David Lumley

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David Lumley
David Lumley headshot.jpg
BSc university University of British Columbia
MSc university University of British Columbia
PhD university Stanford University

David E. Lumley is noted for his pioneering work in the area of 4D seismic monitoring. His expertise is wave-theoretic seismology, especially 3D imaging, 4D time-lapse monitoring, and inversion estimation of physical properties in the earth; all requiring a strong background in physics and high performance computing. He is President & CEO of 4th Wave Imaging Corp., a seismic imaging R&D start-up company offering expert solutions and services in 4D time-lapse seismic reservoir monitoring and multicomponent seismic data analysis. His previous work experience includes a position as a senior staff research scientist with Chevron Petroleum Technology and research and operations assignments with Arco Research, Mobil R&D Corp., and Mobil Canada. Prior to that, David worked as a seismic crew leader for Western Geophysical on marine seismic vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic.

David received a BS and MS from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from Stanford University. As part of Professor Jon Claerbout's Stanford Exploration Project, David conducted pioneering research work on 4D seismic analysis, including his doctoral thesis: "Seismic Time-Lapse Monitoring of Subsurface Fluid Flow". His expertise and research excellence in 4D seismic reservoir monitoring at Stanford was recognized with one of the first SEG J. Clarence Karcher Award in 1996. David continues to hold a courtesy position as a consulting professor with Stanford University.

Lumley is very active within the SEG. He has served as an Associate Editor (1995–1999) for GEOPHYSICS, and on several technical committees including the Joint SPE/SEG Research Forum Committee (1996), SEG Annual Meeting Technical Program Committees (1997–1998), and the SEG Development & Production Forum (1999). He is currently a Reviewer for GEOPHYSICS and The Leading Edge, serves on the SEG Research Committee, and is Chair of the 2001 SEG Summer Research Workshop. David is also a member of AGU, SIAM, and SPE.

Lumley has published his work in several technical journals, and presented numerous papers and invited keynote addresses at technical conferences, workshops and forums. His theoretical and practical contributions cover a wide range of topics including 4D seismic reservoir monitoring, multicomponent seismic data analysis, 3D prestack migration, AVO, multi-parameter inversion, multiple suppression, rock physics, seismic modeling from flow simulation, methane hydrates, and parallel computing. Lumley is the recipient of the Best Paper Awards at the SOVG Conference in Caracas (1998), the SEG Annual Meeting in Dallas (1997), and the SPIE Conference in Mathematical Geophysics, San Diego (1994) and was honored to serve as the SEG Fall 2000 Distinguished Lecturer and an SPE Distinguished Lecturer (1998–1999).

Fall 2000 SEG Distinguished Lecturer

The Next Wave in Reservoir Monitoring: The Instrumented Oilfield

Several technologies are advancing to better monitor and optimize reservoir production. These include time-lapse surface and borehole seismic, shear wave technology, directional drilling, permanent downhole sensors, intelligent well completions, fiber optics, remote control operations, data management and Internet technology, shared earth models to extract and archive reservoir knowledge, data visualization, parallel computing, and rapid modeling, processing, analysis and decision-making tools. These diverse technologies are converging toward the target of real-time monitoring and optimization of reservoir production: The instrumented oilfield.

In the geophysical world, time-lapse seismic technology has been rapidly advancing over the past few years. Several industry case studies have been presented that show the capacity of 4D seismic to monitor injected fluid fronts, locate bypassed oil, map pressure compartmentalization, and delineate the sealing or leaking flow properties of faults. High resolution time-lapse seismic monitoring has been performed in the borehole, in VSP and crosswell geometries. Together, time-lapse surface and borehole seismic techniques have the possibility to cover multiple reservoir scales in terms of both spatial and time-lapse resolution. Permanent installation of receiver arrays, originally motivated by increased repeatability and signal-to-noise energy, have the potential to offer useful benefits in data acquisition cost reduction and real-time surveying flexibility. Since multicomponent receivers can be installed for nearly the same price as acoustic sensors, the additional information from shear waves can be useful for monitoring pressure fronts, in situ stress, and real-time fracturing. However, many hardware, software, and logistical issues remain before permanent seismic arrays become a practical reality.

