Reinaldo Michelena

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Reinaldo Michelena
Reinaldo J. Michelena 2017 headshot.png
Latest company SeisPetro Geosoftware
BSc Physics
MSc Geophysics
PhD Geophysics
BSc university Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela)
MSc university Stanford
PhD university Stanford

Biography 2017 [1]

Reinaldo J. Michelena received a B.S. (1984) in physics from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela) and a Ph.D. (1993) in geophysics from Stanford University. He has more than 30 years of experience in research, development, and application of seismic methods to help reservoir delineation and characterization, from programming and testing of algorithms to integrated interpretation of field data results. He worked 18 years for PDVSA-Intevep, the research and technical services affiliate of PDVSA. He joined iReservoir in 2003 as Director of Geophysical Technologies, and since then he has worked on a variety of problems and geological settings where seismic data analysis results are used to constrain geological and flow simulation models. In 2017, Reinaldo became Reservoir Characterization and Geophysical Advisor of iReservoir and started SeisPetro Geosoftware, a firm dedicated to commercializing software applications developed by iReservoir. He continues his consultancy work on the areas of seismic techniques to constrain matrix and natural fracture models and flow simulation in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. He has collaborated with the Society of Exploration Geophysicists in a variety of roles that include Associate Editor of the journal Geophysics, Chairman of the Board of The Leading Edge, and Chair of the SEG Translations Committee.

SEG Life Membership Award 2021

Reinaldo J. Michelena is awarded Life Membership for his consistent body of meritorious volunteer service to the Society. He has served SEG in many capacities. Most notable has been his work in publications. Michelena served on The Leading Edge Editorial Board from 2008 to 2011 and was chair in 2011. Michelena currently serves on the Translations Committee where he has put in a significant amount of effort. When he served as Translations Committee chair (2016–2018), he led a group of more than 100 volunteers in pursuit of the Spanish translation of Robert Sheriff’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Geophysics, which was recently completed. He was a co-recipient of the 2017 SEG Wiki Champions Award for his efforts on that translation project. Also noteworthy was Michelena’s service from 1994 to 2001 as an associate editor of Geophysics in the topical area of inversion. He has served on many other committees including Publications, Development and Production, and Research. Michelena has co-organized multiple SEG workshops. Besides his volunteer service to the membership, he has been an outstanding explorationist. He has advocated for an integrated approach to applied geophysics with many significant contributions to our science, as evidenced by a long history of well-cited publications. He has been identified as one of the early champions of discipline integration, while always remaining an advocate for and promoter of the value of geophysics to his geology and engineering collaborators.

Biography Citation for the Life Membership Award

by Satinder Chopra

Reinaldo Michelena is an outstanding geophysicist who has contributed generously to the application of geophysics for exploration of hydrocarbons, reservoir characterization, modeling, prospect evaluation, well planning, and flow simulation. He is a worthy recipient of the SEG Life Membership Award.

Reinaldo earned his PhD in geophysics from Stanford University in 1993 with professors Jerry Harris and Jon Claerbout as his advisors. He joined PDVSA-Intevep as a project leader for seismic techniques and reservoir characterization and served there very effectively, applying innovative ideas for integrated interpretation of multicomponent seismic data using structural, lithological, and production data. His work earned him promotions and added responsibilities in terms of firming up long-term research goals and technical services for PDVSA, heading its seismic data processing center, and leading a multidisciplinary team of geologists, geochemists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, reservoir engineers, and geostatisticians for bringing all-around development in the organization. He won accolades such as Outstanding Professional Award from the Venezuelan Society of Geophysicists and Jury of the Biannual Award “Technological Innovation” at PDVSA for three consecutive years.

In 2003, Reinaldo joined Inc. in Denver as director of geophysical technology. His work here saw application of seismic technology for reservoir characterization for numerous fields across different basins around the world, spanning facies probabilities estimation, using inverted elastic properties from conventional and 3D multicomponent seismic data, fracture intensity, orientation, and dispersion (anisotropy) estimation from seismic data, multimineral petrophysical modeling, and much more. Reinaldo discharged this role for 14 years and continues as geophysical advisor at He also functions as founder and managing partner of SeisPetro Geosoftware and Geoconsulting. This company has been engaged in the conceptualization, design, testing, and commercialization applications developed by iReservoir. com and now offers it to the industry.

Early in his career, Reinaldo realized the importance of different disciplines in solving complex problems and tried to bring these disciplines together. However, as he embarked on this road, he soon realized that though the different domain experts recognized the importance of bringing together disparate information, often such efforts would result in putting together the work carried out together under one cover in the form of a report. This was not the “integration” that Reinaldo was striving for, and so he took it on himself to learn more about other disciplines — geology, geologic modeling, petrophysics, and more recently reservoir simulation and geomechanics. Even though such efforts took time, Reinaldo kept convincing his geologist and engineer colleagues to include his seismic interpretation effectively into their scheme of things. Despite many challenges, Reinaldo has demonstrated how integration of disciplines can be carried out fruitfully. Many such efforts are documented in his publications from which others can learn and practice. This singular lifelong resolve is highly creditable and deserves recognition.

Learning, teaching, and helping upcoming geophysicists understand some of the basic principles of geophysics is a passion of Reinaldo’s, and he has been invited to make presentations at different forums. He has conducted short classes for different oil companies and professional societies and has also served as advisor of undergraduate/graduate students of physics/geophysics.

Reinaldo has worked unselfishly in various ways. He has been a member of SEG, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and the Denver Geophysical Society. He has served as a member of the SEG Translations Committee, leading the effort to translate Sheriff’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Geophysics into Spanish, as chair of the TLE Editorial Board, as associate editor of Geophysics, as technical chair for SEG workshops, and as cochair and session organizer as well as a member of several committees in other societies.

It is befitting Reinaldo’s experience, accomplishments, and contributions to geophysics that he receives the SEG Life Membership Award.


  1. (2017). ”Contributors.” GEOPHYSICS, 82(6), Z41-Z46.

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