Petroleum Geophysics Essentials

The five-week Virtual Mentored Learning program gives course participants an overview of the essential elements of petroleum geophysics. Guided by an experienced industry specialist, participants will cover a wide range of technical topics that form the basis for the application of geophysics in petroleum exploration and appraisal including geophysical data acquisition, seismic data processing and imaging, interpretation of seismic data, and other specialized seismic methods. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will have gained Awareness Level Competencies in many essentials of Petroleum Geophysics.

Additional information

Program Type



Full Program (Individual), Full Program (Team)


January 24 to February 25, 2022, April 25 to May 27, 2022



Program Overview

The Petroleum Geophysics Essentials program emphasizes the applications of geophysics in petroleum exploration, appraisal, and field development planning activities. It includes the essential concepts on seismic theory, acquisition and processing operations, seismic data interpretation, and application of specialized seismic methods for petroleum exploration.

Target Audience

This program is ideal for oil and gas industry professionals looking to gain an understanding of the fundamentals and the essential role that geophysics plays in the exploration, appraisal, resource assessment and development of hydrocarbons. It is also ideal for managers looking to enhance their understanding of the roles and responsibilities of geophysicists in their organization. Any petroleum industry professional looking to improve geophysics related competencies should attend this program.


Weekly commitment of 3 hours self-study; 1 hour online virtual mentored session; and about 1 hour to complete an engaging assignment with a virtual team. Duration: Kick-off meeting with mentor followed by five consecutive weeks of learning.

Learning Formats

e-Learning self-study, practical assignments, virtual mentored learning sessions, including group discussions with participants.

  • The e-Learning self-study component uses IHRDCs award-winning IPIMS courses and relevant videos of the most current technologies.
  • Practical assignments will be issued for the participants to complete in parallel with the e-Learning self-studies prior to the associated mentor sessions.
  • Virtual mentored sessions composed of formal lectures and group discussions will take place on a weekly basis.
  • All course materials will be available on the dedicated IHRDC learning portal.

Program Content

Week One

Geophysics Overview

In the first week, we discuss the physical properties of the earth that are the basis of geophysics and how geophysics is applied in the Petroleum Industry along with the role of the petroleum geophysicist. We include a brief history and key technology milestones in geophysics.

  • Introduction to Geophysics
  • Geophysics in the Petroleum Industry
  • What Geophysicists Do
  • Geophysical Technologies

The practical assignment will on your organizations G&G department and the job titles as well as educational backgrounds of geophysicists.

Week Two

Geophysical Data Acquisition

The second week covers an overview of geophysical data gathering with a focus on seismic acquisition methods including land, marine, and transition zone surveys. We will look at the instrumentation required to acquire seismic data in various physical environments. We will discuss the operational issues associated with land and marine methods. Finally, there will be a brief review of environmental issues in seismic operations.

  • Land Seismic
  • Marine Seismic
  • Transition Zone Seismic
  • Environmental Issues

The practical assignment is to identify a seismic survey that is actively being used for an exploration or development project and provide its associated acquisition parameters.

Week Three

Seismic Data Processing and Imaging

This week you will learn the key role of the complex technologies used in processing seismic shot records from the field into a 3D volume that is used to generate prospects, plan wells, identify shallow hazards and will ultimately lead to resources and reserves estimate along with key components of economic analysis. The discussion begins with the basic seismic wavelet and the earth response. The identification of coherent and random noise contamination and its removal will be reviewed. We will cover velocity analysis tools and the stacking process, and the migration of the seismic data into the proper locational geometry.

  • The Seismic Signature and the Earth Response
  • Noise Attenuation
  • Multiple Removal
  • Velocities
  • Migration

This week’s practical assignment focuses on the number of 3D surveys owned or licensed by your company. How often does your company re-process their 3D data? What vendors are in the seismic processing business and what is the range of costs for re-processing?.

Week Four

Seismic Data Interpretation

In week four, you will learn the techniques used in the interpretation of 3D seismic data volumes. Basic techniques for interpreting faults and horizons as well as the concepts of seismic stratigraphy will be reviewed. Synthetic seismograms will be introduced. Modern tools and techniques used by seismic interpreters will be discussed including seismic attribute analysis. Quantitative seismic processing and analysis will be introduced. Finally, all of the interpretation tools and techniques will be discussed in relation to best practices, best uses for each method and the common pitfalls of each technique.

  • Structural, Stratigraphic and Lithological Interpretation
  • Automation Tools and Analytics
  • Pitfalls

As part of the weekly practical assignment, we ask you to find out the seismic interpretation software used by your company. Do you use outside consultants for seismic interpretation?.

Week Five

Additional Seismic Techniques

In this final week, we will cover the theory and application of specialized seismic methods including 4D time lapse and borehole seismic surveys. We will also review quantitative interpretation methods.

  • 4D Time Lapse Surveys
  • Borehole Geophysical Surveying
  • Multi-azimuth 3D Surveys
  • Multi-component 3D Surveys
  • Quantitative Interpretation Methods

The final practical assignment will be on actual Gravity or Magnetic Data Surveys acquired over your working prospects? When was the data obtained: before or after the award of acreage? Does your company own any Controlled Source Electromagnetic (CSEM) data?