The evolving challenges of geophysicists – From amplitude mappers to partners in drilling and water search

Maria Angela Capello from the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Ahmadi, Kuwait, will present the Department of Geological Sciences seminar with a talk entitled, "The evolving challenges of geophysicists – From amplitude mappers to partners in drilling and water search". 

The exploration geophysicist is already a stereotype that needs to be left in the past, giving space to a refreshed professional with new skills and equipped with the language of reservoir engineers, drillers, and ecologists. This is key for sustainability strategies in global energy supply and for enabling the planet’s ecosystem preservation guidelines.

Over the decades, geophysicists have faced an ever-evolving rollercoaster, generally but not always tied to oil prices, that has placed them in high-salary oil-and-gas-sector jobs. The originally indispensable roles of geophysicists as key workforce components in exploration departments of operating companies has now shifted immensely. Earlier, they were tasked with finding important volumes of oil and gas reserves. There were no rivals in supporting corporate expansion strategies for joint ventures or acquisitions other than the knowledgeable geophysicists, able to present the secrets of the subsurface as colorful answers, worthy of approvals. Today however, the exponential growth of unconventional reservoirs and maturation of oilfields worldwide that require enhanced production schemes, in conjunction with more ecologically friendly government policies that impose useful constraints, have pushed a clear shift in the skills and focus needed for geophysicists not only to survive but to thrive in new energy scenarios.

The purpose of this lecture is to analyze how the main milestones and recent developments in the energy market have challenged and continue to challenge geophysicists in industry and in academia. The focus of the lecture is explaining how the new field development strategies of the main actors in oil and gas inevitably will impact the utilization of geophysicists. Several flags will be raised about the increasing need for ensuring availability of industrial and potable water as well as prevention schemes with respect to contamination, flooding, earthquakes, and volcanoes and their impacts on urban areas.
Is academia preparing geophysicists for current and future challenges? Is the energy sector sufficiently engaged in maximizing the use of geophysicists? How aware is society as a whole of the value of geophysicists in urban disaster prevention plans? These topics and more are explored in this lecture.

Maria Angela Capello is an awarded advisor and leader for the oil and gas industry, expert in reservoir management and transformational management and leadership strategies. She has more than 33 years of experience, growing a solid knowledge of NOCs and service companies in the Middle East, United States, and Latin America. She is currently an executive advisor in Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), champions the standardization of reservoir management best practices across the company, and is the champion of the technical training programs advanced by three assets of KOC with Shell. She is also the lead advisor of the KPC Professional Women Network, advancing the professional women in the nine companies of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation holding.

Capello is recognized for implementing innovations in reservoir management, training, and diversity and inclusion. She was the first female supervisor of geophysical field operations in the jungle of Venezuela, in Pdvsa, progressing to be general manager of several oil assets. Later, she was subsurface and operations manager for Halliburton in Latin America and the northern Arabic Gulf. With more than 57 publications, she recently authored the book “Learned in the Trenches – Insights on Leadership and Resilience” (Springer, 2018). She believes that improving an individual, team, or corporation starts with clear strategic goals, communicated in simple and appealing ways.

Maria Angela Capello was Vice president of SEG, is SEG Honorary Lecturer and Lifetime Member, Chair of the SEG Women’s Network Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors for the SEG Advanced Modeling (SEAM) Corporation. In SEG 2018 Annual Meeting, she will receive the SEG “Special Commendation” Award. She also volunteers extensively for other societies, and is a Distinguished Member, Distinguished Lecturer, and international Distinguished Service awardee of the SPE. She is the Chair of the SPE Public Service Award Committee, an Associate Editor for the Journal of Petroleum Technology JPT (Field Development), and is an advisor of SPE “Women in Energy”. She is the founder of the Lean Energy Chapter for the Middle East. In 2018, she won the international “GRIT” PinkPetro Award for The Difference Makers in energy. Capello holds an MS from the Colorado School of Mines.

Tue, 07 Aug 2018 - 13:00

Simpson Lecture Theatre, Department of Geological Sciences, Upper Campus UCT