A year in review: 2021, commentary by CEO, Bill Shea

Commentary by Bill Shea, CEO, Sharp Reflections.

The holidays are a good time to reflect, take stock, and look ahead to the challenges of a new year. 2021 began with the promise of COVID vaccines, and ends with talk of virus mutations, new travel restrictions, and a return to lockdowns.

In these stormy conditions, I am proud of the entire team at Sharp Reflections. Our staff all found new ways to support our customers and continue to prime what we refer to as our ‘innovation pump’. Your dedication inspires me.


Return to Live events
After a year of home office, our team was thrilled to again meet customers face-to-face as live events returned. We attended four trade shows (URTeC, IMAGE, EAGE and PETEX), reconnected with old friends and colleagues, and finally got out from behind the Zoom screen.


Expanded Virtual Training
We have always taken a flexible approach to our events and the training we provide to customers. This year we ramped up our online training program and took full advantage of cloud computing to deliver hands-on training from home. Our team delivered everything from “An Introduction to PreStack Pro” to advanced courses in quantitative amplitude interpretation, pre-stack inversion, and data processing. Each of the sessions were widely attended, and we look forward to expanding the program next year.


New 4D Capabilities
In March we released PreStack Pro 6.2, which included a rich suite of tools to automate the analysis of 4D time-lapse seismic surveys. These tools, developed in close cooperation with Equinor, exploit our software’s ability to organize and group large numbers of seismic traces in collections of “pseudo gathers”. Users can now view on-the-fly differences between any vintage directly in the viewers.

The broader market response to these innovations has been fantastic. We are in a prime position to help operators take advantage of the opportunities that fast, frequent 4D seismic presents. In late October we formally launched a new customer-funded Foundation Project, which aims to develop a more complete toolkit for quantitative interpretation of time-lapse effects. Contractual details are nearly complete, and we will announce full details and a list of sponsors early next year. Jorg Herwanger will manage this strategic project.

We are also pleased to formalize an R&D partnership with the Edinburgh Time-Lapse Project at Heriot-Watt University. We will also renew our collaboration with the Norwegian Computing Center, to implement new 4D inversion capabilities in PCube+.


New hires
We strengthened our team in 2021, with several senior hires. Mark Verschuren came on board as PreStack Pro product manager. We expect him to play a strategic, hands-on role in the technological innovation and development of our products. Jorg Herwanger and Andy Bottrill joined our team from MP Geomechanics, and Daniel Fichtner joined our development team in Germany.


The Market Outlook
Contraction of oil and gas exploration is expected to lead to an even greater focus on finding and exploiting resources close to existing infrastructure. As frontier exploration activity is reduced, getting the most out of existing fields will be increasingly important. Our recent efforts to develop efficient and automated 4D methods is a direct response to these market trends.

In these settings, our quality-focused approach to amplitude interpretation has clear advantages. We improve amplitude integrity by modelling while processing the pre-stack gathers. We expect that adoption of these calibrated pre-stack data analysis techniques will continue to grow as industry access to pre-stack gathers continues to expand.


The oil and gas industry is used to the highs and lows of economic cycles, and experts are increasingly expecting the latest price rises to last. I’m feeling increasingly bullish, and look forward to what the new year will bring.

Until then, I would like to personally thank all those we have worked with this year. I wish you all a happy and enjoyable festive period.


Published on December 15, 2021