Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Geophysics and Seismic Interpretation

Practical Seismic Interpretation

Course Code: N578
Instructors:  Rebecca Bell
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
3 days
5 sessions


This course will provide participants with a complete introduction to modern seismic reflection data analysis with practical application to the conventional, unconventional, and energy transition sectors. We will explore fundamental seismic reflection principles, considerations in seismic data acquisition, and the key steps involved in seismic data processing. This knowledge is essential to utilise modern seismic attribute methods and avoid common pitfalls in seismic interpretation. We will cover both conventional seismic-stratigraphic interpretation as well as quantitative interpretation methods. We will also consider the future of seismic interpretation, including the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Business impact: This course will give participants knowledge and confidence to conduct pragmatic seismic interpretations and provide them with a toolkit to produce high-quality, geologically viable interpretations of the subsurface. These skills are vital for prospect identification, site-survey analysis pre-drilling, and geological model development.

Duration and Training Method

This is a classroom or virtual classroom course comprising a mixture of lectures, discussion, case studies, and practical exercises.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Understand the basic physics involved in seismic imaging and the limitations.
  2. Develop the skills and confidence to conduct pragmatic seismic-stratigraphic interpretations to produce geologically viable models.
  3. Appreciate the wide variety of seismic attributes available and when and where to apply them.
  4. Develop an awareness of the key deliverables of the modern seismic data interpreter.
  • Seismic reflection principals: wave propagation, reflection coefficients, seismic resolution
  • Field equipment and survey design: land and marine surveys, 2D and 3D
  • Seismic data processing: CMP gathers, NMO corrections and stacking, static corrections, filtering, deconvolution, semblance analysis, pre and post stack migration
  • Introduction to seismic interpretation: synthetic seismic traces and seismic-well ties, strategies for producing geologically viable interpretations
  • Seismic stratigraphy and structural analysis: reflection terminations, seismic facies analysis, fault interpretation
  • 3D Seismic data: benefits of 3D vs 2D seismic data, mapping strategies for 2D and 3D data
  • Seismic attribute analysis: post-stack and pre-stack seismic attributes and multi-attributes
  • Time is not depth: methods to convert seismic reflection data from two-way travel time to depth
  • The key deliverables of the modern seismic data interpreter
  • The future of seismic interpretation: the application of machine learning in seismic interpretation

This course is aimed at geoscientists who are new to the petroleum industry and who require tools and techniques for the practical interpretation of seismic data. Petrophysicists, engineers, and managers who would like to learn more about seismic interpretation would also benefit from attending this course.

Rebecca Bell

Rebecca Bell has 18 years’ experience in the interpretation of seismic reflection data. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Earth Science and Engineering Department, Imperial College London. She has worked on a wide range of academic and industry 2D and 3D seismic datasets working on scientific problems. She also has experience in collection of field data optimal for full-waveform inversion techniques and is interested in the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to aid seismic interpretation. Rebecca taught seismic reflection interpretation on the highly successful MSc Petroleum Geoscience program at Imperial College and teaches courses to undergraduates in both seismic interpretation and practical seismic data processing. Rebecca was named her departments ‘Lecturer of the year’ in 2020 and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Rebecca received a 1st class MSci degree from the University of Oxford in 2004. She conducted her PhD at the National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton in Marine geophysics and geology and graduated in 2008. Between 2008 -2010 she worked as an Active Source Seismologist at GNS Science, Wellington, New Zealand. In 2010 -2012 she was employed as a Statoil Post-doctoral Research Associate at Imperial College London with a focus on the northern North Sea. In 2012 she became a Research Fellow and was appointed a lecturer at Imperial College in 2015.  

Rebecca’s current research interests are focused on understanding continental rifting and subduction processes, with applications for seismic hazard analysis and the energy transition. Rebecca has led one of largest seismic data acquisition projects to study a subduction megathrust fault (NZ3D-FWI) and has participated in scientific drilling expeditions onboard the R/V Joides Resolution with the International Ocean Discovery Program.  

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Southampton – Marine geology and geophysics
MSci University of Oxford – Earth Science (1st class)
American Geophysical Union
European Geophysical Union

Courses Taught
N578: Practical Seismic Interpretation 

CEU: 2.1 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 21 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.