Maurice Gidlow

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Maurice Gidlow
Maurice Gidlow headshot.png
Latest company Soekor (now PetroSA)

George Cameron Smith and Maurice Gidlow are being honored with the Reginald Fessenden Award for their theoretical development and practical implementation of the seismic fluid factor for rock property estimation and detection of hydrocarbon zones. This AVO procedure has withstood more than 15 years of scrutiny and still remains a critical seismic attribute employed routinely by geophysicists.

Biography Citation for the Reginald Fessenden Award

Contributed by Brian Russell

Maurice Gidlow is corecipient of the 2002 Reginald Fessenden Award for his pioneering work in the AVO method. As is often the case when new ideas come to fruition, Maurice had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time with the right colleagues, and also to have the right amount of creativity and energy to create the critical mass necessary for this new idea. In 1984, Maurice had just been hired by Soekor, having received his BSc in physics at the University of Cape Town. (He later received his MSc in geophysics with distinction at the University of the Witwatersrand.) He found himself a partner of George Smith, researching new methods to aid in the discovery of much needed South African hydrocarbon reserves. A survey of the literature convinced George and Maurice that the fledgling field of AVO had promise, but wasn’t quite there. The result of their cooperative efforts was the development of geostack and the fluid factor, which quickly became very successful in contributing to Soekor’s quest to expand their reserves. From that first joint publication with George in Geophysical Prospecting, Maurice went on to author or coauthor a number of landmark papers on this new method. I recall meeting Maurice at the 1992 AVO workshop in Big Sky, Montana, where a paper by Gidlow, Smith, and Vail entitled “Hydrocarbon detection using fluid factor traces” had a huge impact on the conference, convincing many of the participants that this AVO method really did have a future!

In 1994, Maurice moved on from Soekor to Houston where he joined PGS to initiate their multicomponent processing group. This project then took him to Oslo for three years, where he learned the joy of cross-country skiing. After a two-year stint as roving geophysicist in West Africa and the Middle East, the lure of his birthplace brought him back to South Africa and the small seaside town of Fishhoek, near Cape Town. Maurice’s interests have expanded to include P-S AVO analysis, multicomponent processing, and time-lapse seismic.

He holds a patent for “A method and system for combining three-component seismic data.”

Those of us who know Maurice have come to appreciate his abiding love for his chosen profession of geophysics, his quick and probing mind, and his wonderful sense of humor. Along with his colleague George Smith, Maurice is a truly deserving corecipient of the 2002 Reginald Fessenden Award.