Fred Aminzadeh

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Fred Aminzadeh
Fred Aminzadeh headshot.jpg
Latest company dGB-USA
President year 2007
PhD Geophysics
PhD university University of Southern California

Fred Aminzadeh is a geophysicist and was the 2007-2008 SEG President.

SEG Honorary Membership 2018 [1]

Fred Aminzadeh has made significant contributions to the field of exploration geophysics and seismic signal processing through his numerous books, patents, and publications, with a focus on technical advances in discipline boundaries of applied geophysics, petroleum engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering. He has done pioneering work on seismic elastic modeling, seismic pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, reservoir monitoring, and induced seismicity. Fred has served SEG as president. He has also been on numerous SEG committees including chairing the Research Committee and Global Affairs Committee.

Biography Citation for 2018 SEG Honorary Membership

By M. Lee Bell

Fred Aminzadeh received his doctorate degree in electrical engineering, with a focus on seismic signal processing and elastic modeling, in 1979 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USC). He started his career at Bell Laboratories with many innovations in signal processing and optimization, earning him the fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. His oil and gas career began when he joined Unocal (now part of Chevron) in 1983, staying until 1999. During his time at Unocal, he worked on a variety of endeavors, including introducing a new modeling and amplitude variation with offset analysis based on elastic impedance; introducing a new method of pattern recognition and clustering of seismic data to identify hydrocarbon reservoirs; and pioneering a generalized Kalman filter used for reservoir simulation, seismic data analysis, and other fields. In addition, he did pioneering work on the use of neural networks and fuzzy logic in the oil and gas industry, patented reservoir image updating while drilling as a prelude to horizontal drilling, and geosteered many other innovations that spawned a large number of publications and several patents. He also led a team of professionals from oil companies and national laboratories to conduct an SEG/EAGE modeling project for salt and overthrust structures, for which he received the 1998 SEG Special Commendation Award. The models from this initiative were used in hundreds if not thousands of cases and paved the wave for the current SEG SEAM initiative. He also contributed to bringing down discipline boundaries in the oil and gas industry with his visionary paper, “Geo-engineering, the wave of the future.”

In 1999, Fred established dGB-USA, expanding dGB’s activities in America that provide services on reservoir characterization and OpendTect software to upstream energy companies. While at dGB, he made a significant contribution to the application of gas chimney technology in the oil industry, which won the Top Paper Award from AAPG in 2008 and led to the joint SEG and AAPG book titled Hydrocarbon Seepage: From Source to Surface. He served SEG on numerous committees including chairing the Research Committee. More significantly, he served as SEG vice president (2001–2002) and SEG president (2007–2008). During Fred’s term of presidency, several significant milestones were achieved including the creation of Geoscientists Without Borders®, the opening of the SEG China office, the meeting of the General Assembly of Geophysicists, the launch of the Geo-Mentoring Initiative, SEG’s participation in SPE’s reserves evaluation, and the establishment of SEG SEAM.

Moving on to become a professor at USC in 2009, Fred started and is the managing director of the Global Energy Network, an energy think tank. In 2011, he became the executive director of the Reservoir Monitoring Consortium and the executive director of the Induced Seismicity Consortium in 2012. He brought together petroleum engineering, geosciences, and other technologies for effectively monitoring reservoirs during drilling, production, and secondary recovery, as well as characterizing fracture reservoirs, optimizing hydraulic fracturing, and modeling fracture propagation. Fred received SPE’s Western Region awards for Reservoir Description in 2011 and Formation Evaluation in 2015. He is also the editor in chief of the Journal of Sustainable Energy Engineering with its unique “e-cubed” concept with energy, economics, and environment trilogy as its focus.

Fred’s accomplishments in the field of exploration geophysics and his contributions to our Society are truly exceptional, and I am honored to put together this citation.

Biography for the 2006 SEG Special Commendation Award [2]

Fred Aminzadeh has been a SEG member for nearly 30 years. He has been active in many SEG committees, including Research (chairman, 1994-1996), Global Affairs (vice chairman, 2000-2001), Interpretation, SEG75, and D&P.

He has organized and chaired many SEG international conferences, workshops, and technical sessions. Fred has been a member of the SEG Trustee Associates since 2002 and received SEG's Special Commendation award in 1998.

