After nearly 40 years of acquiring and processing seismic data in the Gulf of Mexico to better understand its geology, UT Austin’s Institute for Geophysics‘ (UTIG) dataset has become a valuable commodity for oil and drilling companies. In 1972, UTIG began recording seismic information in the Gulf, but stopped after 10 years when Mexico shut down foreign research. In 2014, when Mexico announced it would once again allow foreign gas exploration and drilling in its waters, American companies were in need of the information. With the help of UTIG manager Patricia Ganey-Curry, Andrew Hartwig, a geophysicist who earned his B.S. from the Jackson School of Geosciences in 2009, began to reprocess the data as part of a master’s project at the University of Houston. The information subsequently was purchased by seismic services company ION Geophysical, and has brought more than $4.77 million in royalty payments to UT Austin. The funds will be used for UTIG research grants and to create a fellowship position that promotes research in basin-scale depositional systems. Read more.
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