Code Show version 1.0

Last week we released Code Show version 1.0. In a new experiment, we teamed up with Total and the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers at the EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition in Copenhagen. Our goal was to bring a little of the hackathon to as many conference delegates as possible. We succeeded in reaching a few hundred people over the three days, making a lot of new friends in the process. See the action in this Twitter Moment.

What was on the menu?

The augmented reality sandbox that Simon Virgo and his colleagues brought from the University of Aachen. The sandbox displayed both a geological map generated by the GemPy 3D implicit geological modeling tool, as well as a seismic wavefield animation generated by the Devito modeling and inversion project. Thanks to Yuriy Ivanov (NTNU) and others in his hackathon team for contributing the seismic modeling component.  

Demos from the Subsurface Hackathon. We were fortunate to have lots of hackathon participants make time for the Code Show. Graham Brew presented the uncertainty visualizer his team built; Jesper Dramsch and Lukas Mosser showed off their t-SNE experiments; Florian Smit and Steve Purves demoed their RGB explorations; and Paul Gabriel shared the GiGa Infosystems projects in AR and 3D web visualization. Many thanks to those folks and their teams.

AR and VR demos by the Total team. Dell EMC provided HTC Vive and Meta 2 kits, with Dell Precision workstations, for people to try. They were a lot of fun, provoking several cries of disbelief and causing at least one person to collapse in a heap on the floor.

Python demos by the Agile team. Dell EMC also kindly provided lots more Dell Precision workstations for general use. We hooked up some BBC micro:bit microcontrollers, Microsoft Azure IoT DevKits, and other bits and bobs, and showed anyone who would listen what you can do with a few lines of Python. Thank you to Carlos da Costa (University of Edinburgh) for helping out!

Tech demos by engineers from Intel and INT. Both companies are very active in visualization research and generously spent time showing visitors their technology. 

The code show in full swing. 

The code show in full swing. 

v 2.0 next year... maybe?

The booth experience was new to us. Quite a few people came to find us, so it was nice to have a base, rather than cruising around as we usually do. I'd been hoping to get more people set up with Python on their own machines, but this may be too in-depth for most people in a trade show setting. Most were happy to see some new things and maybe tap out some Python on a keyboard.

Overall, I'd call it a successful experiment. If we do it next year in London, we have a very good idea of how to shape an even more engaging experience. I think most visitors enjoyed themselves this year though; If you were one of them, we'd love to hear from you!

90 years of well logs

Today is the 90th anniversary of the first well log. On 5 September 1927, three men from Schlumberger logged the Diefenbach [sic] well 2905 at Dieffenbach-lès-Wœrth in the Pechelbronn heavy oil field in the Alsace region of France.

The site of the Diefenbach 2905 well. © Google, according to  terms .

The site of the Diefenbach 2905 well. © Google, according to terms.


The geophysical services company Société de Prospection Électrique (Processes Schlumberger), or PROS, had only formed in July 1926 but already had sixteen employees. Headquartered in Paris at 42, rue Saint-Dominique, the company was attempting to turn its resistivity technology to industrial applications, especially mining and petroleum. Having had success with horizontal surface measurements, the Diefenbach well was the first attempt to measure resistivity in a wellbore. PROS went on to become Schlumberger.

The resistivity prospecting system had been designed by the Schlumberger brothers, Conrad (1878–1936, a professor at École des Mines) and Maurice (1884–1953, a mining engineer), over the period from about 1912 until 1923. The task of adapting the technology was given to Henri Doll (1902–1991), Conrad's son-in-law since 1923, and the Alsatian well was to be the first field test of the so-called "electrical coring" method. The client was Deutsche Erdöl Aktiengesellschaft, now DEA of Hamburg, Germany.

As far as I can tell, the well — despite usually being called "the Pechelbronn well" — was located at the site of a monument at the intersection of Route de Wœrth with Rue de Preuschdorf in Dieffenbach-lès-Wœrth, about 3 km west of Merkwiller-Pechelbronn. Henri Doll logged the well with Roger Jost and Charles Scheibli. Using rudimentary equipment, they logged about 145 m of the 488-metre hole, starting at 279 m MD, taking a reading every metre and plotting the log by hand. Yesterday I digitized this log; download it in LAS format here


The story of what the Schlumberger brothers and Henri Doll achieved is fascinating; I recommend reading Don Hill's brief history (2012) — it's free to read at Wiley. The period of invention that followed the Pechelbronn success was inspiring.

If you're looking at well logs today, take a second to thank Conrad, Maurice, and Henri for their remarkable idea.

PS If you're interested in petroleum history, the AOGHS page This Week is worth a look.

