- Oil and Gas Services
- Oil sands
- Petrochemicals and Refining
- Post-secondary degree
About This Career
You’re the math-centric member of geoscientists who study the physics of the earth. In the oil and gas industry, you work hand in hand with Geologists, Geochemists and Engineers to conduct drilling, mining or environmental programs. You study the structure, the composition and processes of the earth to locate, identify and extract oil and gas, minerals and groundwater. A Geologist might focus on geochemistry or the properties of the earth below the surface. Your focus is in calculating things like magnetics, resistivity, gravity and velocity of sound waves.
Geophysicists typically work in exploration and research. They apply their knowledge of earth sciences and expertise in physical measurements of the earth’s properties to enhance geological interpretations. Responsibilities vary with level of expertise, but in general they include planning, acquisition, processing, and interpretation of seismic and other geophysical data.
Geophysicists use many remote sensing methods to study the earth’s structure including gravity, magnetic, electrical and seismic methods. They apply different methods depending on existing data, the type of target they’re searching for, and the terrain which can range from land to the ocean floor.
Geophysicists may specialize in areas such as petroleum exploration and development, environmental, archeological and earthquake seismology, earth physics and geodesy. Within petroleum exploration and development, Geophysicists typically focus on acquisition, processing or interpretation.
When you start in this occupation activities may include:
- Analyzing and interpreting geophysical information from sources such as geophysical survey data, well logs or aerial photos
- Assisting geologists with identifying natural gas, oil or underground water resources and interpreting survey results
- Preparing geophysical maps, cross-sectional diagrams or reports concerning the results of field surveys
- Developing models and applying software for the analysis and interpretation of data
As you advance in this occupation, you may take on additional tasks including:
- Supervising well seismic calibration, time-to-depth conversion, and the geophysical database
- Planning geophysical field studies or surveys to collect data for research or application
- Planning and conducting seismic, electromagnetic, magnetic, gravimetric, radiometric, radar and other remote sensing programs
- Assisting with providing recommendations on the acquisition of lands, exploration and mapping programs and mine development
- A post-secondary degree in geophysics or a related discipline is typically required. A master’s or doctoral degree in geophysics, physics, mathematics or engineering may be preferred by some employers.
- Standard and emergency first aid
- H2S Alive
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
- Geophysicists are eligible for registration with a provincial or territorial association of professional geoscientists following graduation from an accredited educational program and after several years of supervised work experience and, in some provinces, after passing a Professional Practice examination.
- Licensing and registration with a provincial or territorial association of professional geoscientists is mandatory to practice in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
You bring a depth of skills, including a solid command of both geology and mathematics. Because you bring one important piece to the puzzle of what’s going on underground, you work with many other disciplines that provide differing expertise.
- Active listening
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
- Computer use
- Judgment and decision making
- Complex problem solving
- Quality control analysis
- Public administration
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Mining and quarrying