the new methods of learning in the workplace today. Research has outlined the radical implications new information and communication technologies can have for conventional teaching and learning. A major transformation of the teachinglearning process and the way teachers and learners access, learn, apply, and recycle newly acquired information and knowledge is happening. It is my opinion that the oil and gas sector should embrace these changes and adopt some of the methods involved.



However, in developing any flavour of blended learning, some key elements need to be respected: • Learning is an active not a passive process •  Competencies should be defined and assessed, •  ‘Formal’ training must be relevant, timely, and be least disruptive •  e-Learning is best used to bring awareness when part of the learning and development (L&D) roadmap •  An initial formal learning period combining theory and application helps the employee become productive quicker For many organizations, this is very much the state of learning in the workplace today.  So what is the future of learning? With the staggering growth of Internet usage, social media, and applications, new possibilities are emerging which already show a powerful impact on meeting learning needs and it is clear that the educational potential of these new possibilities has barely been tapped. It used to be said the more you know the more power you have. Today, the real power that would differentiate you is in your capability to find, interpret, communicate, and turn knowledge into action.


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Going back to in 1985 when I graduated from engineering school, I could predict that at least 75–80% of the acquired knowledge at university would be carried over to my job during the first year of my employment. However, after 25 years, I would rate that I might have

Source: ICT in higher Education – A United Nations Publication 2002.

retained a mere 10% of my acquired knowledge at university. What I learned at school and university was a mix of core concepts, good basic numeracy, analytical, conceptual, and communication skills as well as those required within my engineering domain. I was ‘unknowingly prepared’ to tackle the workplace. It was through a broad mix of formal learning events that I have progressed in my professional life. This includes blended learning programmes and informal learning through meetings and practice, social media, collaboration sessions as well as experiential learning and job rotation. This kind of learning is not a new discovery. A small study conducted by Harm Wegstra a former KPMG consultant in 2002 while consulting at Sara Lee, defined formal and informal learning and their relative percentage in the workplace. This study was referred to in one of the Jay Cross blogs, one of the thinkers of the

Sara Lee survey conducted by Harm Wegstra in 2002.

social learning paradigm: http://www. The study covered 20 employees from the sales and marketing, management, and the HR department. They were asked to write down (individually) all their workrelated learning experiences. The results were categorized in the following learning activities: -  Experience on the job 45% (Informal) -  Manuals and instructions 2% (Informal) -  Training programmes 8% ( Formal) -  Networking 30% (Informal) -  Mentoring and coaching 3% (Formal) -  Special assignments 2% (Formal) -  Workshops 10% (Formal) This means that 77% of the activities can be labelled as highly informal and 23% as highly formal. Formal training is defined as structured planned training events often imposed on employees as part of their L&D schedule plans, but this has only ever addressed 20% or 30% at best of workplace learning. When organizations define L&D budgets, they typically focus today on formal learning which is heavily skewed towards classroom training, e-learning modules, or maybe extended to the formalized coaching process supplied by a third party providing subject matter experts. What is left untapped is the informal aspect of learning. Our current models for managing people, training, and knowledgesharing are insufficient for the modern fast moving workplace. Knowledge workers today need to connect with others to co-

solve problems. Sharing tacit knowledge through conversations is an essential component of knowledge work. Social media enable adaptation, and the development of emergent practices, through conversations.

"I was ‘unknowingly prepared’ to tackle

Learning can occur anywhere and at any time and often where we least expect it. Technology has changed the way we communicate, interact, and more importantly the way we learn. Learning combines four basic elements: the experiences we have, the opportunity to practice and embed those experiences in our long term memory, the conversations and interaction we have with others, and reflection. We learn through what we do, through what we see, and through what we hear. If we think about the most important learning experiences we have ever had in our lives, most of them will probably have occurred through the errors we have made. We usually make a point of never repeating those mistakes and, as a consequence, our behaviour has changes and we have ‘learned’.

progressed in my professional life."

In order to achieve a step change in learning, traditional methods of teaching have to move away from a teacher-centred environment to a learner-centred environment. As technology has created change in all aspects of society, it is also changing

our expectations of what students must learn in order to function in the new world economy. Students will have to learn to navigate through large amounts of information, to analyze and make decisions, and to master new knowledge domains in an increasingly technological society. In addition, the role of the teacher has to change from knowledge transmitter to that of learning facilitator, knowledge guide, knowledge navigator, and co-learner with the student. The new role does not diminish the importance of the teacher but requires new knowledge and skills. Students will have greater responsibility for their own learning in this environment as they seek out, find, synthesize, and share their knowledge with others. Technology provides powerful tools to support the shift to student-centered learning and the new roles of teachers and students.

Add social mix into blended learning The emergence of social media tools in recent years has changed the face of the Web, moving it from the read-only Web to

the read-write Web, also known as Web 2.0, which supports individuals creating their own content in a variety of formats, making connections with people, sharing information and experiences, and/or collaborating on different activities. The key is to use the social mix to capture and disseminate knowledge in an organization and make it part of the learning plans of employees. Social mix includes wikis, blogs, discussion forums, ask the experts, best practice sharing, share with a friend, success is at hand, podcasting, social networking, and social bookmarking. Practical sessions over the intranets or internet are no longer mystery scenarios and immersive simulations are now being widely used to augment learning.

Change the way training is delivered Death by PowerPoint has long passed. We should move away from presentations. New methods like knowledge cafes, knowledge exchange, simulation, and action learning are beginning to make headway in the training continuum. Allow flexibility for learners to access or take training.

Teacher-centred and learner-centred learning ­environments. Source: ICT in higher Education – A United Nations Publication 2002.

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Move from teacher-centred to learner-centred environment

mix of formal learning events that I have


So how do we move into the future and develop high performing learning organizations in the oil and gas industry?

the workplace. It was through a broad

They might not be able to access training when they need it. Find ways to have training accessible anytime. Make training relevant to the job function and allow learners to pull information as learners are bombarded with information pushed daily with emails, text messages, reports, and the list goes on.

"One of the largest roadblocks to get­ting started on any new initiative is having the courage to face those who think what you’re doing is dangerous or dumb."

