CSEG Distinguished Lecture Tour

An Unconventional View of Geoscience

David Gray
2019 CSEG Distinguished Lecturer


The world needs geoscientists. In 2016, the American Geoscience Institute predicted the need for about 10% more geoscientists in 2024 relative to 2014. However, this data was collected prior to the downturn and layoffs in the industry; this likely means an even greater need for geoscientists to do the work that will be required. Resulting jobs will be spread across all industries including scientific services, mining, oil and gas, agriculture, education and government.

In the western world, industries that traditionally employ geoscientists are being criticized for practices such as fracking and CO2 emissions. Some of these issues can be addressed by geoscientists promoting the value of the geoscience they are learning, especially to friends and family. In addition, geoscientists should all think outside the box when presented with opportunities to showcase their work.

In this lecture, David will give examples of his successful use of unconventional geoscience, including protection of the environment, creation of new technologies for prediction of fractures, oil reservoir production, geomechanics and effective use of social media. All these employ knowledge and experience gained from his geoscience education and career.


David is Senior Geophysical Advisor, Global Exploration with Nexen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited. In this role, David supports seismic interpretation for prospects in Guyana and Atlantic Canada as well as 4D monitoring across the portfolio.

David has made significant contributions to: quantitative interpretation, where three AVO equations have his name on them; seismic fracture characterization, where in 1999 he related azimuthal variations in 3D seismic to fractures in the borehole and where he holds a patent; and seismic geomechanics, where in 2009 he showed that all three principal stresses can be estimated from 3D seismic data and where he also holds a patent.

Prior to working at Nexen, David worked at Veritas and CGG for 22 years doing geophysical research. He joined Nexen’s Oil Sands division as a Senior Technical Advisor in 2010 and made a move to the Global Exploration team in 2016.

David holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Ontario, as well as a Masters in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. In 2015, he was the honoree of the 4th annual CSEG Symposium, where he was recognized for his contributions to value in geophysics. He is a member of the SPE, SEG, CSEG, EAGE, and APEGA and has published and presented more than 140 papers.

In his spare time, David likes to spend time with his family, play volleyball, and participate in grassroots motorsports.


Note: schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Date/Time Location Venue
Sept. 20, 2018 Memorial University TBA
Sept. 24, 2018 Acadia University TBA
Sept. 25, 2018 St. Francis Xavier University TBA
Sept. 26, 2018 Geological Survey of Canada, Atlantic TBA
Sept. 27, 2018 Dalhousie University TBA
Oct. 1, 2018 University of New Brunswick TBA
Oct. 18, 2018 Lakehead TBA
Oct. 23, 2018 University of Manitoba TBA
Oct. 25, 2018 Saskatchewan Geological Survey TBA
Oct. 26, 2018 University of Saskatchewan TBA
Nov. 1, 2018 Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre (OCGC) and the Geological Survey TBA
Nov. 2, 2018 McGill University TBA
Nov. 5, 2018 Queens University TBA
Nov. 8, 2018 INRS & Universite de Laval TBA
March-12-19 Laurentian TBA
March-14-19 Waterloo TBA
March-15-19 Western TBA
March-19-19 Toronto TBA