Corporate Profiles of Yesteryear
It would take volumes to describe the individuals and corporations that have made significant contributions, both through technical innovation and business acumen, to the development of exploration geophysics, even in just the past decade. Fortunately, details of the evolutionary history of exploration geophysics, both within the contractors and major oil companies, have been compiled to a considerable degree (although in a somewhat disjointed manner) in the two volume tome, The History of Geophysical Prospecting (Sweet1, 1978). Written by one of the early doodlebuggers and subsidized in part by the SEG, George Elliott Sweet’s 385-page treatise specializes in relating geophysical activities of the major oil companies. However, less than ten percent of the book relates to activities of the geophysical service companies, data processors, equipment manufacturers, and mineral explorationists where much of today’s effort takes place.
The greatest gap in coverage pertains to the large full-service contractors. Through good times and bad, they, along with the research groups of the major oil companies, have led the industry through successive eras of rapidly improving technology (see Table 11.1). They have risked tens of millions of dollars in pioneering efficient, economical, global marine surveying techniques, and in shooting tens of thousands of kilometers of speculative surveys in hopes of selling the data to clients at bargain rates. They have made land crews and data-processing centers available worldwide, frequently at great economic risk, under the most difficult operating conditions or in very unstable political environs. They have continuously sought more efficient and