SEG special project preps grad students for the future 

A deep dive into real-world scenarios and hands-on, skill-based learning can boost any potential career, especially in the geosciences field where graduates have the option to specialize in several different areas. 

SEG special projectA team of TU geosciences graduate students reaped the benefits of one such opportunity when it participated in the 2019 EVOLVE Program, hosted by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). The group included geophysics PhD student Yuda Yushendri, geophysics master’s student Leonardo Landivar, Roberta Thompson (MS ’19) and Cameron Graham (MS ’20). Steven Roche, associate professor of geophysics, served as the faculty adviser. 

Their objective was to conduct multidisciplinary subsurface integration prospect analyses using seismic, wireline and production data from the East Cameron South Addition Block of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. During the four-month project, the students received assistance from a petroleum engineering graduate student and a geology undergraduate. Their diverse backgrounds and perspectives helped the core team manage the financial aspects and other engineering elements of the endeavor. “Geology was extremely important because studying the subsurface of our particular basin uncovered how it was perfect for the development of hydrocarbons,” Graham explained. 

To achieve its goal of determining the quality or value of a land prospect, the team assessed the geology of their assigned grid. Team members were supported by industry mentors and fellow students from around the world whom they met with weekly in an online platform. Once the findings were complete, the TU students presented their investment reports alongside 19 other teams at the SEG Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. They were awarded several awards for their work, including recognition for “Best Investment Opportunity” and “Best Map in Petrel.” 

“This kind of project is exactly what I want to do with my career,” Graham said. “As an exploration geophysicist or a seismic processing specialist, I can work in an industry dedicated to gathering and building the data that is then provided to the oil and gas industry.” 

The team gained experience in not only the areas of science, math and physics but also promoting and marketing its land prospect to SEG representatives, a huge resume builder for new geophysicists on the job market. “It’s important to be involved in projects like this because a lot of geophysics is about effectively communicating your analysis,” Graham stated. “Employers see more than just a formal education on your resume — they look for that valuable work experience.”