Roadblocks to the future of learning One of the largest roadblocks to getting started on any new initiative is having the courage to face those who think what you’re doing is dangerous or dumb. Maybe they have heard a story of someone doing something that scares them. Perhaps it’s the unknown itself. Here are the most common stumbling blocks we hear about with regard to social learning: •  Our organization will never embrace social media. •  People will say inappropriate things or post incorrect information •  Our people need training, not socializing

•  We need structure in training delivery not chaos •  Seniors or SME will not share willingly, knowledge is power syndrome. •  This can’t be measured

Conclusion Senior leaders consider employees’ knowledge a strategic priority, yet they often leave the topic of learning out of strategy discussions because years ago they relegated it to the training department. Social learning has arrived regardless of your participation. You are now confronted with two choices: get on board or get in

the way. Considering the way that young adults and new graduates are learning today, I would tend to choose the first option. Social learning is not just about being social. It’s not just a matter of having the right tools. It’s about making learning a priority and using the tools of social media to facilitate a culture where we get better at getting better. Leaders, who dismiss social learning as a fad, demanding results that unequivocally demonstrate improved learning outcomes, are opting for a model of learning that is no longer sustainable in a fast changing, information rich, networked society.

LEARN FROM THE EXPERTS EAGE offers various education programmes to its members and other (young) professionals / academics.

Highlights for 2011:

SEG/EAGE Distinguished Instructor Short Course (DISC) 2011 Tour Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Instructor: Mr Julien Meunier (CGGVeritas) EAGE Education Days (various short courses offered at one location) Education Days Stavanger, 10-14 October 2011 Education Days Kuala Lumpur, 31 October - 4 November 2011 Education Days Moscow, 21-25 November 2011


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EAGE Education Tour (EET) – various locations around the world EET 5: Seismic Geomechanics: How to Build and Calibrate Geomechancial Models Using 3D and 4D Seismic Data Instructor: Dr Jörg Herwanger (WesternGeco)

EAGE Education online Wide offer of online courses and lectures exclusively for EAGE members

Please visit the EAGE website for more information about events, topics, dates and locations

14103-EDUGEN11-V1H.indd 1

10-03-11 10:40

Be Bold. Discover the Opportunities. CGGVeritas is a leading international geophysical company delivering a wide range of technologies, services and equipment throughout the global oil and gas industry.

For more information:

Quick guide to recruiting

top talent through social media Coleen Byrne, coauthor of a new book on the Web and recruitment strategies,* puts some questions to Jon Tait, head of global attraction at BP, on how one industry oil giant is


SPECIAL social media • page 48 

using social media.


What sites and tools and how are you using them? The one that is used by most organizations for hiring is LinkedIn. We don’t just use the recruiter search and advertising functionality. We have used LinkedIn also for research purposes, and to understand our brand positioning in the marketplace. We have steered away from using Facebook as part of our strategy as research tells us that people want to keep their personal and professional lives separate. They don’t like to feel like they are getting bombarded with job ads whilst they are messaging their friends or uploading photographs from the weekend. The one way we have used Facebook is for a competition that we run in the UK for people in their first or second year at university. Last year’s winners went on the Ultimate Field Trip, a seven week internship where they worked on a real project, went offshore, and visited Norway. We used the Facebook page to communicate with teams throughout the competition. I also use Glassdoor and WikiJobs to understand what people are saying about our organization. That helps shape what we need to communicate in the marketplace about what it is like to work at BP and what a great company BP is.

Are you primarily using social media to attract entry level? Apart from the ways I referenced, we are using it for the experienced community, where the majority of our social activity is focused at the moment.

Yes, mainly through LinkedIn. We are using it to target talent and identify great people in the marketplace; we are advertising to people through it; we are putting more information about BP on LinkedIn; and we are posting jobs to LinkedIn. So as a social media engine it is definitely part of our overall sourcing strategy.

As a recruitment expert, do you think social media in general will play a bigger part in the recruitment process? What trends do you find most interesting? The answer is yes for four reasons. Firstly, social media tools support direct sourcing efforts. For example, later this year LinkedIn is launching employee referral functionality. Social media is about community and content. So the second thing I am watching is the intersection between these. How communities you are interested in access content of interest, and how you build and leverage a relationship with those individuals on the back of that content. Good examples of this would be LinkedIn and Inside Connector that bring rich content to people in a way that is of interest to them. The third area is narrowing the space between the personal and the professional. I spoke before how we don’t use Facebook for recruiting, but companies like Identified are approaching this intersection between the personal versus professional by leveraging ring-fenced Facebook information for the benefit of corporations and individuals. Finally, there is a danger that many companies can be quite US- or UK-centric in their thinking and which technologies that they leverage. There are some really interesting social media in other countries,

* The Web 2.0 Job Finder: Winning Social Media Strategies to Get the Job You Want from Fortune 500 Hiring Pros, by Brenda Greene and Coleen Byrne, is available from 15 April 2011 (Career Press), and is currently available for pre-order on sites such as

BP's Joe Tait: digital strategies for recruitment.

particularly in the Far East and China, that western companies would be well advised to watch out for.

If I were looking for a job in the oil industry, targeting your company, what is the best way to get my resume noticed? Well, there are three things you should do. The best way is to apply for a job through You need to have an appropriate CV that is well written and relevant to us. The second is also on our career site, where you can upload your CV and register for job alerts. We have a team that is constantly mining our database of people. So if you are in there, you are more likely to be found. The third thing is to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date.

Win a free copy! EAGE is giving away ten copies of the book The Web 2.0 Job Finder: Winning Social Media Strategies to Get the Job You Want from Fortune 500 Hiring Pros. Go to before 15 May 2011 to enter the competition.

SPECIAL social media • page 49 

It is one of the digital strategies we use to attract talent to BP. It is still in the early days. Many of the products and tools out there are new, so social media is one of many channels that we are using to communicate with potential employees.

Looking at the year ahead, do you think social media will play a bigger part in your companies’ recruitment process? And, if so, how?


Is your company currently using social media as part of the recruiting process?

How Landmark founder sounded out an alternative career We profile the extraordinary transition of Dr Andy Hildebrand from innovative geoscientist to music


SPECIAL career moves • page 50 

industry guru.

