SEG Cecil Green Enterprise Award 2014 
Matt Lamont and Troy Thompson, founders of DownUnder GeoSolutions, embody the spirit of the Cecil Green Enterprise Award in a story of personal risk and enterprise that should be recognized. They founded DownUnder GeoSolutions in 2003 in a shed in Matt’s yard in Perth, Australia. They developed and wrote their own software, so originally they had very limited offerings (AVO and inversion software and services) while they worked on development. By 2008, the company had grown to 45 people, and 92% of the shares were held by employees. That year they won their first major Seismic Processing project covering 1,500 km2 of data, and commercialized the “DUG Insight” suite of software. DownUnder now has offices around the world, employs about 200 people, and is a supplier of interpretation software and seismic data-processing services worldwide. All of this could not have been achieved without considerable personal financial risk and the incredible vision and determination of Matt and Troy.
= Citation for the SEG Cecil Green Enterprise Award 2014
Both Matt Lamont and Troy Thompson had distinguished academic careers as students in the Department of Exploration Geophysics at Curtin University in Western Australia. Matt won the competitive K. A. Richards APPEA Scholarship, an Australian Postgraduate Award, an Australian Cooperative Research Centre Scholarship, and the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Prize. He earned a bachelor of science degree with first-class honors and completed his Ph.D. in 1998.
While an undergraduate student, Troy won the Dean’s Prize as the top student in the Faculty of Science and was inducted as a member of the Golden Key National Honour Society. He won the AIP Most Outstanding Graduate Prize, the RioTinto/CRA Field-mapping Prize, and the Royal Society Science Medal. As a postgraduate student, he won the John Curtin Postgraduate Scholarship, BHP Billiton Research Scholarship, a Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Scholarship, and a MERIWA Supplementary Scholarship. He completed his Ph.D. in 2004, with Matt as one of his supervisors.
Both Matt and Troy published internationally and made international conference presentations while still students, with Matt’s multiple-attenuation algorithm featured on the front page of The Leading Edge in January 1999.
In his early career, Matt worked as a geophysicist with Phillips Petroleum, reservoir evaluation geologist with Woodside Offshore Petroleum, senior research geophysicist with Texseis (Houston), senior geophysicist with BHP Billiton in Perth, and technical leader with Seismic Imaging and Processing (Houston). Matt has always been research minded and served a very productive term as associate professor and chairman of the Curtin Reservoir Geophysics Consortium of industrial supporters for petroleum research. His strong participation ensured the industrial relevance of the research.
Matt’s dream of starting his own enterprise became a reality in 2003 after he approached young, high-achieving Troy with his ideas of a small consultancy. Troy was up for the challenge. A small number of past colleagues who knew and had confidence in Matt and his vision provided a modest amount of start-up capital, and DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUGEO) was born. A small team was assembled, working from a shed (which they had to first build) in Matt’s backyard in Perth, Western Australia.
In the early days, Troy headed up quantitative interpretation (QI), while Matt explored a gap he had identified in the market and focused on developing a processing and imaging tool kit for small-scale processing. DUGEO developed a unique QI workflow that attracted the attention of some local innovative oil companies, and in 2006, the first major discovery was made. This led to a string of successful discovery wells, and today, two field development projects are under way. Meanwhile, Matt developed a seismic-imaging tool kit, initially with the support of an Australian Commonwealth Government grant.
The company rapidly outgrew Matt’s shed and moved to new offices in nearby Subiaco. It now has headquarters in West Perth, with seven other international offices. DUGEO’s service offering has continued to expand to include illumination studies, seismic data processing, depth imaging, petrophysics, QI, geostatistical depth conversion, and multiclient studies.
With a strong R&D focus from day one, DUGEO developed its own interpretation software, called DUG Insight, allowing greater productivity and providing superior technical workflows to its internal service geophysicists. It was not long before clients started to request those tools for use themselves. DUG Insight is now the interpretation-software platform of choice in hundreds of companies worldwide. It is an interactive package, working from field tapes right through to QI.
Academic success is in no way a guarantee of success in business, but Matt and Troy’s dedication, talent, determination, and plain hard work have taken DownUnder GeoSolutions from humble beginnings to the significant global company that it is today.
- SEG Honors and Awards Ceremony in Official Program and Exhibitors Directory, SEG Denver 26-31 October 2014 p.36-49.