As we approach the twenty-first century, the discovery of petroleum and minerals continue to have a major impact on the Canadian economy. Oil exploration and production efforts are active on the Atlantic Coast, the Rocky Mountain foothills, and the Western Canadian basin. With this activity comes an increased demand for educated geoscientists from our universities. In addition to the educational challenges, universities also must address a wide variety of exploration research problems.
During the last decade, these challenges are being increasingly met by a relatively new model for university research – the industrial consortium. CREWES (Consortium for Research in Elastic Wave Exploration Seismology) at the University of Calgary is the largest Canadian consortium in exploration geophysics. CREWES investigates methods of fully utilizing elastic wave information in order to discover more about the earth's rock properties. Another successful geophysical consortium at the University of Calgary is FRP (the Foothills Research Project) which is unravelling the complex structural geology of the Foothills. On the East Coast, MUSIC (Memorial University Seismic Imaging Consortium) is applying seismic depth migration methods to the imaging of complex geological structures, mostly from offshore Newfoundland. The University of British Columbia has consortia investigating potential fields, electromagnetic methods, and seismic signal processing. The list of consortia is expanding and includes other programs across Canada.
Geophysical consortia have consolidated financial support from industry, universities, and government. Their technological advances include advances in acquisition, algorithm development, processing, and interpretation. Such advances have partly compensated for industrial research budget cuts due to the leveraging effects that consortia provide. The term "partly" is used here since every transmittal of information requires receivers as well as sources, and industry requires technologically talented people "in house" to take full advantage of technological advances created in the outside world. Perhaps, most importantly, geophysics students in consortia are being educated in the latest technologies which will allow them to make worthwhile contributions in the petroleum and minerals industries. In summary, geophysical consortia represent a symbiotic relationship between industry and university, with considerable benefits to both cultures. This talk summarizes numerous examples of various technological advances produced by consortia at Canadian universities.
About the Author(s)
Larry Lines started his earth sciences career as a "farm boy" from "the sticks" of Northern Alberta. He received a B.Sc. (1971) and an M.Sc. (1973) in geophysics from the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. (1976) in geophysics from the University of British Columbia. In 1976, he joined Amoco Canada where he worked in the exploration department and was involved in some "serendipity" reef gas discoveries. In 1979, Larry transferred to the Amoco Production Research Center in Tulsa where he did research in the areas of geophysical inversion, imaging, and reservoir characterization, and attained the position of research associate. In 1993, Lines was appointed as the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair in Applied Seismology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 1997, he transferred to the University of Calgary where he holds the Chair in Exploration Geophysics.
Larry shared the award for Best Paper in Geophysics in 1988 and 1995 and was an SEG Distinguished Lecturer in 1991. He served the Geophysical Society of Tulsa as editor, first vice president, and president, and was granted Honorary Membership in that organization in 1993. Professor Lines has served in an editorial capacity for Proceedings of the IEEE, CJEG, Geophysics, The Leading Edge, the SEG Slide Series, and the SEG Translations Committee. He has co-authored or co-edited five geophysical books, and is the first SEG Editor of Geophysics to reside outside the United States. Larry is a member of SEG, CSEG, EAGE, GST, AAPG, and APEGGA. He receives unwavering support in these professional efforts from his wife, his two teenage children, and many graduate students.