Today Hildebrand is probably better known, even notorious, for his music industry invention Auto-Tune, the technology that ensures recording artists from Justin Bieber to Cher sing in perfect harmony. The first song published using Auto-Tune on the vocals, rather than simple pitch correction, was Cher’s 1998 hit song ‘Believe’. Some musicians have accused Auto-Tune of ruining music. Hildebrand’s view is that Auto-Tunes was designed to be used discretely, and that no one needs to know that any software correction had been applied to vocal tracks. In one interview, he was asked if he thought that recording artists from the era before the availability of digital recording techniques were more talented because they actually had to know

how to sing in tune. Hildebrand replied that ‘cheating’ in the old days involved endless retakes to get a final result. As he stated: ‘It's easier now with Auto-Tune. Is the actor who plays Batman "cheating" because he can't really fly?’ From 1976 through 1989, Hildebrand had worked as a research scientist in the geophysical industry, producing groundbreaking work for Exxon Production Research and Landmark Graphics, of which he was one of the founders. Leaving Landmark in 1989, he returned to one of his first loves, music, studying music composition at the Shepard School of Music at Rice University. A year later his creative energy found an outlet with the founding of Antares Audio Technologies, at that time called Jupiter Systems. In the course of his studies, Hildebrand had encountered what was, at the time, considered an unavoidable limitation of the process of digital sampling. Faced with this limitation – the inability to create seamless ‘loops’ in samples of multiple instrumentalists – he set out to overcome it. Utilizing cutting-edge digital signal processing (DSP) technology drawn

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here seems to be no limit to where geoscientists working in oil and gas E&P may find themselves. Take for example the career of Dr Harold (Andy) Hildebrand. He was a co-founder of Landmark Graphics, now part of Halliburton, which introduced the first standalone seismic data interpretation workstation.



from the geophysical industry, he had soon invented a new looping technique that, to the amazement of everyone who heard it, did indeed succeed in ‘doing the impossible’ (a description that would be applied with uncanny consistency to each subsequent Antares product). Convinced that there was a market for his new technology, he formed Jupiter Systems to further develop and market the program, now called Infinity. The product met with immediate market success, becoming (and remaining to this day) the premier looping tool for professional sound designers. Following the success of Infinity, Hildebrand next turned his attention to the emerging market for software plug-ins. Drawing again on geophysics-based DSP technology, he developed and introduced

MDT (Multiband Dynamics Tool), one of the first successful Pro Tools plug-ins. This was followed by JVP (Jupiter Voice Processor), SST (Spectral Shaping Tool) and, in 1997, Auto-Tune, the program that corrects pitch problems in vocals and other solo instruments. Auto-Tune became an instant phenomenon, firmly establishing Antares (as the company had been renamed) as a developer of truly astonishing products using DSP technology. Auto-Tune quickly became the largest-selling plug-in of all time. In 1997, Antares made the decision to move into the hardware DSP effects processor market with the ATR-1, a rack-mount version of Auto-Tune. The company incorporated in May 1998 and, in January 1999, acquired Cameo International, its former distributor. In late 1999 Antares once again created a new product category with the

Antares Microphone Modeler, a plug-in that allows any reasonable quality microphone to sound like any of a wide variety of other microphones. It was followed in 2000 by a hardware version, the AMM-1. At the Audio Engineering Society Conference in September of 2000, the Microphone Modeler was honoured as the year's outstanding achievement in signal processing software. In addition to directly addressing the hardware and software DSP market, Antares is these days committed to wider distribution of its proprietary technologies through strategic relationships with other key partners, both in and out of the professional audio and musical instrument industries. It is perhaps befitting that Antares is the name of a bright star in the galaxy, because Hildebrand has been shining not only in the music technology universe but in geophysics too where his legacy lives on today.


SPECIAL career moves • page 52 

"Hildebrand has been shining not only in the music technology universe but in geophys­ics too where his legacy lives on today."

Some of the younger staff at CGGVeritas talk about how the company has met their career expectations.

Geoscientists have opportunity to work worldwide at CGGVeritas


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GGVeritas strongly believes that its reputation for the high quality of geophysical services it delivers hinges on the skills and commitment of its people. It enables the company to offer career opportunities at its key centres including Houston, Calgary, Rio, Mexico, London, Paris, Oslo, Singapore, and Perth in 2011. Highly qualified graduates – those with PhDs in the disciplines of geophysics, mathematics, physics, or telecommunications – from the world’s top engineering schools and universities can apply to work with one of the world’s leading seismic technology companies.

‘We look for graduates with strong technical backgrounds and excellent interpersonal skills. In return, we give them a fast-track introduction to our company and business via our GeoRise new hire training and development programmes,’

says Bertrand Calmon, who manages recruitment and human resources communication at CGGVeritas. ‘This gets them involved very early in an intensive technical and professional experience of our key geophysical disciplines. With our worldwide reach we offer attractive development and progression opportunities in a multi-cultural and diverse working environment. International career opportunities are inherent to our business, yet we are also expanding local human resources by recruiting the best local talent while encouraging staff to follow challenging career paths in their own countries or regions, all with the support of a large, international company.’ The profiles of some of the company’s young employees give an idea of some typical career opportunities at CGGVeritas:

Equality in the field Anna Leslie, 30, land acquisition adviser After graduating from Otago University in New Zealand with a B. Comm in Marketing, a BSc in Geology, and an MSc in Geophysics, Anna began her career doing field work and processing marine and land seismic data for the New Zealand research institute, GNS Science. In 2005 Anna joined CGGVeritas as a field QC working on a land crew operating in Oman. She then spent three years in the field as a QC manager working on various land crews in remote locations in Oman and the Libyan desert as well as a shallow water OBC crew in the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan.

responding to queries from the crews, our main offices, or our clients. If I’m in the field I’ll be checking the workflow and running tests on the data. I like travelling and dealing with different environments, trying to anticipate problems and optimizing the workflow. It’s all about providing the best solution to meet client requirements. The most valuable lessons I have learned and experience I have gained have been

on the job. My next ambition is to be the first woman in a senior management role in global land acquisition! CGGVeritas has always supported me by allowing me to challenge myself and I’m sure this will continue. Geophysics is great for anybody wanting to work on the cutting edge of their field where technology is forever advancing. I think the global seismic industry is an exciting and satisfying career for women and the opportunities are endless if you apply yourself.’

