David Monk

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David Monk
David Monk headshot.jpg
Latest company Apache
President year 2012
Membership Life Member
PhD Physics
PhD university Nottingham University, UK

Dave Monk holds a PhD in Physics from Nottingham University in the UK and served as director of geophysics and as a distinguished advisor at Apache Corporation, until his retirement in October, 2019. Monk started his career on seismic crews in Nigeria and has subsequently been involved in seismic processing and acquisition in most parts of the world. Throughout his career, he has retained an interest in developing innovative ways to acquire, process, and utilize seismic data to improve final interpretation. An author of over 100 technical papers and articles, as well as a number of patents, Monk has received Best Paper Awards from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (1992), the Canadian SEG (2002), and the Hagedoorn Award from the European Association of Exploration Geophysics (1994). Monk received Honorary Membership in the Geophysical Society of Houston in 2008 and Life Membership in the SEG in 2009. He served as president of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists in 2012–2013.

2020 SEG Distinguished Instructor Short Course

Survey Design and Seismic Acquisition for Land, Marine, and In-between in Light of New Technology and Techniques

Seismic surveys are subject to many different design criteria, but often the parameters are established based on an outdated view of how data can be acquired, and how it will be processed. This course is designed to highlight what is possible using modern methods, and how they impact seismic survey design.

Survey designs are subject to a limited set of operational and geophysical considerations. What frequencies do we require (in the source), and what will or can we detect? What geometry will be utilized, and what record length will be recorded?

However, new techniques and processing methods require that we understand and answer a new and different set of questions:

  • Are classic survey geometries outdated? What geometry is optimum given almost limitless availability of channels, and how are these best deployed if they are not constrained to be connected together?
  • How do you QC data from a system that doesn’t permit real time views of data?
  • How do compressive sensing methodologies fit into classical geometry requirements, and can these significantly impact how data is acquired and processed? Is random “optimum” and is optimum unique?
  • Do offset and sampling requirements change if processing will utilize FWI and/or least squares migration?
  • Can very low frequencies be generated, detected and used for improved inversion?
  • How should simultaneous sources be utilized, and can subsequent data be separated from the continuous records that will be required if this technique is used? If two sources are better than one, are four better than two?
  • What should we expect of seismic data five or ten years from now?

This course is designed to cover some of the fundamentals of survey design, but will highlight the changes in technology that we have seen in the past five years, and those that are likely to develop in the next five years with a view to allowing seismic surveys to be designed and acquired to optimize technology efficiencies and interpretation requirements in light of new technology.

Course Goals

This course will not describe specific survey designs for particular geologic objectives, but after attending this course, the participant should:

  • Understand the basic geophysical requirements of a seismic survey, based on geologic objectives
  • Have a much-improved knowledge of the differences between classic survey design, and what is required for modern high-end processing techniques including FWI
  • Understand the concepts of simultaneous sources, compressive sensing, node acquisition, and broadband data, and see how these fit into survey design techniques
  • Understand that there is a relationship between acquisition parameters and seismic image quality
  • Understand how the basic requirements tied to modern acquisition and processing ideas can fundamentally change the data that is presented to an interpreter, and why final data volumes can look significantly different from legacy data

Additional Resources

The accompanying textbook is available for purchase.[1]

Listen to Dave discuss his lecture in Dave Monk reassesses survey design in light of modern processing techniques, Episode 74[2] of Seismic Soundoff, in-depth conversations in applied geophysics.

SEG Presidential Biography

Dave Monk gained a PhD in physics from Nottingham University in England in 1980, and for the last 30 years his career in geophysics has involved working in most aspects of seismic acquisition and processing for seismic contractors, consulting and working for an oil company. His career started with SSL in Nigeria before joining GSI in the UK as an area geophysicist. He then worked in the USA and Norway before returning to the USA as part of the then HGS research and development group. In 1993 he joined a seismic consulting company, and subsequently formed Energy Innovations Technical Services where he acted as president from 1994 to 1999. In 2000 he joined Apache where he now acts as director of Geophysics. He is well known for his technical contributions to industry, and has received Best Paper awards from SEG (1992, and honorable mention in 2005), Canadian SEG (2002) and the Hagedoorn Award from EAGE (1993).

Dave has been a member of SEG for 27 years. He served as Technical Chairman for SEG's 75th Anniversary meeting in 2005, was elected as Vice President of SEG in 2006 and received Life Membership from SEG in 2009. He served as Chairman of SEG Global Inc. at its formation in 2008, and has also worked on the Meetings Review, Constitution and Bylaws, EAGE Collaboration, and Global Development Advisory committees.

SEG President-elect Announcement and Biography

David J. Monk, director of Geophysics at Apache, has been elected President-elect of the Society of Exploration Geophysics for the 2011-2012 term of office. Monk received a doctorate in physics from Nottingham University in England and has spent his professional career in working in most aspects of seismic acquisition and processing for contracting and oil companies. He is well known in the geophysical community for his technical contributions and has won "best paper" awards from three different geophysical societies including SEG ("best paper" in 1992 and honorable mention in 2005).

