PINPOINTING OIL, GAS BELOW EARTH’S
SURFACE FOCUS OF UH PROF’S RESEARCH
John Castagna Recognized, Presenting
at Society of Exploration Geophysicists Event in Houston
HOUSTON, Nov. 8, 2005 – To a hydrocarbon-thirsty world,
finding an easier way to locate oil and gas prior to drilling is
the difference between knowing whether you have a full or an empty
glass to consume, says one University of Houston geoscientist.
The next revolution in hydrocarbon exploration and subsurface reflection
seismology is being fueled by new algorithms developed by John Castagna,
UH Robert and Margaret Sheriff Chair in Applied Geophysics. For
his groundbreaking research, Castagna is the 2005 recipient of the
prestigious Reginald Fessenden Award from the Society of Exploration
Geophysicists (SEG) and was presented with the award at the SEG
75th Annual Exposition and Annual Meeting this week in Houston.
Recognizing those who have made a specific technical contribution
to exploration geophysics, the award is named after Reginald Fessenden
for his role as the originator of the concept of reflection and
refraction surveying in 1917. Castagna joins three other UH geosciences
faculty who are also past SEG honorees – Professors Robert
Sheriff, Fred Hilterman and Kurt Starck.
Specifically, Castagna is being recognized for his development of
an algorithm to predict seismic-wave velocities needed for direct
hydrocarbon indicator (DHI) analysis, which is oriented toward directly
detecting oil and gas reservoirs using seismic data. Subsurface
reflection seismology is like a sophisticated version of the echo
sounding used in submarines, ships and radar systems. The algorithms
that Castagna has been developing detect not only fluid but also
the type of fluid, such as oil, gas or water, in subsurface reservoirs
and are helping to image, explore and identify those subsurface
reservoirs that are filled with hydrocarbons in a cost-effective
“To imagine that we have advanced the last several years from
simply imaging possible subsurface reservoirs or traps that may
or may not contain hydrocarbons to actually detecting, in that same
seismic record, whether those potential reservoirs contain hydrocarbons
is truly amazing,” said John F. Casey, chairman of UH’s
Department of Geosciences. “Utilizing the full seismic record
and more advanced ways of collecting and processing the data means
that explorers have yet another seismic tool to explore the subsurface.
They no longer have to drill costly holes to penetrate the reservoir
before there is a much higher probability of a hydrocarbon discovery.”
Being presented the award and conducting various sessions during
the technical program at the SEG’s annual event, Castagna
will be joined by additional UH faculty and graduate students from
the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who are presenting
more than 25 oral and poster presentations. This year’s meeting
is at the George R. Brown Convention Center, where contributions
from all geophysical disciplines and from all parts of the world
are represented in the technical program running from Monday through
Thursday. To view topics and a list of presenters, go to http://abstracts.seg.org/techprog.cfm?pMeetingID=2.
SEG, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1930, promotes the
science of geophysics and the education of applied geophysicists.
Using geophysics to explore and develop natural resources, characterize
the near surface and mitigate earth hazards, SEG has more than 23,000
members in 110 countries.
For more information about SEG, go to http://www.seg.org/.
About the University of Houston
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and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
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