Most recently, he served as SEG vice president in 2001-2002. Fred, also an AAPG, SPE, and EAGE member, has helped strengthen intersociety relations. He pursued collaboration with EAGE on the SEG/EAGE salt/overthrust modeling project, the results of which are still used extensively for imaging benchmarking. He has been involved in SPE/AAPG forums, journals, and committees. He helped found SEG chapters in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, served on the U.S. National Academy of Science's NRC Committee on Seismology, and is a member of the Azerbaijan Oil Academy and Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Fred's experience covers a broad spectrum, from large oil companies to small service companies and academia. He has been Unocal's manager of geophysical technology, an adjunct professor at Rice, and consultant to national laboratories (LANL, LBNL, ORNL). Currently, he is president/CEO of dGB-USA in SugarLand, Texas. His diverse technical contributions include those in processing, modeling, attributes, reservoir characterization, and neural networks. His PhD dissertation at USC involved elastic/AVO modeling. Fred has published 10 books and holds many patents. In 2005, Fred emerged as the only geoscientist finalist for the World Oil 2005 Innovative Thinkers Award.

Special Commendation 1998

The SEG is awarding a Special Commendation to the members of the SEG/EAGE Modeling Project. Particularly deserving of recognition are project leader Fred Aminzadeh, Alain Bamberger, Jean Brac, Norm Burkhard, Pierre Duclos, Tim Kunz, Laurence Nicoletis, Fabio Rocca, and Kay Wyatt.

Citation for Special Commendation

Contributed by Ken Larner


If there is one thing that the seismic exploration community has plenty of it’s data — readily in astronomical (or, should we say, geophysical) amounts, and from every part of the globe and from every conceivable environment. Well, it turns out that a large group of geophysicists, and two geophysical societies, thought that we neither had enough data nor had we truly tapped every possible acquisition environment. So, they embarked on designing a survey and collecting massive additional amounts of data — this time from the depths of computers, from four of the world’s largest and most powerful computers.

Under the leadership of Fred Aminzadeh, volunteers from more than 50 organizations pooled their creative energies and large expertise, culminating, in the 3-D SEG/EAGE Modeling Project, through which were generated multifold 3-D synthetic seismic data over two complex 3-D geologic models, the Salt Model and the Overthrust Model. These two control data sets are freely available worldwide to academic and industrial researchers for uses (both foreseen and not yet envisioned) aimed at (1) better understanding of problems in imaging data acquired over complex structures and intricate stratigraphy, (2) testing and validation of processing algorithms, and (3) aiding in survey design.

This year, SEG honors the members of the 3-D SEG/EAGE Modeling Project with this Special Commendation, the award established to give “recognition and special commendation to deserving persons for meritorious service to the public, the scientific community, or to our profession.”

The number of volunteers involved in this collaborative and highly cooperative effort is far too large to mention here, but special recognition is in order to acknowledge the intensive efforts of Fred Aminzadeh, Alain Bamberger, Jean Brac, Norm Burkhard, Pierre Duclos, Tim Kunz, Laurence Nicoletis, Fabio Rocca, and Kay Wyatt. These and many others put in thousands of hours to design and construct the two geologic models, to design the acquisition parameters, to write, test, and select the appropriate finite-difference modeling software, to schedule the necessary computer resources, and to make available the resulting models and benchmark seismic data. In addition to time taken from their jobs (and therefore donated by their organizations), many of these volunteers have devoted numerous weekends and evenings to the demands of the project.

A project of this scope could not come about without the gracious support of many organizations, including sponsorship by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, plus primary funding from the United States Department of Energy Gas and Oil Information Infrastructure. That funding included use of massively parallel computers at four national laboratories, with their high-speed input/output capability, high-end networking, mass data storage, distributed computing, and advanced visualization techniques. Using 3-D finite-difference modeling code developed at Institut Français du Petrole, this mobilized massive computer power still required years of computation in order to produce the three terabytes of data for the two models that will serve the industry as benchmark data for years to come. Because of the dedication and foresight of these volunteers, anyone in the world who has access to the World Wide Web on the Internet can obtain the reports, geologic models, and (with sufficient computer horsepower) the seismic data generated by the project. Truly, the generosity of the many people who, starting from a grand dream have brought about this outstanding reality, sets a standard for the word “volunteer.

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  1. (2018). ”Honors and Awards.” The Leading Edge, 37(11), 842–854. http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/tle37110842.1
  2. The Leading Edge, July 2006, Vol. 25, No. 7