Seismic Interpreter Job Description

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Sep 23 2022

Seismic interpreters make calculations and predictions based on the sound energy given off from rocks. This article will drill into the general responsibilities of a seismic interpreter, and how you can enter the profession.


What is a seismic interpreter?

Seismic interpreters use sound energy from drilling to build up models of rocks. They create 2D, 3D and 4D models to establish the shape, structure and depth of the rocks below. Those working within the oil and gas industry use the data to determine the amount of oil and gas within rocks, the ease with which these substances can be extracted, and whether there are any hazards that will impede access. Those working outside the industry will use the data to inform research or environmental assessments.

What are the typical responsibilities of a seismic interpreter?

Day-to-day responsibilities of seismic interpreters include: using sound waves to produce geological structures, producing cross-sectional images of the earth’s structure, predicting changes in rock structure, recording and analysing seismic data, writing reports of findings, and advising clients, researchers and other external bodies.

Who employs seismic interpreters?

A number of organisations. If you’re interested in producing oil and gas, you’ll be employed by oil extraction, exploration and production companies. However, if you’re more interested in the research side, there are opportunities within the public sector, educational institutions, research and development organisations. British Geological Service and the National Environment Research council are two major British organisations who regularly employ seismic interpreters.

What skills do I need to be a successful seismic interpreter?

To be a successful seismic interpreter, you’ll need excellent written and communications skills, to report your findings to clients and professional bodies. You’ll also need excellent numerical and analytical skills, to interpret findings successfully. In addition to this, you’ll need an understanding of computer software, a general understanding of geology, and excellent technical skills. 

How do I become a seismic interpreter?

You’ll typically need an undergraduate degree, in a scientific subject like geology, physics, or mathematics. However, to increase your chances of progression, you’ll need a master’s degree in a relevant field.