Nicolae Moldoveanu

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Nicolae Moldoveanu
Nicolae Moldoveanu headshot.jpg
Membership Honorary

SEG Honorary Membership 2014

Nicolae Moldoveanu is a leader in seismic-acquisition technology with significant publications that address random sampling for seismic acquisition; circular geometry for wide-azimuth towed-streamer acquisition; multiple attenuation using buried vertical hydrophone arrays; vertical source array in marine seismic exploration; what is the next after WAZ for acquisition in the Gulf of Mexico; multivessel coil shooting acquisition as an efficient method for subsalt exploration; multivessel simultaneous coil shooting; ultralong-offset data acquisition to complement full-waveform inversion; marine acquisition using wave gliders; attenuation of high-energy marine towed-streamer noise; over/under towed-streamer acquisition; cascaded sweeps-a method to improve vibroseis acquisition efficiency; high-fidelity vibratory seismic in a difficult geologic area; the response of hydrophones and geophones in a transition-zone environment; complex imaging using WAZ data; onboard 3D and 4D subsurface target illumination as a tool to optimize streamer marine acquisition; and repeatability of seismic experiments for 4D seismic in transition-zone surveys.[1]

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership 2014

Contributed by Clément Kostov

Nicolae “Nick” Moldoveanu is awarded SEG Honorary Membership for his contributions and leadership in seismic-acquisition technology. The Honors and Awards Committee cites leadership in seismic acquisition and a few of Moldoveanu’s most significant technical contributions. These references highlight the broad range of his interests and contributions, his drive for innovative solutions, and his talent for communicating his technical vision and influencing acquisition practices.

Take, for instance, circular acquisition geometries and coil shooting techniques. In a radical departure from established practice in marine acquisition, in which vessels move predominantly along straight lines, Moldoveanu saw benefits from changing vessel trajectories from linear to circular and correctly estimated that acquisition and processing technologies could handle such acquisitions. While working on the implementation of the coil shooting concept, he contributed a novel method for noise attenuation.

How did Moldoveanu manage to turn his pioneering insight into a technological success story? Having the privilege of being a colleague and friend of his for many years, I know that the answer is a combination of strong, broad technical background and personal skills such as exceptional enthusiasm, drive to learn, dedication, and hard work.

Moldoveanu’s technical background draws on experiences from a career as a geophysicist, first in Romania and then in Canada and the United States. He obtained an M.Sc. degree in Romania in 1965. For the next 19 years, he worked for the Geological and Geophysical Oil Prospecting Company (IPGG), Bucharest, Romania, acquiring broad experience as field geophysicist, seismic interpreter, and seismic technology analyst and assuming responsibilities of data-processing manager and later technical director of the IPGG seismic computer center.

During those years, Moldoveanu continued to study, obtaining an M.Sc. degree in mathematics and preparing a Ph.D. thesis in geophysics while teaching and publishing. This first phase of his career ended in the mid-1980s when he and his wife, Elena, left Romania during a period of increasing social tensions and uncertainty.

Moldoveanu resumed his geophysics career in Canada and then in the United States, working for Schlumberger’s seismic companies. He started in Calgary as a processing analyst and in seismic software development. After his transfer to Houston in 1992, he became involved with seismic survey design and acquisition, looking for new solutions to seismic-exploration challenges with existing or emerging technologies.

In addition, Moldoveanu continued to follow closely developments of new technologies and research, as a member of the SEG Research Committee, as organizer of SEG summer research workshops, and as active collaborator with research consortia. Combining operational experience with the understanding of new concepts and technologies resulted in significant innovations, for which he received prestigious awards from World Oil in 2008, from Hart's E&P magazine in 2012, and from WesternGeco and Schlumberger in 2005 through 2011. In 2013, he was the SEG Honorary Lecturer for North America, presenting “Evolution of marine acquisition technology after wide azimuth” at 23 locations in four months.

As for Moldoveanu’s professional attitude and personal skills, the best is to quote him from a 2013 interview with SEG. “Geophysics is my passion,” he says. His advice to colleagues is, “Try to be an ‘all-around’ geophysicist. It is a rare specialty these days and one that requires talent, hard work, and perseverance, but it is rewarding. Never stop challenging yourself!”

Considering Moldoveanu’s publications this year, on developments in marine sources technologies and on wave gliders (‘floating nodes’) for collecting seismic data, it is apparent that his goals remain most challenging, with potential strong impact on our industry.

Nicolae Moldoveanu’s contribution and professional attitude make him truly worthy of Honorary Membership in SEG.


  1. SEG Honors and Awards Ceremony in Official Program and Exhibitors Directory, SEG Denver 26-31 October 2014 p.36-49.