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Geoscientist: Job description

A geoscientist is involved in the discovery, exploration and development of natural resources such as gas, oil and water.

They interpret geophysical, geochemical and geological data to develop models of the subsurface of the earth, with the aim of discovering commercially viable and exploitable reserves of natural resources, such as oil and gas.

Geoscientists provide the foundation for the exploration and production of natural resources. They are also involved in the production of reserves and may provide specialist advice for engineering projects.

Geoscientists work in a variety of roles within the natural resources sector. Job titles such as geophysicist, geologist, geochemist and sedimentologist are also used for specialist roles within geoscience

Typical work activities

The tasks carried out by geoscientists vary depending on the specific area in which they work. In general, they can include:

  • collecting information in the field, from seismic and well data and other sources;
  • monitoring the acquisition of data to ensure consistent quality;
  • interpreting data to determine subsurface geology and the economic importance of natural resources, using sophisticated technical software;
  • developing geological models of the earth's subsurface to understand the geological structure, rock characteristics and the likely distribution of oil/gas/mineral-bearing strata;
  • interpreting the results in consultation with other earth science professionals;
  • assessing the potential quality of mineral and hydrocarbon resources;
  • collaborating with drilling engineers to determine drilling locations on the basis of the interpretation of the data and models developed;
  • producing and presenting geological maps and reports;
  • performing detailed geological risk analysis of proposed exploration targets;
  • planning and undertaking an exploration drilling programme, after collecting and modelling all available data;
  • planning the location and trajectory of development wells and putting well proposals together in conjunction with the multidisciplinary team;
  • creating new opportunities to access remaining reserves;
  • implementing new technologies in geological modelling and seismic processing;
  • advising engineers and senior management on geological factors affecting exploration.

Geoscientists working in exploration deal with a larger number of sites and a wide spread of data and also use satellite imagery and gravity and magnetic surveys to evaluate a whole basin. In production, geoscientists concentrate on sites that are already operational, making assessments on the basis of well core and well fluid samples.

As oil resources decline, the role of the geoscientist will change from exploration-dominated to production-dominated employment.

Written by AGCAS editors
June 2013

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