The French television programme Midi en France recorded this segment about the Pechelbronn field in 2014. The narration is in French, "The fields of maize gorge on sunshine, the pumps on petroleum...", but there are some nice pictures to look at.

References and bibliography

Clapp, Frederick G (1932). Oil and gas possibilities of France. AAPG Bulletin 16 (11), 1092–1143. Contains a good history of exploration and production from the Oligocene sands in Pechelbronn, up to about 1931 (the field produced up to 1970). AAPG Datapages.

Delacour, Jacques (2003). Une technique de prospection minière et pétrolière née en Pays d'Auge. SABIX 34, September 2003. Available online.

École des Mines page on Conrad Schlumberger at

Hill, DG (2012). Appendix A: Historical Review (Milestone Developments in Petrophysics). In: Buryakovsky, L, Chilingar, GV, Rieke, HH, and Shin, S (2012). Petrophysics: Fundamentals of the Petrophysics of Oil and Gas Reservoirs, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118472750.app1. A nice potted history of well logging, including important dates.

Musée Français du Pétrole website,

Pike, B and Duey, R (2002). Logging history rich with innovation. Hart's E&P Magazine. September 2002. Available online. Interesting article, but beware: there are one or two inaccuracies in this article, and I believe the image of the well log is incorrect.

52 Things... About Geology

Welcome to the new book from Agile Libre! The newest, friendliest, awesomest book about petroleum geoscience. 

The book will be out later in November, pending review of the proof, but you can pre-order it now from at their crazy offer price of only $13.54. When it comes out, the book will hit,, and other online booksellers.

63 weeks to mature

It's truly a privilege to publish these essays. When an author hands over a manuscript, they are trusting the publisher and editors to do justice not just to the words, but to the thoughts inside. And since it's impossible to pay dozens of authors, they did it all for nothing. To recognize their contributions to the community, we're donating $2 from every book sale to the AAPG Foundation. Perhaps the students that benefit from the Foundation will go on to share what they know. 

This book took a little stamina, compared to 52 Things... Geophysics. We started inviting authors on 1 July 2012, and it took 442 days to get all the essays. As before, the first one came almost immediately; this time it was from George Pemberton, maintaining the tradition of amazing people being great champions for these projects. Indeed, Tony Doré — another star contributor — was a big reason the book got finished.

What's inside?

To whet your appetite, here are the first few chapters from the table of contents:

  • Advice for a prospective geologist — Mark Myers, 14th Director of the USGS
  • As easy as 1D, 2D, 3D — Nicholas Holgate, Aruna Mannie, and Chris Jackson
  • Computational geology — Mark Dahl, exploration geologist at ConocoPhillips
  • Coping with uncertainty — Duncan Irving at TeraData
  • Geochemical alchemy — Richard Hardman, exploration legend
  • Geological inversion — Evan Bianco of Agile
  • Get a helicopter not a hammer — Alex Cullum of Statoil

Even this short list samples some of the breadth of topics, and the range of experience of the contributors. Nichlas and Aruna are PhD students of Chris Jackson at Imperial College London, and Richard Hardman is a legend on the UK exploration scene, with over 50 years of experience. Between them, the 42 authors have notched up over 850 career-years — the book is a small window into this epic span of geological thinking.

We're checking the proofs right now. The book should be out in about 2 weeks, just in time for St Barbara's day!

Pre-order now from 
Save more than 25% off the cover price!

It's $13.54 today, but Amazon sets the final price... I don't know how long the offer will last. 

A really good conversation

Today was Day 2 of the Canada GeoConvention. But... all we had the energy for was the famous Unsolved Problems Unsession. So no real highlights today, just a report from the floor of Room 101.

Today was the day. We slept about as well as two 8-year-olds on Christmas Eve, having been up half the night obsessively micro-hacking our meeting design (right). The nervous anticipation was richly rewarded. About 50 of the most creative, inquisitive, daring geoscientists at the GeoConvention came to the Unsession — mostly on purpose. Together, the group surfaced over 100 pressing questions facing the upstream industry, then filtered this list to 4 wide-reaching problems of integration:

  • making the industry more open
  • coping with error and uncertainty
  • improving seismic resolution
  • improving the way our industry is perceived

We owe a massive debt of thanks to our heroic hosts: Greg Bennett, Tannis McCartney, Chris Chalcraft, Adrian Smith, Charlene Radons, Cale White, Jenson Tan, and Tooney Fink. Every one of them far exceeded their brief and brought 100× more clarity and continuity to the conversations than we could have had without them. Seriously awesome people.  

This process of waking our industry up to new ways of collaborating is just beginning. We will, you can be certain, write more about the unsession after we've had a little time to parse and digest what happened.

If you're at the conference, tell us what we missed today!