EDITOR'S NOTE: The author is uniquely qualified to comment on his subject. He has recently retired from a major oil company and has had an opportunity to view the contractor-client relationship from both sides of the fence.
It is my hope that his editorial will stimulate comment from interested readers on all sides of this issue.
Exploration geophysics is high technology business. A seismic crew or data processing center with state-of-the-art equipment, processes, and techniques of a few years ago would have difficulty finding work today (even though they might be adequate to the problems). Technological obsolescence of equipment involves large depreciation costs. A rapid, steady flow of new ideas support the high technology. These ideas are created by both contractor and client companies. Generating these ideas involves large costs but the costs are not always shared by the benefactors. The interchange of ideas throughout exploration geophysics is here called technology transfer and it involves economic and ethical considerations. Examination of these is the subject of this editorial.