Ian Jack

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Ian Jack
Ian Jack headshot.png
Membership Honorary Member

Ian G. Jack is awarded SEG Honorary Membership by SEG for his many contributions to the advancement of the science of geophysics and for his promotion of SEG and various other professional societies throughout the world. In addition to Ian’s service on the Executive Committee and many other SEG duties, Ian was the first SEG Distinguished Instructor. His one-day course “Timelapse seismic in reservoir management” was immensely popular, and its accompanying published notes remain an important tutorial reference. Following a distinguished career at GSI, Ian went on to manage acquisition services for many years at BP. He later served as BP’s geophysical advisor and R&D project manager. In these assignments, Ian was an effective champion for many significant advances in geophysical acquisition throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In his long and distinguished career, he has contributed important papers to SEG, EAGE, AAPG, and OTC on topics ranging from 4D seismic to marine interference. Ian has also played a strong role in the development of safety and quality standards through his active involvement with IAGC. Ian can also be proud of the leadership he has provided in the evolution of SEG from a North American-centric organization to a truly international society.

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership

Contributed by Mike Cox

The summary of Ian’s achievements by the Honors and Awards Committee indicates ample justification for the award of Honorary Membership.

After graduating in physics from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Ian joined GSI as an observer and field service engineer in the Middle East. He then moved to the Beirut data processing center and later to a software development team in Dallas where he met his wife Eleanor. A posting to The Netherlands followed. Always interested in languages, he attended night school to learn Arabic and Dutch during this period. His final project at GSI was setting up a 3D-technology system. Ian joined BP in 1978 and his posts have included manager of geophysical operations and R&D, and responsibility for BP’s worldwide seismic strategy. During his tenure as SEG’s second vice president in 1992-1993 (the first European to hold this position), Ian contributed to the first SEG and EAEG (now EAGE) Executive Committee workshop. This resulted in much closer relationships and cooperation between the two societies, and subsequent joint sponsorship of many international meetings and conferences. Ian was nominated twice for president-elect, and served on the Technical Standards Committee for more than 20 years.

As the inaugural DISC instructor, Ian had the task of initiating a major international project. The day-long course, given at over 20 locations worldwide to a total attendance of more than 2000, resulted in many new SEG members. The course material and Ian’s push for integration within the geosciences meant that it brought together geophysicists, geologists, and engineers, often for the first time! DISC is now completing a sixth successful year. I am sure that this is due, in no small part, to the excellent start given to it by Ian.

Ian saw the technical advantages and commercial value of 4D in the early 1990s, and campaigned to achieve implementation within BP and the industry at large, helped by his DISC tour. It is probably no coincidence that most seismic programs in the North Sea are now 4D. In the mid-90s, Ian gave a series of dual presentations with Woody Nestvold on the “way ahead” which incorporated Ian’s visions for the future. One was the concept of permanently emplaced detector systems for 4D-monitoring surveys that would result in superior repeatability and allow much improved measurements of reservoir properties and be cost-effective over shorter time spans. It will also allow many other potentially valuable technologies to develop. It is fitting that BP announced in June that the first “life of field” recording system will be installed in Valhall Field offshore Norway to demonstrate the benefits of this new approach. Another of Ian’s visions was to strongly encourage—using presentations, workshops, and publications—technical advances and miniaturization in land seismic work. As this was described as being 10 years away, it will hopefully soon happen.

Ian’s IAGC activities have included not only safety and quality standards but also championing a “universal” contract, benefiting both oil company and contractor. He supports the next generation of geophysicists with invited lectures and courses at universities, and funds an annual scholarship in geophysics via the SEG Foundation.

Overall, Ian is very well known and respected throughout the industry and is a good ambassador for our profession and a mentor to many geophysicists. From a personal standpoint, he has been a close colleague for more than 30 years and we have enjoyed a mutual sounding-board relationship. Now that he is moving into perhaps the first phase of a well-earned retirement (i.e., not working full time), he will have, with his wife Eleanor, more time to spend in the French Alps and to devote to the theater, opera, and music, including playing his own bagpipes.