Forensic data processing – Revealing your data's hidden stories

Spring 2016 Distinguished Lecturer

Joe Dellinger

BP, Houston, Texas USA

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We are asking for more and more from our seismic data: more efficient acquisition, broader bandwidth (both high and low), sources that are more environmentally friendly (i.e. quieter), accurate amplitudes for AVO and 4D. Acquisition and processing are undergoing a revolution to support these needs. New developments such as simultaneous sources, ghost-free sources, broader-bandwidth sources, continuous recording, and new kinds of sensors are already in use, and well on the way to becoming routine. It is a good time to take a step back and investigate what really goes into our data. What does that string of numbers you are using to make your images really mean? What units is it in? Is your source actually doing what your modeling predicts? How repeatable is it? What noise is hiding in your data that you don't know about? If you knew about it, what might you do differently to take advantage of newly available sensors and processing techniques? I will examine ocean-bottom seismic data because it's by far the cleanest data we've got, and hence the most amenable to careful analysis. However, this "forensic" approach to data analysis should have broader applicability.

The talk will have three parts: 1) What is your source really doing? 2) What does the background noise in the data look like? and 3) Can we do anything useful with that background noise? The goal of the talk is to start you on the way to becoming a data connoisseur, instead of merely an indiscriminate consumer. The talk will be example-driven for a broad audience, however I will also have tutorial sections that I can include for academic audiences wanting to dig deeper with a longer talk.



Joe Dellinger was born in the SEG hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and learned to ride a bicycle in the Amoco Tulsa Research Center parking lot. Joe’s father Tom Dellinger led a research group at the Mobil Field Research Lab in the 1970’s-1980’s. His team coined the term “Extended Reach Drilling” to describe to management what it was they were doing. Given this background, it is not surprising that Joe majored in Geophysics at Texas A&M. He received a PhD in 1991 from Jon Claerbout’s Stanford Exploration Project. He then did a 3-year post-doc at the University of Hawaii before joining Amoco in Tulsa in 1994. He moved to BP in Houston in 1999 and has worked there since. In his career he has specialized in Anisotropy, multi-component algorithms and processing, and most recently “looking for useful information in data that would normally be ignored”, i.e. “Forensic data processing”. This has included studying the 2006 “Green Canyon” earthquake, investigating how the Valhall Ocean-bottom-cable array might be used between seismic surveys, and characterizing sources and noise in deep water ocean-bottom-seismic Gulf of Mexico data so that we might process it better.

Joe was awarded life membership in the SEG in 2001 for his services in helping the SEG to successfully adapt to the internet age. Joe’s hobbies include attending the Houston Symphony, photographing birds, recording frog calls in the swamps around Houston, and astronomy at the George Observatory, which is located an hour’s drive southwest of Houston. Asteroid “78392 Dellinger” was named in Joe’s honor.


Date Location Host
19 January 2016 Houston, Texas, USA GSH - West Side Technical Luncheon 
20 January 2016 Houston, Texas, USA GSH - Downtown Technical Luncheon
21 January 2016 Houston, Texas, USA GSH - North Side Technical Luncheon
22 January 2016 Houston, Texas, USA SEG Wavelets, University of Houston
28 January 2016 Sunbury, UK BP Sunbury
29 January 2016 Crawley, UK CGG Crawley
1 February 2016 Delhi, India SPG India - Delhi
3 February 2016 Vadodara, India SPG India - Vadodara
5 February 2016 Gandhinagar, India Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University Geophysical Society
5 February 2016 Ahmedabad, India SPG India - Ahmedabad
7 February 2016 Muscat, Oman Sultan Qaboos University Geophysical Society
8 February 2016 Muscat, Oman Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO)
9 February 2016 Abu Dhabi, UAE Emirates Society of Geoscience (ESG)
9 February 2016 Abu Dhabi, UAE Petroleum Institute
10 February 2016 Al Ayn, UAE UAE University Geophysical Society
14 February 2016 Cairo, Egypt Egyptian Geophysical Society
7 March 2016 Beijing, China CNOOC Research Center
8 March 2016 Yanjiao, China China Academy of Sciences (COSL)
9 March 2016 Beijing, China China Univ of Petroleum
11 March 2016 Nanjing, China SEG South China Section
14 March 2016 Singapore CGG Singapore
15 March 2016 Jakarta, Indonesia Indonesian Petroleum Association (IPA)
16 March 2016 Jakarta, Indonesia SEAPEX
18 March 2016 Perth, Australia Univ of Western Australia
18 March 2016 Perth, Australia ASEG WA
1 April 2016 Austin, Texas, USA University of Texas at Austin
11 April 2016 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA Geophysical Society of Oklahoma City 
11 April 2016 Norman, Oklahoma, USA University of Oklahoma SEG Student Chapter
12 April 2016 Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA Geophysical Society of Tulsa 
12 April 2016 Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA OSU Geophysical Society
14 April 2016 Denver, Colorado, USA Denver Geophysical Society 
14 April 2016 Golden, Colorado, USA Colorado School of Mines  
21 April 2016 Dallas, Texas, USA Dallas Geophysical Society 
22 April 2016 Richardson, Texas, USA University of Texas at Dallas
25 April 2016 Calgary, AB, Canada Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists
26 April 2016 Berkeley, California, USA Bay Area Geophysical Society
27 April 2016 Stanford, Calilfornia, USA Stanford University SEG Student Chapter
4 May 2016 Midland, Texas, USA Permian Basin Geophysical Society 

SEG Distinguished Lecturers
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