From the advent of the first computer-aided interpretation methods in the 1980s, technological advances both in hardware and in algorithms have radically changed the work and the role of seismic interpreters.
The downturn in the oil and gas industry has recently given another push for optimisation: workflows are being revisited and new technologies are being tested.
In addition, over the last two decades 3D geological models, which represent a simplified version of the earth, have progressively become one of the major tools for exploration and production.
These models, based on geo-cellular grids, where rock properties from well data are estimated for each cell, are used for reservoir simulation. To build these watertight geological models, geo-modellers generally use only a few horizons and faults provided by the seismic interpreters, but a new technique now allows us to compute watertight geological models directly from seismic data, using a dense horizon patch grid. Any change made on the stratigraphic or structural interpretation can then be directly applied to the watertight models.
The role of seismic interpreters has hence become critical for keeping geo-modellers connected to the reality of the seismic data and allowing them to quickly create more accurate models.