The Futurist - Data Storage in the Oil Industry

 Has anyone ever seen a “futurist” presentation, or an advertisement to go and see one?  Futurists talk about what things will be like in the future and how cool it will be to be alive when you can fly your car to work.

I attended a Futurist presentation about 3 years ago and they told me that soon data measured in Terabytes would be stored on the back of an amoeba in some kind of holographic storage medium and that we could use our amoeba USB thumb drive to carry our life around in a compact form.  

I was like – “yeah – whatever”… but then yesterday I was walking through Perth and saw an amoeba walking down the street with a smirk on his face and a tiny backpack filled with data.  My first thought, “smug little amoeba”, second thought – “how did that futurist know”, and lastly, “I need to stop drinking”.

Today I got up and thought, I can predict the future with almost 1000% certainty, I am going to be a futurist. (and at that very moment – I had made my first accurate prediction; I was chuffed).  After all I am a little old to do Planking and my wife tells me it’s dangerous – being a futurist still makes me sounds cool to my kids.

What follows are my predictions for data storage and data formats for the oil and gas and mining.  Predictions make you a futurist – even if they are incorrect.

Seismic Surveys

 Current Issue - Seismic data will continue to be gathered in massive quantities and it will need something to store it that is easy to access, has longevity and is cheap.

Prediction – Magnetic tape has a long life ahead of it.  You will see a magnetic tape being developed for at least another 20 years.  And it will have 3 letters emblazoned on the side of it – IBM.

 Current Issue – Magnetic tape is a real pain in the butt to use.

Prediction – Magnetic tape will continue to be the storage medium of choice for long term archive. Go get one of those doughnut ring thingy’s to sit on.

 Well Logging

Current Issue – The formats used to record well logs are far too complex and completely unnecessary.

Prediction – Geophysicists and Geologists will continue to “enhance” the data formats used by industry for logging, and will skip this part of my article.  Flip the doughnut ring over and use the other side.

Potential Field Data - Magnetics

Current Issue - I don’t have a very solid background in Magnetics, other than that if I wear my Harley Davidson Belt Buckle through airport security something beeps.  But I have been told that Magnetics are very useful and colourful to look at – especially in 3D.   

Prediction -  I will continue to not have a very solid background in Magnetics, AND, airport security are going to want me to put my amoeba thumb drive into a tray with my belt when I pass though.  Oh– AND someone will realize that my prediction above was not a prediction at all, just a statement of fact.

Seismic Navigation Data

Current Issue – Navigation and positional data – not just for Seismic, but other data types –is considered a separate type of data even though it is useless without the seismic, and the seismic is useless without the navigation.

Prediction (actually more of a dream really) – Seismic acquisition and processingcontractorswill start to populate the seismic recording formats they create correctly, and include navigation in the data so that no one ever has to merge navigation with seismic ever again. 


I think the truth of the matter is that as we try and create faster and better machines and formats, we always also create a past that has no place in the present.  This then creates disdain for the past, and as achievable as it may be, a hunger for that future state that can never be achieved.

Being a futurist is easy. You look at the problems of today, decide whether a commercial solution is viable and Bammm… can be pretty much guaranteed of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.  You don’t even need to come up with THE solution – just the fact that someone, somewhere and sometime will.  After all, the “future” is a very long piece of string.


Guy Holmes

Guy is a graduate of Geophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney, and has completed a Masters of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Deakin University in Melbourne. 

Guy is a successful leader with a proven track record in the growth of start up and turn around businesses in the IT, medical and information management sectors.

Guy has extensive experience in the oil and gas, minerals, medical, and information management industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific and is a highly regarded entrepreneur.

Guy’s experience includes:

• Sourcing Venture Capital
• Acquisitions and Sales of businesses
• Commercial technology development
• Research and development for internal and external products
• International business development
• Product and service marketing, development, and management
• Multimillion dollar contract negotiations with government and private sectors (International and domestic)
• Development of business and marketing plans, strategy documents , and other executive level documents
• Industry leader in information management, data management, archiving strategies, legacy technology with a particular focus on the management of oil and gas and minerals information and data on a global scale.
• Operational management and refinement to seek maximum profitability
• Grant applications, financing arrangements, and seeking alternative funding

The results that Guy has achieved in his varied roles stand testimony to his abilities to:

• Manage organizational resources to achieve results
• Develop and drive technology solutions to achieve business goals
• Grow businesses that are both start-up and/or stagnant
• Successfully land, negotiate, perform and complete projects both domestically and internationally

Guy has been married for 24 years and has five children. He enjoys playing ice hockey, travel, mountaineering and spending time with his family and reading.