Anders Farestveit

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Anders Farestveit
Anders Farestveit headshot.jpg
Membership Honorary Member

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership

Contributed by Ingebret Gausland and Harald Nordberg

For nearly 30 years, Anders Farestveit has been pushing the frontiers of marine seismic technology through sound theory and very strong, inspiring leadership. Wide arrays and wide streamer tows are the results of his dedication and focus on how to obtain better and cheaper seismic data. Not all of his competitors in the seismic industry immediately approved of Geco's directions, but the techniques pioneered in the late '70s under Anders' leadership are dominating the marine seismic industry today.

After graduating from the University of Bergen with a degree in geophysics (1965), Anders joined a consulting firm later known as Geoteam. Their main product was seismic data for civil engineering purposes, but they also ventured into marine exploration and acquired their first survey in 1969 offshore Spitsbergen.

In the North Sea, the oil and gas era was in its infancy, and Anders saw potential in this new market. In 1972 Geoteam and Computas (the computer division of Det norske Veritas) jointly formed the company Geco, and with Anders controlling both the wheel and the accelerator (so to speak), he now operated a powerful enough vehicle to start competing with the internationally well-established contractors.

He made an agreement with Western Geophysical on training Geco personnel. It is to Western's honor that they gave them a good background. Some of these people formed the backbone of Geco during the fast and remarkable development that followed. This development was mainly orchestrated and inspired by Anders. Of all the characteristics that aptly describe him, enthusiasm is the one that stands out most clearly. He created an atmosphere of relentless search for better technical solutions. The competitors soon learned they had met a serious and ambitious newcomer. Anders enjoyed "dancing with the wolves" and quickly showed the pack some new steps that, to their surprise, they had to learn or be left behind.

Being brought up on the west coast of Norway, Anders had gained insight into the fishing industry. This gave him the base for experimenting with new techniques. At that time the state of the art was a single source and streamer, towed straight behind the vessel. Shell introduced the super long airgun array, and that technology was implemented by Geco. This was a significant step forward in obtaining data from the rough waters of the Barents Sea. But Geco went further and developed wide arrays in order to get even better control of source directivity.

Towing wide arrays and multiple streamers in wide separation mode were pioneered by Geco under the research and development auspices of Anders who was inspired by the techniques used by trawlers. This is all standard in the industry today, although the detailed technical solutions do differ. The Geco trademark became purpose-built vessels with width and power to handle heavy tows under rugged conditions, and the rest of the industry had to adapt to the new standard. Anders may not be wearing big shoes, but his footprints are clearly visible.

The wide towing of source and streamers is essential for cost-effective 3D surveys. Anders was instrumental in developing these solutions. His achievements in this area are most evident in the many papers presented by Geco representatives over the years. His inspiration and creativity have helped push along many of the professionals that made Geco a world leader in marine geophysics. This inspiration reached even further to its customers. Relations developed between contractor and client were the forerunners for today's alliances.

Anders' focus on data improvement also led Geco into new and interesting processing techniques. Hard-bottom problems needed better multiple cancellation, and significant research went into the development of new software. When 3-D became a standard technique, Geco pioneered the special processing methods needed to handle the new type of data. Modern binning technique is different from the one used originally for 3-D surveys, and Geco had significant input in developing this new acquisition process.

From the mid '80s, Schlumberger had shown an interest in Geco and their technology. In 1986 an agreement was reached giving Schlumberger a 50 percent, then later a 100 percent, position in Geco. Anders was instrumental in finalizing this agreement. During the turbulent years of the late '80s in the seismic industry, the new company emerged as a survivor with a platform for further growth into a more influential and powerful enterprise. Since 1992 Anders Farestveit has been the managing director of Schlumberger Norway, and last year his contributions to the science and the industry in Norway were recognized by the University of Bergen which bestowed on him an honorary doctorate.