Eivind Berg

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Eivind Berg
Eivind Berg headshot.png
Latest company Seabed geophysical
MSc Geophysics
MSc university NTNU

Eivind Berg, James Martin and Bjørnar Svenning are being honored with the Kauffman Gold Medal for demonstrating that high-quality, high-density marine shear-wave data can be acquired by recording converted waves at the seabed. The three Statoil employees presented this work at the 1994 EAEG (now EAGE) Annual Meeting and sparked an explosion of activity and advancement in marine converted-wave seismic technology.

Biography Citation for the Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal Award

Contributed by Martin Landrø

Eleven years ago Eivind Berg had this wild idea of acquiring shearand pressure-wave seismic data on the seabed. Onshore shear-wave exploration and its potential were well known, but Eivind believed that shear-wave data acquired on the seabed would be better than their onshore counterparts.

Furthermore, he foresaw the contribution that such data could make; geoscientists could characterize offshore sequences of sedimentary rocks and contained fluids with greater reliability. With infectious enthusiasm and vision, Eivind persuaded Statoil to invest a substantial sum in this project; in retrospect, four-component seabed seismic would be way behind its current level without this enlightened management decision.

The first successful test of a prototype four-component tool came in 1991. The next step was an offshore test. After several sleepless nights, Eivind decided that Tommeliten Field would be suitable—a choice that was immensely important. Resolution of 3-D surface seismic at Tommeliten was strongly obscured by gas chimneys. On the day before Christmas Eve 1993, Statoil’s research team produced the first section of P-to-Sconverted data obtained from the horizontal in-line component. The result was clear: a high-quality seismic image. From that moment, Eivind and colleagues were convinced that this technology would significantly impact the offshore seismic industry. Amoco performed a similar test on Valhall Field in 1996; again, geology obscured by the gas chimney was resolved.

In 1979 Eivind received his Siv.ing. (master’s) degree from the Department of Petroleum Technology and Applied Geophysics at NTNU, Trondheim. He spent three years in Stavanger as a geophysicist for Elf, then returned to Trondheim to embark on a research career with the SINTEF Group. During his SINTEF years, Eivind was devoted to multidisciplinary reservoir description. He and Antony Treverton Buller initiated projects involving integration of geoscientific and computer science disciplines. One result was a high-resolution poststack inversion method (HIGHRES). In 1988 Eivind joined Statoil’s Research Centre in Trondheim.

Eivind is a versatile geophysicist who can put his finger on what is important: this is what makes him extraordinary. He also has considerable powers of persuasion. You enter his office to explain why something will not work and emerge eager to attack the problem again. Some years ago I discussed 3-D seabed seismic with him and expressed my concern about how to handle a multiazimuth data set with uneven offset distribution. Eivind answered that the potential benefit of multiazimuths outweighed the processing problems they might cause. This ability to brush aside problems and focus on opportunities is typical of the man.

Furthermore, his ardent belief in multidisciplinary approaches makes him a good team builder; he instinctively knows how people with different backgrounds and skills can complement each other and make synergistic advances. Eivind and colleagues received internal Statoil awards in 1991 and 1994 and he received the Norwegian Geophysics Award in 1995.

In 1996 Eivind felt the time was ripe for furthering seabed seismic in an independent company. Subseaco was formed with Eivind as a technical director. Subseaco’s first commission was a pioneering project, including a 3-D fourcomponent survey, for Shell. Eivind and Bjørnar Svenning have now launched a new company—Seabed Geophysical, which I am sure will generate innovative and challenging projects in the years to come. Today, six years after the Tommeliten experiment, the number of seabed seismic surveys is steadily rising. The seismic community is conservative—it often takes considerable time between the generation of an idea and its adoption as a routine practice. Eivind is among the few geoscientists to propel geophysics in a new trajectory, perhaps into a new era.