In 2008 Anna transferred to Muscat and then Dubai as acquisition adviser, supporting and visiting crews in Egypt, Oman and Qatar. She also provided seismic survey design support for the preparation of Middle East tenders and presented land survey design and techniques at client meetings and CGGVeritas Middle East roadshows.

Since June 2010, I’ve been based in our Paris office, supporting and attending survey startups across Africa and Europe. Part of my job involves liaising with international clients on survey design but I also teach the field aspects of programming at our CGGVeritas University. Every day is different. If I’m in the office I may be Anna visiting a crew in Egypt.


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‘It had always been my ambition to work in seismic acquisition operations so I was thrilled to be offered a job with CGGVeritas. It was daunting at first being a female among mostly male crews but I have always found that I am treated as an equal. The QC side of seismic operations is important to ensure that the quality of the data acquired meets client expectations.

Engineering makes geophysical acquisition possible Frédéric Simonnot, 29, marine research engineer physics and seismic processing alongside people with completely different backgrounds: reservoir specialists, navigation specialists, acquisition project leaders, land party managers, and geophysicists. But we were all together as part of a long-term partnership with the company and this commitment and flexibility to move around the different disciplines continues throughout your career. After graduating from Rennes University in France with an MSc in mathematics, physics and mechanics, Frédéric spent two years studying design, manufacturing, project management and business at the Arts & Métiers Paris Tech. engineering school in order to gain a good grounding in the industrial applications of scientific expertise.


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In 2006 Frédéric joined CGGVeritas via its GeoRise programme. After his geophysical induction course and a short stint at its Crawley, UK processing centre, he spent 15 months alternating between periods at the company’s Paris office and on board eight different vessels, working as navigator, gun mechanic, observer, and processor in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Vietnam, Myanmar, Brazil, Qatar, India, Angola, and Senegal. ‘I was drawn to geophysics because of its mystery and how much there is still to discover. The sheer number and diversity of skills it takes to map the subsurface fascinates me. CGGVeritas lets you follow a unique development path, giving you the opportunity and confidence to take on bigger challenges. Its GeoRise programme was what attracted me in the first place because it is very international and multi-disciplinary. I learnt about geo-

After GeoRise I spent six months as acquisition project leader in our marine mechanical support group, before working as a hydrodynamics specialist to deploy and test new acquisition equipment. As I gained more experience, I was given more responsibility, becoming field support engineering manager for the region (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) for eight vessels and then for the worldwide fleet! In September 2010

I moved into the marine R&D department as research engineer overseeing the mechanical and hydrodynamic aspects of a number of innovative R&D projects. The marine engineering department makes geophysical acquisition possible. We bridge the gap between the geophysicists in R&D, who invent new ways of improving the subsurface image, and the acquisition team, who are focused on efficiency, reliability, and safety. Every day our team of engineers pushes back the limits of technology to find new methods and equipment to turn the geophysicist’s vision into reality. In the future, I’d like to play a bigger role in operations, closer to the client and the vessels, which are our production tool. I’m looking forward to helping the seismic industry advance by building on my range of skills and taking on more responsibilities.’

A passionate sailor, Frédéric recently crossed the Indian Ocean, drawing on the same skills he uses in his work.

A successful career change José Renato Derntl, 36, processing geophysicist the theoretical part of the GeoRise training made me realize that I lacked many basic concepts in signal processing. I had to study hard to complete the course successfully but I didn’t regret my career change as being with people from all over the world and with different backgrounds showed me how much I could learn from and contribute to the overall geophysical process. Oceanography is a very complex science. Even if you specialize in one path, you can never break away from the other branches. It’s the same in geophysics where you can always benefit from other sciences such as the obvious ones, physics and math, but also geology and even oceanography as it can relate to the geological history of an oceanic basin and its structural framework. José Renato at the Petrobras dedicated processing centre.

‘My MSc had taught me to work with oceanographic and geophysical data but

I was then assigned to our UK processing centre in Crawley for several months to work on 3D time processing projects before returning to Brazil. I am now working at our 4D dedicated processing centre for Petrobras, where we are conducting pioneering 4D studies for pre-salt areas. Our dedicated centres are different from our open processing centres in that we are at the client’s office all day, every day, instead of being with them at occasional meetings. The data processing work is as varied and interesting as at any processing centre and we have the advantage of being able to interact directly with clients to best understand all of their challenges.’

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Being in daily contact with marine acquisition aroused his interest in geophysics and prompted him to move to Rio to work for a small geology consulting company while he studied for an MSc in marine geology and geophysics at the Laboratório de Geologia Marinha – Universidade Federal Fluminense (LAGEMAR/UFF). When he qualified in 2009 a recruiting agency put him in touch with a geophysical company which, again by chance, happened to be CGGVeritas and he joined its GeoRise programme in 2009.


As a graduate in oceanography from the Centro de Ciências Tecnológicas da Terra e do Mar - Universidade do Vale do Itajaí (CTTMar - UNIVALI) in southern Brazil, José Renato spent the first two and a half years of his career as a marine mammal observer onboard 3D seismic vessels, which just so happened to be operated by CGGVeritas.

The practical part of my GeoRise programme in France included three weeks on a land seismic crew in the desert in Oman so I could see how acquisition was conducted in the field as well as practical work on 2D, 3D, marine, and land processing and a geological field trip that took us all the way across the Paris Basin from the Belgian border to the outskirts of Paris!

From physics to geophysics Melanie Vu, 25, processing geophysicist

At high school in Vietnam, Melanie was training to be a future physicist at the High School for Gifted Students in Physics at the Hanoi University of Science. In 2003 she won a scholarship to study bioengineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore where she was fascinated to explore how the principles of physics play roles in biological science.


