Chengbo Li

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Chengbo Li
Li, Chengbo.jpg
Latest company ConocoPhillips

SEG Reginald Fessenden Award 2021

Chengbo Li’s specific technical contribution is his pioneering work with Charles Mosher at ConocoPhillips (COP) on the industry-leading compressive seismic imaging (CSI) technology applied to seismic data acquisition and processing. Compressive sensing is a breakthrough in sampling theory and application that has direct application on the most expensive activities of applied geophysics. The application of CSI allows for sparse acquisition compared with regularly sampled shots and receivers without the loss of signal. This significantly helps reduce cost and enhance performance for the seismic industry. Li was a critical partner in COP to develop and expand the theory, test the application in multiple geological environments, and commercialize the technology.

His academic work at Rice University was the basis of the concepts of CSI, which required development and refinement in its application to industrial problems. Li worked closely with the business units, processing, and research and development teams to develop the technologies and tools required to balance the relationship between cost and quality. The result was CSI technology that significantly reduces cost for acquiring seismic data while simultaneously improving image quality.

Li is noted for his six patents regarding CSI and his multiple peer-reviewed papers describing the theory, development, and application of the technology. He has continued to improve the algorithms based on the learnings from each new application and recognized the opportunity to broaden the utilization of the CSI concepts to solve additional complex problems such as noise attenuation and imaging. SEG is pleased to recognize Li for this valuable technology breakthrough.

Biography Citation for the Reginald Fessenden Award

by Kenneth M. Tubman, Bradley L. Bankhead, Jie Zhang, Alfred Liaw, Mauricio D. Sacchi, Oz Yilmaz, Lee Bell, and Youming Li

Chengbo Li is well known for his pioneering work jointly with Charles Mosher on the compressive seismic imaging (CSI) technology applied to seismic data acquisition and processing. The technology helped reduce time and cost associated with both onshore and offshore acquisition projects significantly and enhance performance for the seismic industry. Application of the technology made a material impact to ConocoPhillips and its partners over multiple years, leading to direct savings on acquisition costs and indirect savings on drilling costs as well as impacting development plans. On the North Slope of Alaska, the reduction of environmental footprint from introducing and implementing CSI technology was well recognized by the local communities. Chengbo helped drive the development of CSI and was involved in all aspects of the technology. He is the first author of 10 papers or SEG abstracts, coauthor of another 11 articles, and holds six patents on the CSI efforts.

Chengbo was previously trained as a mathematician. He received his MS in 2009 and PhD in 2011 both in computational and applied mathematics from Rice University, focused on compressive sensing theory and applications for imaging and wireless communication. Upon graduation, he joined ConocoPhillips and brought his talent and creativity into geophysics. For the past 10 years, he has worked on integrating the theory of compressive sensing into seismic imaging, which led to the breakthrough of CSI technology. The technology developed at ConocoPhillips successfully improved E&P performance by providing high resolution seismic data at a much lower cost. For his contribution, he received ConocoPhillips’ Special Recognition Awards in 2014 and 2016. The development team received the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Performance Award in Innovation in 2016 and the SPIRIT of Performance Award as Technology Champions in 2018. SPIRIT Awards are the highest internal awards given by ConocoPhillips. The technology also received the OTC Asia Spotlight on New Technology Award in 2018. In 2019, Chengbo was selected to receive the SPIRIT of Performance Award as Outstanding Early Career Technologist.

Chengbo has broad research interests and enjoys bringing ideas from other disciplines into geophysics. A few highlights of his recent work include using low-rank method and unsupervised learning to predict land noise and integrating machine learning with conventional physics-driven methods to recover weak residual signal. Both of these efforts have been quickly adopted for land seismic processing.

Chengbo is also enthusiastic in his sharing and volunteering. He has served on The Leading Edge Editorial Board since 2019 and has contributed to several special sections in that journal. He and Ali Tura also co�advised a PhD student at Colorado School of Mines with a research interest on compressive sensing.

Now, Chengbo is recognized with the SEG Reginald Fessenden Award. His significant accomplishments in CSI will be lasting contributions to our science and technology.