Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old entries from my weblog on geophysics and the energy industry.


Houston Chronicle:Energy firms are increasing drilling work -- High oil, gas prices bring rise in exploration budgets.

"There will be a significant increase in E&P spending this year and into 2000," Burk said. "There is a lag of 12 to 18 months that follows a rise in prices; companies cannot just turn spending on and off like a faucet." [Victor Burk is a managing muckity-muck for Arthur Andersen.]


Not-so-deep thoughts on seismic imaging and data processing:

In wave propagation theory, the seismic wavefield is usually described by two complimentary representations: wavefront snapshots and raypaths. Neither description matches the form in which the wavefield is observed during a seismic experiment. Both the snapshot and the raypath representations assume knowledge of the complete history of the wavefield in the subsurface, as well as knowledge of the subsurface structures through which the wavefield passed.

In seismic exploration, the passage of a wavefield with all its component wavefronts is detected as seismograms at a limited number of discrete locations, usually at the earth's surface. During seismic data processing, the seismograms that compose a reflection survey are used to infer the nature of the subsurface. Because a seismogram is a transient signal, it is possible to study segments, or time windows, of a seismic trace nearly independently of the whole trace. For an impulsive source, individual wavelets in the recorded signal can be interpreted as events corresponding to particular reflection or refraction travel paths. The travel paths cannot be determined uniquely from a single shot record, but can be greatly constrained by analysis of a large volume of redundant data acquired by thousands of shots. (Redundant data also helps compensate for the low signal-to-noise quality typical of seismic data, of course.)

O.k., so I'm writing this encyclopedia article on exploration seismology, see, and it's basically been this big brain-dump, but I realized that some of this stuff was just over-kill and it was really dragging things down. But while I'm writing I tend to get a little emotionally attached to anything I commit to a word processor, and I have trouble throwing away my own stuff. So I started thinking, "You know, I haven't done a journal update in a few days ..."


WSJ:BP Amoco will raise its annual capital spending 13% through 2003, a move expected to prompt increased exploration throughout the oil industry.

Go go go go go!


In a free market economy, it's hard to prove price gouging of a commodity item. (WSJ subscription required.) In a nutshell, natural market forces set the price of gasoline. Duh.

Of course, severe gasoline shortages really would be disruptive to the economy, and could even constitute a threat to our national security. If we as a country were faced with a problem of that magnitude, we would need think about reining in this free market thing, and adopting an energy policy that injected a little regulation into the oil and gas industry.

Such an energy policy would need to simultaneously guarantee a stable supply and an adequate profit margin for gasoline. Naturally, that would be long-term expensive. And I'm probably talking about more than two dollars a gallon expensive.

But relax, it's not going to happen.

Walter Kessinger

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