SPECIAL career moves • page 58 

In 2007, she successfully enrolled in a dual Master programme between MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and NUS (National University of Singapore) with a Singapore – MIT fellowship. Her specialization in advanced materials for micro and nano systems exposed her to cutting-edge research and a solid understanding of the principles of nano physics. Finding out about geophysics by chance, Melanie was immediately attracted to its challenging mix of math, physics, and petroleum geology and its opportunity for travel and adventure. She joined CGGVeritas in February 2009 via its GeoRise programme. ‘Another MIT alumnus told me about CGGVeritas and its specialization and commitment to be leader in its field. Its strong learning culture and passion for innovation appealed to me. I was also impressed by the loyalty of staff at the Singapore centre, some of whom have worked there for more than 20 years, which is rare in Singapore. GeoRise is a wonderful, rewarding experience which gives you a jump-start and valuable short-cuts for your career advancement. During my initial geophysical training I learnt fundamental geophysical principles from very experienced geophysicists. I also spent three weeks onboard the Viking ves-

Melanie at work in the CGGVeritas Singapore processing and imaging centre.

sel in the Gulf of Mexico learning about acquisition and on-board processing which gave me hands-on experience that still plays a vital role in my current processing centre work. My integration continued with my assignment at the CGGVeritas Houston processing centre where I learnt both the theory and practice of one of our most current and advanced technologies, reverse time migration. I was able to successfully transfer this technology to our Singapore processing centre where we successfully completed the company’s first commercial tilted transverse isotropy – reverse time migration (TTI-RTM) project in the APAC region in November 2010. The fact that CGGVeritas is willing to invest in its employees like this creates a bond between us and the company. I

also got to know and work with many colleagues from different backgrounds, cultures, and regions. Now that we are back at work in our different centres, our friendship keeps us in touch, bringing our centres closer and the whole company well connected. My current job as processing geophysicist is fast-moving and challenging and gives me the opportunity to learn and apply the most advanced technology in our field. I also interact with clients about the data processing stage I manage and to confirm important processing parameters as well as discuss testing methodologies for key processes. Technically, I’d like to become a geophysics guru who inspires my team and nurtures a culture of openness and innovation so that others feel able to turn to me when they encounter problems.’

Innovation in reservoir geophysics Emanuel Flores Garcia, 31, reservoir project leader

After graduating with a BSc in geophysical engineering from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico in 2002, Emanuel turned his attention to hydrocarbon reservoirs. He then spent two years as a seismic interpreter with the Static Reservoir Characterization Group and as an analyst of shallow risks for deepwater locations in the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo. From 2004 to 2006 he took a Masters in hydrocarbon exploration at the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo. An interesting technical article on seismic inversion written by CGGVeritas prompted him to contact a CGGVeritas reservoir manager, who offered him a job with the seismic reservoir characterization group at the company’s Villahermosa centre.

jects, while always approaching each different professional challenge as a new opportunity to develop my problemsolving skills. Part of my job involves listening to client needs and proposing estimated deadlines for project completion depending on the type of project and the quality of the information we have. Once the project has been completed, I like presenting our results to the client for validation. This interaction with the client is very important and gives me immense personal satisfaction when we get positive feedback. The key word in this industry is innovation. This makes us more proac-

tive at acquiring new knowledge, even beyond the realms of geophysics. With this we can develop our work more completely, delivering results from a wider perspective. On a professional level, I see myself in charge of a team in the company, drawing on my experience to help my team achieve their goals and move forward with new technologies. Ultimately I would like to share my experience with new hires, maybe even teaching. I’d like to show young people that reservoir geophysics can apply in lots of areas of the geosciences and there’s plenty of room for innovation in this field.’

‘What most interested me about geophysics was the field work and the idea of observing geological events such as volcanoes and geothermal fields. When I attended the 2002 Geophysics Congress in Villahermosa, I realized that hydrocarbon exploration offered enormous scope for a career in geology and geophysics applied to hydrocarbon reservoirs. At CGGVeritas I work on seismic inversion, AVO, and pore pressure prediction projects for Pemex, the Mexican oil company. It’s a stimulating work environment where I can continue to grow technically and have access to high-quality resources to improve on our work process and methodologies and do my job well. Very early on, I was given more responsibility within the group with the full support of my supervisors and manager who really helped me meet my client commitments and expectations. Since then, I’ve worked on a variety of interesting reservoir pro-

Emanuel working on a reservoir project at the Villahermosa centre.

Starting out on a career

in the


geoscience field Tom Savels (30) is a research geophysicist at Shell. Nabil Chaouch (29) works as a geologist/geophysicist for PanTerra, a small E&P service company in The Netherlands.

Tom Savels’

Both are early in their careers in the


SPECIAL career moves • page 60 


E&P business and tell us what it has been like so far.

What did you study and where?

Why did you choose to work for an oil company?

I studied applied physics at Ghent University in Belgium with a Master thesis on quantum cryptography. I subsequently spent half a year as a math high school teacher. After that, I attained a PhD in quantum optics having worked at Twente University and the Amolf Research Institute, both in The Netherlands.

After my PhD, I had the urge to further develop my soft skills, as opposed to the technical skills that were the focus of my doctorate research, so I took on a role as a consultant. However, after having spent almost two years in consultancy, I realized my passion lay in tackling technical challenges, albeit without compromising the people aspect. Fortunately, Shell offers just that: the opportunity to work on complicated technical problems, while being part of an international organization that allows you to develop your interpersonal skills and allows for personal growth.

How did you start working for Shell? After my PhD and subsequent consultancy experience, I spent quite some time re-evaluating where my professional passions lie. Using my personal network and using tools such as LinkedIn, I got in touch with an enthusiastic Shell employee who had joined after her PhD. Her story convinced me to apply. After a CV screening, interview, and assessment, I was offered a position as a research geophysicist.

What is your position and what tasks does it require? As a research geophysicist involved in seismic processing, I work on the development of new processing algorithms that allow for better imaging of the subsurface. My job

entails both the development of new algorithms and guiding the early phases of their deployment.

What do you like about the job and what don’t you like? In my job, I’m being given the opportunity to cover many aspects of the R&D value chain. Algorithm development may start off with brainstorm sessions and in-depth discussions, looking at different options that arise to tackle the problem at hand. Then, choices are narrowed down and a prototype version is built to check the algorithm’s feasibility. Finally, after an initial demonstration of the algorithm’s success and an assessment of its business impact, a production version is built and deployed. There are many facets to this way of working that I find stimulating. First, I thoroughly enjoy the variety that is inherent in the phased approach that we apply. Second, I find myself being captivated by the

"I would strongly encourage getting in touch with peers and more experienced people that fulfill professional roles that you may aspire to." second aspect of matching theory and practice on the job is related to doing research in an industrial environment, which brings along a natural tension between short-term business motivations and a long-term research vision. I am particularly impressed by the way this tension is balanced in our team. On the one hand, there is a clear business-driven practical vision of where we want to go, while on the other hand enough time is provided to allow for theoretical research, new developments, and collaboration with external partners such as universities.