Monk, an SEG member for 27 years, was Technical Program Chairman for SEG's 75th Anniversary Meeting in 2005, was Vice President on the 2006-07 Executive Committee, and served as Chairman of SEG Global, Inc. at its formation in 2008. He received SEG Life Membership in 2009. Monk will serve as President-elect on the incoming Executive Committee and will ascend to the Presidency at the conclusion of SEG's 2012 Annual International Meeting.

Others elected to the 2011-12 Executive Committee are William L. Abriel, first vice president; Richard D. Miller, second vice president; Wafik B. Beydoun, vice president; Nancy J. House, secretary-treasurer; and Tamas Nemeth, editor. Monk and the other newly elected officers will assume their roles at the conclusion of the 2011 Annual International Meeting, to be held in San Antonio in September. Bob Hardage, the current President-elect, will assume the SEG Presidency at that time.

Position Statement

My qualifications stem from insights gained working across the energy business. SEG needs to represent those employed by contractors and energy companies, or are self employed, as well as those who work outside the energy business.

The composition of the SEG has changed dramatically in the last decade, becoming a Society of truly global composition. The global energy environment is changing rapidly, and many of our members are students or just starting their careers. These changes challenge some of our conventional ideas, and SEG needs to move forward in a way that better serves the growing diversity of membership, without sacrificing those parts of the society that already function well.

Strengthening our continuing education, distinguished lecture and annual meeting, through improved use of the internet is part of the answer, but cooperating with sister societies to bring the SEG to all members is critical to SEG's future.

Much of SEG's work is performed by motivated, energetic teams. I have worked with SEG staff in the past, and I have seen that success depends on the commitment and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers. It would be an honor to work as president and ensure that the SEG continues to grow.

SEG Life Membership 2009

Dave Monk is being honored with Life Membership for his leadership and many voluntary contributions to the Society including: First Vice President (2005–2006); Chairman, Annual Meeting Technical Program Committee (2005); Meeting Review and Planning Committee (2006–2009); Strategic Governance Review Subcommittee (2007–2009); Chairman, Global Development Advisory Committee (2006); Distinguished Lecture Committee (2006); Constitution and Bylaws Committee (2007); Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on International Offices (2006); Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of SEG Global, Inc. (2007); EAGE–SEG Collaboration Committee (2008–2009); and Trustee Associate of the SEG Foundation. He has reviewed papers for Geophysics and been a frequent session chairman at SEG annual meetings over the past 20 years.

Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership

Contributed by Mike Bahorich

It’s no exaggeration to say that Dave Monk is one of the most talented geophysicists in the world. His list of accomplishments is a mile long. It is no surprise that he has been chosen for numerous leadership positions including Chairman of the Technical Program Committee for SEG’s most significant 75th anniversary meeting.

Dave Monk adds value to everything he touches. At Apache, sales of Dave’s intellectual property pay for a nice slice of our technical budget. But Dave’s main financial value to Apache lies in his creative thought—which enables us to produce better seismic images at a lower cost. The amazing thing about Dave is that he regularly comes up with incredible ideas—then turns around, later, and comes up with something even better. As director of geophysics, Dave advances Apache’s seismic images every year, even as he continues to ramp up our efficiency and lower our costs. It’s uncanny. Dave is a never-ending source of ideas that are not only creative, but also practical. They’re used, not just at Apache, but throughout the industry.

An abbreviated description of some of Dave’s most impressive technical achievements follows:

• After betting Apache’s manager of exploration $50 that he could improve our images of the Jurassic in the Western Desert (and at lower cost), he up and did it.

• He developed the famous “Monk whitening” technique, which I like to describe by repeating a conversation overheard between two geophysicists: “I need better frequency content on this data set,” said one. “That’s easy,” said the other. “Why don’t you just ‘Monk’ it?”

• He patented early methods to better process ocean-bottom cable data.

• He was an early adopter of slip-sweep and single-vibrator technology to improve images (again at lower cost).

• He has other patents, involving wave-equation multiple attenuation, slant stack, noise attenuation, and interpolation. His recent patent describing Fresnel-zone binning promises to save the seismic industry not just a little money, but hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Dave has contributed more than 100 papers to SEG and affiliated society meetings and has been recognized with many honors, including:

• SEG Best Paper Presented at 1992 Annual Meeting

• EAGE Hagedoorn Award (1993)

• Canadian SEG’s Best Paper Award (2002)

• SEG Honorable Mention, Best Paper Presented at 2004 Annual Meeting

Recently, some SEG leaders made a list of members who are always there, serving on committees and volunteering in a variety of ways. Dave was one of very few “super volunteers;” i.e., clearly committed to SEG. A review of the extensive list of volunteer activities in the text introducing this citation should convince anyone that few people have given more to SEG.

With all that talent and all that activity, it seems too much to ask that Dave Monk be a fine human being as well. But, he is thoughtful, considerate, and wonderful to work with. Somehow, Dave finds time to contribute to K–12 science programs, helping kids learn about geophysics. Along with Lorraine, his lovely and charming wife of 28 years, he has raised two fine sons, Chris and Rob, ages 23 and 21. Yeah, and Dave’s well-rounded, too. He enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, squash, and running. And he loves cars—although he says he’d like more spare time to enjoy them! I can think of no finer candidate for SEG Life Membership.


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David Monk
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