Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Geophysics and Seismic Interpretation

The Use of Seismic Data for Subsurface Interpretation

Course Code: N085
Instructors:  Rachel Newrick
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
5 days
10 sessions

Next Event

Location: Houston
Date:  18 - 22 Nov. 2024
Start Time: 09:00
Event Code: N085a24C
Fee From: USD $5,990 (exc. Tax)


This course provides a thorough introduction to all aspects of seismic data, from the fundamentals of the seismic method to mapping and the use of seismic attributes. This long-standing foundational seismic course has added value for new hires and those switching to a seismic-based role, as well as for geo-techs and petroleum engineers. The course makes use of “real-world” examples of producing fields and basins around the world.

Business Impact: This course will add value for petrotechnical professionals and support staff by providing a practical knowledge and a working understanding of the techniques and concepts used in the seismic interpretation process.


"Excellent course for a novice seismic interpreter. Good overview of seismic technologies."


Event Code: N085a24C
Duration: 5 days
Instructors: Rachel Newrick
Dates: 18 - 22 Nov. 2024
Start Time: 09:00
Location: Houston
Fee From
USD $5,990 (exc. Tax)
Good Availability
Please login to book.

Duration and Training Method

This is a classroom or virtual classroom with exercise and lecture materials derived from “real-world” examples of producing fields and basins around the world.



Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Explain fundamental aspects of seismic wave propagation, diffractions, and reflection criteria.
  2. Compare 2D and 3D seismic acquisition techniques; evaluate key survey requirements necessary to achieve project objectives.
  3. Assess the importance of key seismic data processing steps including datum and statics corrections, velocity analyses, migration, and depth imaging.
  4. Contrast 2D and 3D seismic data benefits, recognize common imaging pitfalls.
  5. Explain how prospect risk factors can influence project objectives and interpretation workflows.
  6. Demonstrate practical interpretation skills; construct and use synthetic seismograms, perform well-seismic ties, 2D line correlation, horizon and fault identification, seismic picking and basic mapping.
  7. Compare seismic time-to-depth conversion techniques and recognize the advantages and disadvantages of different methods.
  8. Determine factors affecting seismic resolution at the reservoir scale.
  9. Differentiate the various types of seismic attributes available and select appropriate attributes for a given project.
  10. Demonstrate the relationship between mapping exercises on paper and modern workstation practices.
  11. Apply basic stratigraphic seismic interpretation skills including identification of major sequence boundaries, and also 3D stratigraphic slicing to map channel reservoirs.

Seismic data, in particular 3D seismic data, is a mainstay of the petroleum industry. Seismic data are used by geophysicists, geologists and engineers alike to image subsurface structure and stratigraphy, identify hydrocarbons, and thereby generate drilling prospects and effectively drain oil and gas reservoirs. Achieving an understanding of all of the methods and concepts used during the interpretation process can be a daunting task. A partial list of disciplines incorporated into a complete interpretation workflow includes rock physics, signal processing, wireline log analysis, computer visualization, structural geology, stratigraphy and petroleum engineering. Few, if any, new hires have mastered, or perhaps even been exposed to, all of these disciplines during their university education. Other, more experienced, petroleum professionals may have become specialists in one of these or other fields, and lack the “big-picture” view necessary for maximizing the value of a seismic interpretation.

The approximate schedule of content for this course is shown below but may vary according to the pace and experience of the group.


Prospect risk factors influencing interpretation workflows

  • Exercise: prospect analysis and risk assessment

The seismic method

  • Rock properties
  • Wave propagation, reflectivity, impedance
  • Data acquisition
  • Exercises: reflection coefficients, time/depth domains, mapping

Seismic data processing overview

  • Conventional pre-stack processing and CMP gathers
  • Post-stack processing
  • Seismic migration
  • Exercises: datum statics, migration


Calibration methods (well-tie)

  • Velocity surveys
  • Sonic logs
  • Synthetic seismograms
  • Exercise: seismic well tie

Vertical Seismic Profiles

Structural interpretation

  • Structural styles
  • Fault interpretation
  • Exercise: fault plane interpretation
  • Horizon interpretation techniques
  • Horizon attributes
  • Exercise: structure mapping
  • Validation methods
  • Interpretation pitfalls
  • Exercises: compressional tectonics

Attributes for lithology, fluids, and rock mechanics

  • Acoustic impedance and inversion
  • AVO and elastic seismic response
  • Pore pressure effects on velocity
  • Interpretation tools for unconventional reservoirs

 Modelling and depth conversion tools

  • Types of velocity information
  • Depth conversion methods
  • Exercise: velocity model building
  • Workflow: depth conversion using 2-layer model
  • Image ray map migration
  • PreStack depth migration

Validation using 2D modeling, ray tracing and full waveform modeling

Stratigraphic interpretation of seismic data

  • Sequence stratigraphy
  • Seismic facies identification
  • Exercise: seismic stratigraphy
  • Seismic tuning amplitudes and isochron mapping
  • Exercise: mapping reservoirs using stratigraphic slices
  • Spectral decomposition
  • Visualization tools

Geoscientists who are new to the petroleum industry and who require tools and techniques for the practical use and interpretation of seismic data; Geotechnical assistants who are involved in seismic interpretation projects; Petrophysicists, Engineers and Project Managers who would like to learn more about the utilization of seismic data in various project settings.

Rachel Newrick

Rachel has worked for BHP Petroleum in Melbourne, Occidental Petroleum in Houston, Exxon Mobil in Houston, Veritas DGC in Calgary, Nexen Inc in Calgary, Nexen Petroleum UK in London, and Cairn Energy in Edinburgh. While at Cairn Energy, Rachel participated in the frontier exploration of West Greenland before taking on the role of Exploration Manager for the Mediterranean and North Africa. On returning to Canada in 2013, to get back to the great outdoors, Rachel became a Consultant Geophysicist for international exploration companies and RPS instructor for multiple courses.

Rachel is the co-author of the SEG Geophysical Monograph Series #13, Fundamentals of Geophysical Interpretation with Laurence Lines, a contributor to both 52 Things You Should Know About Geophysics and 52 Things You Should Know About Rock Physics and has presented at a variety of conferences and technical luncheons. She was the 2015-2016 President of Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG), 2021- 2022 President of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences. Rachel has also served as the CSEG 2022-2023 Distinguished Lecturer, speaking at 25 locations across Canada, and holds a Geoscientists Canada Fellowship.

While not working or volunteering in the geoscience community, Rachel is travelling, motorcycling, skiing, playing 8-ball or enjoying fine wine with her partner Ian. They are based in Alberta, Canada.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Calgary, Canada – Exploration Seismology
BSc Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand – Applied Geophysics (Honours)
BSc Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand – Geology
APEGA – P. Geoph, P. Geol AAPG – Member
CFES – President (2021 -2022)
CSEG – Member and President (2015 - 2016)
CSPG – Member
EAGE – Member
SEG – Member and Council Member (2018 - 2021)

Courses Taught
N085: The Use of Seismic Data for Subsurface Interpretation
N485: Advanced Seismic Interpretation

CEU: 3.5 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 35 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.