Are you currently taking any courses to develop your career? In the two years that I spent with Shell so far, I’ve had the opportunity to take on quite a few courses, from various in-depth technical training and conferences to sessions focusing on personal growth. In addition, I believe the networking and mentoring opportunities that we have can be just as valuable in terms of career development. Finally, speaking in recent terms, I just got back from a one month broadening assignment, during which I visited two land seismic crews in Oman. This experience has allowed me to further appreciate the full geophysics value chain.

Following up on my recent operations assignment, I’d like to pursue roles over the coming years that cover the full geophysical spectrum, from acquisition to processing, and finally interpretation. This may allow me to gain the technical expertise required to be effective at solving integration challenges.

How do you find the match between theory and practice?

What advice would you give to students preparing for the job market?

There are two aspects to this question. The first one relates to the match between my own theoretical background and the practicalities of my day-to-day job. Since I haven’t had any pre-Shell geophysical education, I was exposed to a steep learning curve the first months after joining. I spent this time getting acquainted with the geophysical foundations of our work as well as its practical facets, such as the translation of paper to program and usage of the IT infrastructure that we employ to run our algorithms on. The

What I believe to be most valuable in terms of career orientation is the use of one’s personal network. I would strongly encourage students to get in touch with peers and more experienced people that fulfill professional roles that you may aspire to. These conversations may help you with bringing your own core values and ambitions into focus. Over the last few years, I have found such discussions to be highly fruitful, both during my own job orientation as well as in my current role.

SPECIAL career moves • page 61 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?


complexity of the technical challenges that we are facing, both from a scientific and geophysical perspective, as well from an IT point of view. Finally, our algorithm development is the result of a team effort in which researchers, IT, end users, and the business as a whole play an important role. This people aspect and the balancing of stakeholders that need to be dealt with throughout the entire project lifetime is exceptionally enjoyable to me.

Nabil Chaouch’s


a geologist. I had first a phone interview, then a few days later the company invited me to come over for an interview and I did a presentation of my work at CEPSA. Panterra offered me a job as a seismic interpreter because I had some experience with this from my studies and at CEPSA.

Why did you choose to work for a service company? I think that working for a small service company is a big advantage, everything goes fast with short communication lines. Also projects are different most of the time, they can be short (1–3 months) or long (over a year) and of course we have a lot of contact with customers, partners, and software companies.

What is your position and what tasks does it require?


SPECIAL career moves • page 62 

What did you study and where? I started to study earth sciences at the University of Montpellier in southern France where I obtained a BSc. Then I applied for the Erasmus Programme and went to Madrid to La Complutense University where I mainly followed the courses in petroleum geology. After my year in Madrid, I returned to Montpellier to follow the new Masters programme in reservoir geology with JeanPierre Petit and Michel Lopez. For the final part of this programme I went back to Madrid to do an internship at the E&P department of CEPSA, a Spanish oil company.

How did you start working for PanTerra? After I finished my Masters degree I was looking for a relatively small consultancy company. On the Internet I found PanTerra and enquired if they were looking for

My job title is geoscientist. I started to work as a geologist/geophysicist conducting 2D/3D seismic interpretation by integrating geological, well, and geophysical data. I had to work in various geological provinces (North Sea, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Colombia). Today my main task is seismic interpretation on basin scale to field scale, well correlation, mapping, T/Z conversion, subsurface modelling, and resource assessment. Occasionally I also work in the offices of companies when they need a seismic interpreter or a 3D modeller for a period.

What do you like about the job and what don’t you like? I like the variation of tasks in my job, it is never the same. We have to work with data from everywhere, and sometimes it is very challenging to do a study with little data of poor quality. I like also the multi-tasking, working on several interpretation software platforms, from Petrel to Geographix, depending on the wishes of the clients. As a geologist I miss the field a lot and the Netherlands is not really famous for its mountains!

How do you find the match between theory and practice? During my studies in Spain and my Master degree in France I had the chance to combine practical exercises

"You have to be pro-active. Opportunities are not coming by themselves. If you don’t really know what you want yet, and if you can work with a team, you can maybe find your own way."

with theory. Most of the time we had courses and case studies from people in operating companies, and software companies gave us free licences for training. My internship at CEPSA was a concentration of everything I had learned before and it showed me how industry worked. Maybe there is one point to highlight: I was not really prepared for the business side of the job.

Are you currently taking any courses to develop your career? Since I started at PanTerra, I have completed several courses and training programmes on different subjects: general topics like basic geophysics, basic petrophysics, exploration techniques, and more specialized topics such as NMR or BHI interpretation. I have also had training for different interpretation platforms such as Tigress, Petrel, and ArcGIS. Next month I will be doing a course in seismic time-depth conversion and a field trip.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now? I am interested in being a team leader, to be more involved in prospect generation, and of course teaching young staff.

Looking for a career challenge? Visit the Vienna ‘11 Job Centre

What advice would you give to students preparing for the job market? You have to be pro-active. Opportunities are not coming by themselves. If you don’t really know what you want yet, and if you can work with a team, you can maybe find your own way. Of course if you are looking for something specific, try to target it. But don’t forget oil and gas jobs usually involve a rather high mobility and you always need an open mind. 73rd EAGE Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE EUROPEC 2011 23-26 May 2011 | Reed Messe Wien


For more information or booth availability please contact the account manager Recruitment & Subscriptions (

SPECIAL career moves • page 63 

Job Centre Exhibitors:


Land surveyor takes

plunge offshore

Glyn Hunt describes transitioning from being a


SPECIAL career moves • page 64 

land surveyor to a job offshore with Fugro Survey.

