Rune Tenghamn

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Rune Tenghamn
Rune Tenghamn headshot.jpg
MSc university Chalmers University of Science and Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

SEG Reginald Fessenden Award 2014 [1]

Claes Nicolai Borresen, Rune Tenghamn, and the late Svein Vaage are renowned for their roles in developing dual-sensor cable technology. They perfected the principles of dual-cable data acquisition in their roles as vice presidents and principal research geophysicists at Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS). They hold several patents dealing with the use of towed-pressure sensors and particle-motion sensors. Through their efforts, dual-sensor cable technology has been established as an important advance in marine seismic data acquisition.

Biography Citation for SEG Reginald Fessenden Award 2014

Contributed by Sverre Standenes

For one great idea to come to fruition, it normally takes a large number of ideas to select from. Many people can further develop other people’s ideas, but very few are true innovators with the ability to fuel the idea bank with sufficient input to generate a new paradigm. Rune Tenghamn is one of those rare individuals.

Rune gained an M.Sc. degree in engineering physics from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1981. He started out as a wireline-logging engineer for Schlumberger and Gerhart Industries, working in Brazil, Ecuador, and Egypt from 1981 to 1984. For the next nine years, he worked for ABB in Sweden in various management positions. In the late 1980s, he joined a group formed to expand ABB activities in the offshore market. During his time in ABB, he managed several development projects and became responsible for business development of new products.

It was during this period that I first met Rune. At that time, I was employed by the Norwegian oil company Norsk Hydro, and Rune came to see me to present a new concept for marine vibrator sources. He attracted funding for the project, and in 1993, he left ABB and started his own company, Unaco Systems, developing marine vibrator technology and other related products for the seismic industry.

When Rune was attracting interest for his marine vibrator, he crossed paths with Svein Vaage, who had established his own company, SERES, in the mid-1980s and was renowned for his work on marine seismic sources. Rune and Svein thus had a common interest. It soon turned out that Rune’s innovative mind and Svein’s practical attitude were an unbeatable combination. It did not take very long before Seres and Unaco joined forces, and in 1994, they were acquired by Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS).

In PGS, it soon became evident that Rune’s creative capabilities could generate value far beyond his focus on marine vibrators. In 2000, he moved to Houston to become vice president of marine technology, heading up engineering R&D. It was there that he started to promote the idea of developing a dual-sensor streamer. The idea was not new, and attempts had been made earlier to implement the concept without success. That did not stop Rune.

The dual-sensor development project started in 2001, and the PGS GeoStreamer dual-sensor cable was launched to the industry at the EAGE conference in London in 2007. The idea and early development work by Rune and his colleagues Svein Vaage and Claes Borresen had been commercialized successfully, taking the entire industry by surprise and then earning its admiration. Development of marine seismic technology since its inception in the 1960s typically can be characterized as incremental. The GeoStreamer, however, represented a rare technology leap that was the start of what can be called the broadband era in the seismic industry.

In 2007, Rune was appointed PGS vice president, innovation and business development. His main task is finding game changers in marine acquisition technology that can play a key role in forming the future of the seismic industry. During his years in PGS, he has created business platforms for many new technologies. Among the more notable are his contributions to fiber-optics technology and towed electromagnetics, both of which have entered the commercial stage. Now his marine vibrator technology is being commercialized through an industry-sponsored consortium of major oil companies. His more than 40 patents in various fields speak clearly to his unique capability to innovate and constantly chase new ideas.

The pioneering work behind the development of the dual-sensor GeoStreamer technology has impacted the entire seismic industry and stands out as one of the few game changers in seismic technology. This significant achievement makes Rune and his colleagues Svein and Claes very worthy recipients of the Reginald Fessenden Award.


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