Garrett Leahy, Technical Product Manager, Roxar (Page 1 of 3) 4 Dec 2013


Leahy is the Technical Product Manager at Roxar with considerable experience across the oil and gas industry.

Garrett, in your early life you were interested in physics, could you tell us what you decided to study and how that helped you map out your career? 

Yes that's right, I’ve always been interested in the earth and the physics surrounding it – an interest which led me to undertake a PhD in Geophysics. As part of my doctorate, I focused on the structure and dynamics of the earth’s mantle – the layer between the crust and the outer core of the earth. Following my PhD, I also worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the US’s largest independent oceanographic research institution, and as a Senior Research Geophysicist at ExxonMobil.

During and after my PhD, I was involved in a number of R&D projects covering everything from seismic acquisition and processing through to inversion and interpretation. At every stage of my career to date, I’ve looked for geophysical and geological challenges that conventional technologies and mind-sets are unable to handle and where new innovative techniques and approaches are required. This is reflected in the work we are doing at Roxar today – especially in the area of interpretation-driven reservoir modelling.

What attracted you into the industry?
Having spent my first few years in the academic world, I was ready to move to a more commercial environment where one can see real business value from innovation almost immediately as opposed to academic research that can take years to mature. It was also crucial to me that I joined companies that were prepared to entertain new ideas and approaches and push the technology boundaries in G&G so to speak.

What do you believe separates high-performing companies from their less successful counterparts?
For me, whether it be operators/end users or solutions providers, it’s their ability to manage risk while at the same time embrace innovation. This requires a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude and a determination to obtain the best possible answers and information to guide decision-making rather than settling for second best and the more convenient, easier option.

Take reservoir modelling, for example. With deeper and more challenging geological settings, there’s a real temptation to over-simplify reservoir models and make compromises over the data. To do this, however, would be to ‘short-change’ operators and prevent them from accessing the vital information they require for well planning and reservoir management.

Impact of Technology

What is the most significant technological advancement(s) you have seen/experienced in your career to date?
Geophysics is a relatively young field with less than 100 years of commercial applications to point to. In this short time, however, we have seen many changes and improvements. For me, however, the biggest geophysics milestone has been the development of commercial electromagnetic methods. These methods have introduced completely new data to the subsurface analysis workflow and revolutionised our understanding of the subsurface.