Glyn Hunt is a qualified land surveyor with several years of varied experience including topographical surveys, measured building surveys, and setting out works, both overseas and in the UK. For financial and professional reasons Glyn decided a couple of years ago to seek employment in the offshore industry. Career advice and a job interview with Fugro Survey in Aberdeen suggested that his skills were transferable offshore. Glyn took the plunge. Glyn initially began with rig moves, his onshore experience matching well with the positioning requirements of such operations. He was advised to expect assignment as a surveyor on 15-20 rig moves before starting anything else.


y job started with several weeks compulsory training at the ‘Fugro Academy’ specialist training centre in Aberdeen. Courses covered areas such as hydrography, survey systems, software, and firmware. The trainers were all highly experienced experts in their individual fields and as Fugro employees they could illustrate each course’s content with realistic examples.

Health and safety issues received emphasis appropriate to the offshore oil and gas industry. A specialist offshore survival course is obligatory – teaching North Sea survival procedures and techniques for emergency escape from rigs, helicopters, and ships. The certificate obtained on completion is a vital document and needs to be updated every few years to obtain a ‘van-

tage card’, proof of safety training and an essential piece of ID for working offshore.

Initial assignment My first deployment was with two experienced rig move personnel to a North Sea semi-submersible rig. I was allocated a trainee slot, a rarity in an environment where flights and accommodation offshore are expensive and in short supply. We were all extensively briefed by the project manager prior to departure, and supplied with fully comprehensive CDs of all necessary data/firmware/QC sheets. Nothing was left to chance: an independent backup existed for every possible survey method and item of equipment. The novelty of helicopter travel soon wears thin! The aircraft are cramped, noisy, smell of aviation fuel, and the expe-

"My move into offshore survey with Fugro really boosted my career!" Group, Fugro Survey maintains a ‘family culture’, promoting from within and recruiting from existing staff members’ circle of associates, retaining expertise, and encouraging close teamwork.

Upon arrival on the rig, I was escorted with the other passengers to a safety briefing; given a tour of the rig to familiarize me with immediate hazards, escape routes and general facilities; and then provided with health and safety training to ensure I completely understood the rig’s job risk assessment and permit to work systems. This emphasis on health and safety management makes the UK offshore oil and gas sector one of the safest workplaces in the UK today, despite its inherent dangers.

I’ve been happily working with the company since late 2007, having progressed from an initial trainee position to a senior survey role.  Approximately 95% of my work has been oil and gas rig moves, throughout the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Clients have varied from major industry players to newcomers.  Other work has been with the UK renewables industry (offshore wind farm construction), dimensional control work for offshore constructions carried out on board dynamic positioning vessels, and advice regarding various surveyors, clients, and formal guideline revisions.  

Responsibilities and opportunities Offshore work offers the surveyor greater responsibilities than are ordinarily available in a land survey context. It brings a rapid rise in remuneration, and in terms of career development the opportunity to acquire skills in areas like teamwork, management, IT, and working under pressure, a skill that cannot be acquired easily onshore in such a short space of time. In addition I have found Fugro to be extremely sensitive in recognizing its employees’ onshore needs, especially with regards to family time. The diversity of survey opportunities is truly enormous. It’s possible to transfer to new jobs and to sample new challenges and different work environments. As with a lot of companies in the Fugro

With another senior engineer I’ve developed and run a three day training course principally designed for preparing new starters for rig move projects, based on my early experiences.  I’ve balanced that, a home life, and additional voluntary work for both the professional survey organizations ICES and RICS, and had opportunities to visit other Fugro companies across Europe. The Fugro Academy and e-learning training has allowed me to develop further skills and, when the blips of life have demanded, my job has been fluid enough to accommodate any pressing requirements at home.  Further job opportunities are presented to me both in Fugro Survey and in other companies within the global Fugro Group.


rience is extremely boring – at least until the landing. Circling the rig’s derrick tower as you touch down is an impressive sight, well worth the trip if you are lucky enough to have a window seat.

A landmark


for one job searcher


very year millions of students graduate from university. Not long after tossing their caps into the air, boundless enthusiasm dissolves into the harsh reality of finding a job. This difficult transition is exactly where Andy Garrett found himself four years ago.


SPECIAL career moves • page 66 

Garrett studied geology at the University of Southampton in southern England. He did well academically, but didn’t have any idea what company or industry he might join after university. ‘With a geology degree,’ he says, ‘I thought I might end up in the mining industry, working in oceanography, or maybe the oil and gas industry.’ One thing Garrett knew was that he didn’t just want a job – he wanted a career. ‘I knew I wanted to make a difference, be part of a team, and make a contribution.’ Then began the job search. ‘I started sending my CV to various companies, large and small, to UK head offices – any place I could find.’ Then he received a call back from Halliburton’s Landmark. ‘I was excited. Halliburton is a large international company with lots of opportunities and career potential.’ He was familiar with Landmark because his father works in the oil and gas industry. ‘I knew as part of Halliburton they had offices all over the world and were a leading technology provider to some of the world’s biggest companies.’

Landmark hired Garrett as a trainer, teaching software courses onsite for clients. But he very quickly moved up the ladder to technical sales. ‘Starting as a trainer helped me really understand company products inside and out. As a technical sales analyst I now merge that knowledge with an understanding of my customer’s problems and apply our solutions to their particular challenge. Garrett says that it has been a big change in lifestyle. ‘I travel about half the time and have visited some really great places around the world.’ In the last four years he has supported clients in Cairo, Lisbon, Barcelona, Stavanger, Houston, Luanda, and other cities across Europe, North America, and Africa. ‘Coming to Halliburton and working in the Landmark software and services productservice line has been a great opportunity.

I’ve taken my knowledge of geology and added to that an understanding of technology and wider IT best practices to leverage technology and improve oil and gas exploration. I’ve gone from learning the products to training others and helping implement solutions for my customers. Now I’m helping to innovate the next generation of solutions. It’s not just a job – it’s the type of career I knew I wanted back in school.’

"One thing Garrett knew was that he didn’t just want a job – he wanted a career."



International developments

Geologists - Reservoir engineers - Geophysicists

copyright : Total/Corbis.

