Dave Monk receives lifetime achievement award from GSH-SEG


Employee Newsletter

This April, at the 2017 Spring Symposium of the Geophysical Society of Houston and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (GSH-SEG), Apache’s very own distinguished advisor and director of Global Geophysics, Dave Monk, was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his contributions in the field of seismic data acquisition. Monk was selected as an honoree of this year’s symposium – where the theme was “Geophysical Acquisition: Advanced Technologies Revealing Challenging Targets”. Monk shared the honor with Malcolm Lansley, the now-retired vice president of Geophysics at Sercel, Inc. The GSH-SEG honors no more than two individuals annually who have spent their career advancing the geophysics discipline.

“It was a great honor to be recognized by the GSH and SEG at this year’s symposium,” said Monk. “I’ve been lucky enough to have a career that’s allowed me to advance the science of geophysics, and involvement and recognition by GSH and SEG have played a big part in that.”

Dave Monk Dave Monk receives his lifetime achievement award (a slice of agate) from Lisa Buckner, first vice president of the Geophysical Society of Houston.

Tim Sullivan, executive vice president of Operations Support said, “Dave was very deserving of the lifetime achievement award and as an honoree in field of seismic acquisition. He has made extensive technical contributions to the industry and to the seismic and geophysical community as a whole.”

Monk graduated from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom in 1979 with a doctorate in physics. After spending time working in a variety of geophysical capacities in several countries, including Nigeria, the United Kingdom, the United States and Norway, he joined Apache in 2000 as a senior technical advisor.

In his early years at Apache, Monk pioneered new techniques that enabled enhanced visualization of subsurface conditions in Egypt, a region that, at the time, was notorious for its challenges with regards to seismic data acquisition. Later on, he made significant contributions to the marine seismic space by patenting novel methods for ocean bottom cable data processing, noise attenuation, deghosting of marine streamer data, multiple removal, and subsurface sampling.

In recent years, as market dynamics changed amid the low-price environment, Monk has focused his efforts on using technology and cutting-edge techniques to drive down the cost of seismic data acquisition. “Right now, at Apache, we are pioneering a number of advanced techniques related to simultaneous source acquisition, acoustic recording using fiber optics, and high channel count systems,” he said. “Two or three years ago, industry professionals would have thought we were crazy to do some of the things we’re doing – but it’s worked out well, and we’ve really been able to lower the cost of acquiring high-quality seismic data at a time when capital allocation is critical.”

Other highlights of Monk’s career include receiving eight patents and authoring more than I00 technical papers and articles. He received “Best Paper” awards from the SEG in 1992 and 2005, and the Canadian SEG in 2002. He was also a recipient of the European Association of Exploration Geophysics’ Hagedoorn Award in 1994 and was given honorary membership to the GSH in 2008. He received a life membership to the SEG in 2009 and served as the society’s president in 2012 and 2013.

As an honoree of this year’s GSH-SEG Spring symposium, Monk gave a speech focusing on the future of seismic data acquisition using technologies that have yet to be developed or commercially implemented. An excerpt taken from his speech read:

“The trend for increasing numbers of sources and receivers has the potential to change the possible geometries for seismic acquisition in a way that will overcome all our historic problems with sampling and aliasing. Record length will become a parameter of the past, as we move to continuous recording irrespective of the interval between shot activations. The future of acquisition will see enormous changes in deployment of equipment as the industry moves towards autonomous nodes, drones and motes. In order to manage the large number of measurements that will be made, automation will feature prominently in the future of seismic acquisition, and robotics has already started to feature in many acquisition systems.”

Following his speech, Lisa Buckner, first vice president of the GSH, presented Monk with his lifetime achievement award – a cut and polished agate stone. Among the first to congratulate him for the achievement were his colleagues at Apache. “Working closely with Dave over the past seven years at Apache has been one of the highlights of my career,” said Tad Smith, director of E&P Technology – Geoscience. “I deeply respect and appreciate his contributions to Apache, the geophysical industry, the SEG, and the GSH.“

Apache CEO and President John Christmann said, “I congratulate Dave on this prestigious recognition. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor. On behalf of Apache, we thank you for your hard work and contributions, not only to the company but to the broader geophysics community around the globe.”

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