Svein Ellingsrud has an MSc (1986) and a PhD (1990) in physics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He joined Statoil in Trondheim in 1992 as a research scientist focusing on petrophysics, rock physics, geophysics and electromagnetic techniques. Svein was the project manager from 1997 for the internal Statoil project that later became the background for establishing EMGS. In 2002, Svein joined EMGS as one of its founders and became vice president for research and development. He had responsibility for all technology development within EMGS until May 2008. Svein was also chief technology officer from 2007 until May 2008. After one and a half years as an executive adviser to KMS Technologies, Inc., Svein rejoined EMGS in late 2009. Currently, he is the technical director of EMGS’s multi-client business unit. Svein has also served on several boards, including those of KMS Technologies and Sensor Developments AS.
SEG Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal Award 2007
Terje Eidesmo and Svein Ellingsrud are receiving the Kauffman Gold Medal for initiating the first substantial test of controlled-source electromagnetics (CSEM) for direct hydrocarbon indication. This pioneering work spawned a new service industry devoted to acquiring, processing, and modeling CSEM data to directly observe hydrocarbons by capitalizing on the resistivity contrast observed in selected hydrocarbon basins. Utilizing CSEM data to lower drilling risk is quickly becoming standard practice in some plays and, in 2007, TLE reported " .. commercial acceptance about five years ago. However, this brief time has been long enough for this method to earn the label of being possibly the most significant technology in oil exploration since 30 seismic." While history may or may not validate this quote, certainly this is a significant invention worthy of celebration and recognition.
Occasionally technology breakthroughs are made that fundamentally alter the way we approach critical tasks. It has become popular to describe such breakthroughs as game changers. It can sometimes take time for game· changing technologies to be widely adopted, however, and for good reasons. Their effect can be unsettling, even disruptive, and their full impact may be difficult to appreciate, at least initially. Now and again, however, a new technology comes along that instantly galvanizes an industry because it was the breakthrough that everyone had been waiting for. You could say the need to change the game was long overdue. In such cases, a host of keen followers is quickly attracted to the scene, the technology is propelled forward-and the inventors may end up being sidelined by the force of the developments. Terje Eidesmo and Svein Ellingsrud had the energy, the drive, and the determination to avoid this fate when, in 2000, they demonstrated how a controlled, powerful source of electromagnetic (EM) radiation could be used to directly detect offshore hydrocarbon reservoirs with a full-scale test.
For the two Norwegians, the world-first laboratory experiments and field demonstration were just the beginning. After they had solved one of the holy grails of the oil exploration industry; how to find oil without necessarily drilling an expensive hole, their goal was to remain in the vanguard of the new movement they had created and to play a full role in the commercialization of their discovery which is what distinguishes genuine innovators. That they have achieved this goal, and maintained their massive influence in the area, is the reason they are worthy recipients of the 2007 Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal. Eidesmo and Ellingsrud teamed up at Statoil's research center in Trondheim, Norway, in 1992 initially to carry out research into techniques including the measurement of downhole resistivity for improved directional drilling performance. Indeed, the outcome of this work was a new tool for monitoring oil/water contacts, which was commercialized by a leading Norwegian oilfield services company. The origin of the innovation that would make them famous, though, was in 1997. During a trip to the United States, they learned that a professor with the unlikely name of Einstein, working in Texas, possessed an unusually powerful source of magnetic radiation that could penetrate several kilometers into the Earth. During the flight home to Norway they began to wonder if such a source could be used remotely, particularly in a marine environment, to identify changes in subsurface resistivity and hence distinguish between oil- and water-bearing formations beneath the seabed. This plane journey marked a shift in the focus of their research and the start of advanced modeling studies designed to answer this vital question.
Their studies proved that low-frequency EM radiation emitted by a source close to the seabed could indeed propagate to potential reservoir depths. Furthermore, the studies showed that the energy was guided with low attenuation over long distances by resistive bodies such as hydrocarbon-containing rock. Crucial from a practical standpoint was their finding that by placing the seabed receivers at distances from the source in excess of three times the burial depth of the reservoir, the signals from the reservoir dominated those arriving by more conventional routes. In short, they would be able to detect the hydrocarbons lying beneath the surface. in 2000. The first commercial application of the technique, in Statoil's North Sea Ormen Lange Field in 2002, was carried out by emgs, the company spun off by Statoil under the leadership of Eidesmo and Ellingsrud.
Since then, emgs has carried out more than 2 50 commercial surveys for more than 35 oil companies. And the two inventors have not been content to rest on their laurels. Having established the technique as an excellent way of confirming or discounting prospects identified by seismic surveys, Eidesmo and Ellingsrud's company has pioneered a scanning technique that is exhibiting huge potential for frontier exploration; in addition, emgs recently became the first company in the world to undertake a 30 seabed-logging exercise.
Eidesmo and Ellingsrud have undoubtedly changed the character of the offshore exploration game: some commentators have compared their achievements with the introduction of 30 seismic techniques. Moreover, their enthusiasm for the work remains undimmed. You get the sense, following the encouragement this prestigious award has given them, that there is yet more to come
The first demonstration of what Eidesmo and Ellingsrud have since termed seabed logging took place offshore Angola
- Honors and Awards Program, SEG San Antonio, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, 4 PM Sunday, 23 September 2007. p. 26-27.