Junior and Senior M/F Total is a global oil and gas producer and provider with 100,000 employees including some of the top-tier technical specialists, in nearly 130 countries worldwide. At Total, we understand that our people and their multi-faceted talent are our competitive advantage. That is why our priority is creating and developing teams that are at ease with innovation and state-of-the-art technology and why we offer exciting, flexible career opportunities in an environment endowed with the finest specialist expertise available. Our energy is your energy


SPECIAL calendar 2011 • page 68 

201 4-6 Apr 2011 EAGE / SPE | Joint Workshop 2011 - Closing the Loop: Reservoir Simulation & Geophysical Measurements 3-8 Apr 2011 EGU | European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011 3-8 Apr 2011 EAGE / EGU | Job Market 11-12 Apr 2011 DGMK / ÖGEW | Frühjahrstagung 10-13 Apr 2011 AAPG | AAPG Annual Convention & Exhibition 10-13 Apr 2011 EAGE | Naturally & Hydraulically Induced Fractured Reservoirs 10-14 Apr 2011 EEGS | SAGEEP 2011 12-14 Apr 2011 EAGE | IOR 2011 19-22 Apr 2011 EAGE / SPE | Joint Workshop - Well Placement and Geosteering: State of the Art in Geology and Geophysics 25-29 Apr 2011 EAGE | Engineering Geophysics 2011 10-12 May 2011 Enerchange | 7th International Geothermal Conference (IGC 2011) 10-13 May 2011 EAGE | Xth International Conference on Geoinformatics: Theoretical and Applied Aspects 23-26 May 2011 EAGE | Vienna 2011 - 73rd EAGE Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE EUROPEC 22-24 Jun 2011 IWAGPR | 6th International Workshop on Advanced Ground Penetrating Radar 2011 15-18 Aug 2011 SBGf | 12th International Congress of the Brazilian Geophysical Society & EXPOGEF 28 Aug-2 Sep 2011 SAGA / GSSA / GASA | Geosynthesis Conference & Exhibition  1-3 Sep 2011 EAGE / SEG | Research Workshop 2011 - Towards a Full Integration from Geosciences to Reservoir Simulation 6-8 Sep 2011 SPE | SPE Offshore Europe 2011 7-8 Sep 2011 EAGE | First Pre-salt Workshop in Sub-Sahara Africa 12-14 Sep 2011 EAGE | Near Surface 2011









Houston USA Nafplio


Charleston, USA South Carolina Cambridge UK Moscow












Rio de Janeiro Brazil Cape Town

South Africa

Trieste Italy

Aberdeen UK Luanda Angola Leicester UK

11/2012 Calendar 2011/2012

Gelendzhik Russia San Antonio, Texas Interlaken

USA Switzerland



Yuzhno- Russia Sakhalinsk Budapest Hungary Milan






Kuwait City


Al Ain






Saint Petersburg Russia

Copenhagen Denmark San Antonio, Texas


SPECIAL calendar 2011 • page 69 

Denver, USA Colorado Valencia Spain


12-15 Sep 2011 EAGE | Geomodel 2011 18-23 Sep 2011 SEG | SEG International Exhibition and 81st Annual Meeting 18-23 Sep 2011 EAOG | 25th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry (IMOG) 19-21 Sep 2011 EAGE | First Caspian Region Workshop 3-6 Oct 2011 EAGE | First Workshop on Far East Hydrocarbons 2011 3-6 Oct 2011 BGS | 6th Congress of Balkan Geophysical Society 23-26 Oct 2011 AAPG | AAPG International Conference & Exhibition 30 Oct -2 Nov 2011 SPE | SPE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition 8-11 Nov 2011 EAGE | SES 2011 - Sustainable Earth Sciences - Technologies for Sustainable Use of the Deep Sub-surface 15-17 Nov 2011 EAGE / AAPG / SEG / SPE | IPTC 2011 20-22 Nov 2011 SEGJ | The 10th SEGJ International Symposium 28 Nov-1 Dec 2011 EAGE | Third Arabian Plate Geology Workshop 11-14 Dec 2011 UAEU/EAGE | First International Conference on Engineering Geophysics 26-29 Feb 2012 ASEG | 22nd Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (ASEG) Conference and Exhibition 2012 20-22 Mar 2012 SPE / EAGE | European Unconventionals Conference & Exhibition 2-5 Apr 2012 EAGE | Saint Petersburg 2012 - 5th Saint Petersburg International Conference & Exhibition 2012 4-7 Jun 2012 EAGE | Copenhagen 2012 - 74th EAGE Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE EUROPEC 7-10 Oct 2012 SPE | SPE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition

About EAGE • World’s largest multi-disciplinary geoscience society • European head office with regional offices in Moscow, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur

• Two divisions: Oil & Gas and Near Surface • 15,000 members worldwide (geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers)

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Join EAGE for only € 50 Student membership for € 25 (first year free on request) Membership benefits: • Every month a new issue of First Break (online & print) • Free online subscription to one of EAGE’s scientific journals: Geophysical Prospecting,

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For a complete overview of all EAGE activities, please visit our website.

Interactive Depth Imaging Services

Interactive depth imaging services from WesternGeco GeoSolutions enable the integration of measurements and data across scales and disciplines— within a time frame that can significantly impact on the uncertainty inherent to the E&P process. A key component of these services is the LSI localized seismic imaging software package, which can be run on a single workstation or a cluster of computer nodes. Prestack depth migrations on a Gulf of Mexico 2-OCS block are run in just a few minutes on a single high-end workstation. Interactive depth imaging can make a measurable impact on many geophysical processing applications, including: „  SGD* Seismic Guided Drilling „  Quantitative Uncertainty Analysis

recruitment special 2011






Opportunities Worldwide As a leading technology company in the field of geophysical science, PGS can offer exciting opportunities within seismic exploration. We are looking for new BSc, MSc and PhD graduates with geoscience, engineering and other numerate backgrounds to join us. We are offering careers in the following areas: • Interpretation Geoscientists • Geoscience and Engineering • Data Processing • Field Crew – Marine

Special Features

In PGS you will be encouraged to work hard to learn new skills, supported by an organization that prioritizes innovation, people, delivery and Health & Safety. If you can demonstrate your willingness to meet challenges, you will never lack new opportunities in PGS. To learn more, please visit, or contact us at

A new geoscientist for a new millennium How Landmark founder sounded out alternative career Quick guide to recruiting top talent through social media What it takes for women

A Clearer Image

Recruitment Special 2011  

2011 Edition of annual magazine by EAGE about recruitment issues in the oil & gas industry.

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