Awards, AI, and more in America

IMAGE ’23 brings together global geoscience community, Aramco showcases excellence.

Awards, AI, and more in America

Now in its third year of bringing together the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) for joint annual meetings, IMAGE ‘23 has become a powerful combination, hosting one of the largest gatherings of geoscience professionals in the world.  

The International Meeting for Applied Geoscience and Energy (IMAGE ’23) took place in Houston from August 28 to September 1, with an expanded program addressing the interests of geoscientists in a rapidly changing energy landscape. The conference promised something for everyone, and with nearly 200 sessions and more than 1,000 presentations, it did not disappoint.

Record breaking

Aramco’s presence represented a record-breaking year for the company, contributing more than 60 technical papers, poster presentations, and post-conference workshops illustrating the company’s leadership in geosciences with advancements in emerging geology topics such as the application of machine learning and digital transformation.  

Included in strategic panel discussions were Aramco’s Saleh M. Al-Saleh, vice president of Characterization and Field Development Geosciences; Ali H. Habtar, director of Upstream Development Strategy and Reserves; and Aus A. Al Tawil, director of Exploration and Geosciences Excellence. They shared insights on digital geoscience, energy industry diversification strategies, and partnerships with higher education in support of industry innovation, respectively.

Noting progress has been made as we transition to different technologies, Al-Saleh pointed to high power computing and the use of sophisticated reservoir modeling like Aramco’s GeoMind to predict velocity models directly from raw seismic data. “Using AI to reach a revolutionary way of doing business is something we are working on in this transformation,” he said.

Mohammed N. Alaskar, director of U.S. Research and Development, said, “IMAGE ‘23 was a great opportunity for Aramco to showcase its technical leadership in geosciences as well as illustrate our broader diversification into sustainability and energy transition areas.” 

The technical sessions were complemented by eight strategic panels representing an opportunity to connect thought leaders with the broader geoscience community, generating dialogue around topics critical to the future of energy.

In the opening keynote, Jonathan Arthur, executive director of the American Geosciences Institute, emphasized the importance of STEM education, workforce development, data analysis, and public understanding and government policy, to advance the challenges faced by geoscientists.  

Attendees flocked to Aramco’s exhibition booth for daily presentations and demonstrations from Aramco Americas R&D subject matter experts.  

Organizers saw an increase in attendance this year with an estimated 7,000 participants. The two organizations host the event in conjunction with the Society of Sedimentary Geology.

Contributing to the success of this year’s conference by serving on key conference committees were: 

• Aiman M. Bakhorji, director of Geophysical Imaging, Aramco, AAPG Technical Program co-chair
• Mukarram Ahmed, AAPG Technical Program co-vice chair 
• Gretchen M. Gillis, geologist at Aramco Americas, chair for the IMAGE ’23 Oversight Committee 
• Meredith L. Faber, geologist at Aramco Americas, IMAGE ’23 Strategic Panels co-chair.

Middle East Advisory Committee recognized

SEG’s 2022-2023 president Ken Tubman recognized the Middle East Advisory Committee with a Presidential Award for outstanding work as a regional committee and contributions to helping the organization to become global. Serving on the committee from Aramco are Abdulaziz Al-Saad, a chief geophysicist in the Western Seismic Imaging Division, Geophysical Imaging Department, and Musab S. Almodrra, a senior geologist in the Carbon Storage Exploration Division of the Western Area and Strategic Exploration Department.

Aramco trio honored for excellence by SEG 

Three Aramco professionals were honored by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) during the IMAGE ’23 SEG Awards for their outstanding contributions to geophysics and to the society.

The Reginald Fessenden Award was given to Andrey V. Bakulin, a senior geophysical consultant in the Geophysics Technology Division of EXPEC ARC for his technical contributions to the field of exploration geophysics. Bakulin was recognized for advancing interferometry theory and pioneering several industrial applications for imaging and monitoring. 

“Receiving recognition for our pioneering work fills me with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and validation for EXPEC ARC’s hard work and dedication,” said Bakulin. 

The J. Clarence Karcher Award was given to Vladimir Kazei, a geophysicist in the Artificial Intelligence Team, Aramco Americas, Aramco Research Center-Houston for his outstanding ability to contribute to the science and technology of exploration geophysics as a young geophysicist.

He was selected for his substantial contributions to seismic inversion using artificial intelligence and machine learning methods. 

“I am deeply grateful to my colleagues, collaborators, and friends who nominated and supported me in the achievements that led to this big milestone in my career,” said Kazei.

A Special Commendation was awarded to Mahmoud E. Hedefa, a senior geophysical consultant in the Eastern Seismic Imaging Division of the Geophysical Imaging Department, for his meritorious service to the public, scientific community, and to the profession.

Hedefa is recognized for his excellence in teaching and increasing SEG’s global impact. He is known for supporting career development for geophysicists and especially for supporting SEG programs in the Middle East. Hedefa has been described as “a true champion of SEG and the geophysical community.”

“This recognition holds a special place in my heart, serving as a reminder of the hard work, dedication, and passion that goes into every endeavor,” he said. “Here’s to embracing new challenges, celebrating achievements, and collectively shaping a brighter future.”


Caption of the top image: Academy highlight: Q&A with Amin NasseA record-breaking year for Aramco during IMAGE ’23 with more than 60 technical papers, presentations, and post-conference workshops.


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