The Evolving Challenges of Geophysicists: From Amplitude Mappers to Partners in Drilling and Water Search

About the Course

The exploration geophysicist is already a stereotype that needs to be left in the past, giving space to a refreshed professional with new skills and equipped with the language of reservoir engineers, drillers, and ecologists. This is key for sustainability strategies in global energy supply and for enabling the planet’s ecosystem preservation guidelines.

Over the decades, geophysicists have faced an ever-evolving rollercoaster, generally but not always tied to oil prices, that has placed them in high-salary oil-and-gas-sector jobs. The originally indispensable roles of geophysicists as key workforce components in exploration departments of operating companies has now shifted immensely. Earlier, they were tasked with finding important volumes of oil and gas reserves. There were no rivals in supporting corporate expansion strategies for joint ventures or acquisitions other than the knowledgeable geophysicists, able to present the secrets of the subsurface as colorful answers, worthy of approvals. Today however, the exponential growth of unconventional reservoirs and maturation of oilfields worldwide that require enhanced production schemes, in conjunction with more ecologically friendly government policies that impose useful constraints, have pushed a clear shift in the skills and focus needed for geophysicists not only to survive but to thrive in new energy scenarios.

The purpose of this lecture is to analyze how the main milestones and recent developments in the energy market have challenged and continue to challenge geophysicists in industry and in academia. The focus of the lecture is explaining how the new field development strategies of the main actors in oil and gas inevitably will impact the utilization of geophysicists. Several flags will be raised about the increasing need for ensuring availability of industrial and potable water as well as prevention schemes with respect to contamination, flooding, earthquakes, and volcanoes and their impacts on urban areas.

Is academia preparing geophysicists for current and future challenges? Is the energy sector sufficiently engaged in maximizing the use of geophysicists? How aware is society as a whole of the value of geophysicists in urban disaster prevention plans? These topics and more are explored in this lecture.

Your Instructor

Maria Angela Capello, SEG-HL
Maria Angela Capello, SEG-HL

Maria Angela Capello is a renowned leader in the energy sector, with a prominent success in reservoir management and field development as well as in diversity, talent development, sustainability, and leadership.

A pioneer woman in many fronts, Maria Angela is successful at steering step-changes at corporate scale, with her characteristic executive and multicultural approach, grooming leadership, motivation and resilience in individuals and teams. She has had executive and highly influential roles in Halliburton, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

She is an avid communicator, and has toured Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America as Distinguished Lecturer of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). She is the lead author of two books, “Learned in the Trenches” (Springer, 2018) and “Mentoring and Sponsoring: Keys to Success” (Springer, 2020).

Maria Angela has been knighted “Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia” (Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia), one Italy’s highest honors, by the President of Italy. She received the SPE Honorary Membership, and SEG Lifetime Membership awards. She serves as Director at Large for the SEG Board and is the co-chair of the United Nations Women in Resource Management.

She is a Physicist from the Universidad Simon Bolivar (Venezuela) and a M.Sc. of the Colorado School of Mines (USA).