SEISMIC ECONOMICS: Visualization technology combined with real-time modeling

ichael Zeitlin, Chairman & CEO of Magic Earth, an innovative seismic visualization house, was interviewed by Victor Schmidt, Offshore's Exploration Editor during the EAGE Conference in Amsterdam in June.

Michael Zeitlin, Chairman & CEO of Magic Earth, an innovative seismic visualization house, was interviewed by Victor Schmidt, Offshore's Exploration Editor during the EAGE Conference in Amsterdam in June.

Offshore: What is the future of Magic Earth since the announcement of the purchase by Halliburton?

Zeitlin: Magic Earth has had a fantastic start by any measure; we've only been in business a year and a half. The acquisition by Halliburton fleshes out our business plan because it gets our marketing and distribution channels put in place globally, instantly.

The advantage for Halliburton is that it allows them to open their intellectual toolbox to us, by contract of course. So, we can look at the jewels they have, and maybe develop some things they haven't been able to commercialize. We are going to be able to take a look at some of that and move forward

Right now, the two companies are at stand-alone status until formal approval. Once the approval process is completed, and the purchase closed, we can move forward. We are developing a transition plan that will capture the values and synergies right away. Final approval is expected soon.

Offshore: Do you have any personal goals?

Zeitlin: My goal is to take the Magic Earth technology suite and rapidly deploy it throughout our (joint) customer base around the world. We are going to be in a very good position to do that much more quickly than we ever would have any other way. The name of the game is speed, Magic Earth is known for that.

Offshore: How are you handling client services?

Zeitlin: We focus on training clients well. We develop relationships with our students and through this we develop clients for life through a professor-student type relationship.

Offshore: What is your present focus?

Zeitlin: There are only three drivers that our upstream industry is concerned about. Cycle time is one of them. If you can save clients a significant amount of time, that brings enormous value. Second is accuracy. Doing things more accurately reduces risk. Lining up improved cycle time with reduced risk, compounds the win. Third is cost. If you can apply technology at a cost that is only incremental you get real value. We focus on those three drivers.

Offshore: Where are you going with the technology?

Zeitlin: We see this technology moving from the geophysical interpretive domain into the geological domain, where the wells actually penetrate the rocks. So conversion of seismic from time to depth and doing that accurately is a definite direction. I see geo-modeling as part of the seismic system, because now digitization allows you to work with geo-models as 3D objects. That is a clear direction.

Offshore: How will you identify the geobodies?

Zeitlin: The eye is so much faster than the computer. Having the computer follow the interpreter is the best approach. The interpreter can move much faster, if he doesn't have to filter out the computer's bad choices. By tagging things and having the computer find similar objects elsewhere in the data, interpretation speed is greatly improved. In geo-modeling, the eye really knows how these complicated patterns go together. Computers are not yet fast enough to do this pattern recognition.

Offshore: How does this translate into the drilling realm?

Zeitlin: We want to get to the point of real-time updating of models, while a well is going down, so the computer model shifts and adjusts as real-world data flows. That is the next part we are working on. In our partnership with Halliburton a lot of interesting things will develop.

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