In the engineering world, downhole instrumentation and borehole technology have been experiencing rapid development. Downhole sensors are available to measure reservoir state variables such as pressure, temperature and saturation. These sensors can be permanently installed and can feed continuous data by fiber optics to remote control operation centers at the surface. Directional drilling can be aided in real-time by logging-while-drilling (LWD) measurements and seismic drill-bit steering. Smart wells with multiple-level intelligent completions can drain multiple oil reservoirs in an optimal manner by measuring flow rates and pressure during production, and reconfiguring the completion specs on the fly to maximize recovery. More field pilot tests are needed to advance the technology.

On the combined geoscience and engineering analysis front, these complex and real-time monitoring systems will produce a huge volume of data that requires intelligent processing to extract reservoir knowledge and value. How will the flow of data be transmitted, and what portion will be storable? How will the information content—the reservoir knowledge—be extracted from the data stream and archived in a continuously evolving and updated reservoir model? The solutions to these challenges hinge on evolving technologies in data management, information technology, high-speed networks, Internet communications, rapid data visualization, parallel computing, the shared earth model concept, and integrated modeling, processing, analysis and decision-making tools. Much research remains to be done; we need to get out there, put these systems in the ground, test them, and learn as we go.

Biography Citation for the J. Clarence Karcher Award

Contributed by Jon Claerbout

David E. Lumley received his bachelor's and master's degrees in geophysics in 1986 and 1989, respectively, from the University of British Columbia. He completed his Ph.D. in geophysics from Stanford University in the fall of 1995. He is currently employed at Chevron's research lab.

I know David Lumley as his Ph.D. thesis supervisor at Stanford. Although age 35 at the time of receiving the Karcher Award, David is already widely known for being a good speaker. While at UBC, he won SEG's student technical paper competition in 1989. It was delightful to have him as a student because his presentations set such a high standard for other students to meet.

Although David is most widely known for his outstanding presentations, I admire him most for his ability to listen. Presenters at our lab always had to contend with several challenging questions from David. David's ability to listen well soon brought him into meaningful working relationships with a wide variety of people (who offered me suggestions for this citation). Perhaps the best summary came from Dave Nichols, a former fellow student, who writes, "During the time I worked with David, I found that he is a complete scientist. He is not only able to identify a good idea, but he also has the energy and thoroughness to carry a project through to completion, and the ability to communicate the results to others."

Christine Ecker, a Stanford student working on gas hydrates, writes, "David was always very helpful and supportive."

Wafik Beydoun of Elf writes, "David has an interest and ability in all aspects of reservoir geophysics, ranging from field data analysis to theoretical model development. One of the striking things about him is his capacity for getting things done."

Jack Dvorkin, a rock physicist, writes "In 1993, David Lumley and I coordinated one of the first feasibility studies in time-lapse (4-D) seismic monitoring. Expecting to deal with a student, I was pleasantly surprised to find David an accomplished scientist, engineer, and responsible worker. He not only demonstrates full knowledge of rock physics, but also a knack to use it to the point."

Within the Stanford Exploration Project group, David was always quick to recognize and move onto opportunities. David seized the opportunity to work with Mobil's AVO challenge data set and focused a team effort with his fellow students (and faculty) that came up with innovative ideas and approaches to processing and analyzing the data. These included high-resolution velocity filtering for multiple suppression, surface-consistent weighting and wavelet decomposition for source and receiver balancing, reflectivity estimation by prestack migration, and estimation of AVO by means of multiple prediction.

David's interests include enhancing image resolution and dynamic amplitude information from 3-D seismic data, and relating seismic parameters to physical properties in order to estimate subsurface lithology, pore-fluid content, and physical states related to pressure and temperature fields.

His Ph.D. research has helped forge a new research direction in time-lapse seismic monitoring of subsurface fluid flow. This work integrates the physics of fluid flow, rock physics, and seismic wave propagation in a single goal: to detect and monitor physical changes in the subsurface due to fluid-flow processes, by analyzing repeated surface seismic data surveys.

David is interested in promoting an industry-academic consortium to further research in seismic monitoring of fluid-flow processes. If you cruise the Web, he has a worthwhile presentation at http://sepwww.stanford.edu/oldsep/david/.

David is actively involved in collaborative research between geophysics and petroleum engineering. In that respect he is the best student I have seen in 20 years.

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