The Young Petroleum Geoscientist Award 2015 goes to Ivan Lehocki. The jury selected Ivan as the recipient of the YPGA due to his significant contribution to exploration as a consultant and software engineer for the oil industry, as well as for his entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. Vidar Furuholt from award sponsor Det norske handed over the diploma and flight ticket to an offshore drilling rig scheduled sometime during summer 2015 at the conference dinner at the Recent Advances in Exploration Technology conferene 2015 on May 20th.
The Young Petroleum Geoscientist Awards is an initiative by GeoPublishing and the Geological Society of Norway, and is endowed by Det norske oljeselskap ASA.
About the winner
The winner of the Young Petroleum Geoscientist Award 2015 was born in Croatia in December 1979. He finished his master’s degree in Geophysics at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary in 2007, and headed to Bergen, Norway in February 2008 to start working for Odin Petroleum, a G&G consulting company. At Odin he learned about rock physics and AVO, and made in-house software codes that were utilized in consulting. One of the codes was a cement estimation toolbox, where sandstone cement volume could quickly and easily be estimated from sonic and density logs. Later he developed statistical rock physics and AVO codes that took into account burial history and cement volume, which is very useful in areas with complex geology and uplift episodes. This tool was used in consultancy work for Lundin Norway before and after drilling the Skalle prospect in the Barents Sea, with very good results. The results were published and presented at the EAGE conference in Copenhagen in 2012, with Ivan as first author. The paper was very well received, and EAGE informed the authors that it was considered one of the best papers presented at the EAGE that year.
In 2012 he started his own company, GeoSpace, with further focus on software codes useful to the oil industry. He made efficient and user-friendly AVO probability and rock physics template codes for Spring Energy before he decided to take on further studies in space sciences. Upon completion of the so called SpaceMaster program in 2014 he obtained a double master’s degree in space science and technology from Luleå University of Technology in Kiruna, Sweden; and astrophysics, space science and planetology from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. That very same year he moved back to Norway, where he continued making his own geophysical software codes in rock physics and quantitative seismic interpretation. These have already been used in prospect evaluation by Tullow Oil where he is currently doing research and consulting work via his GeoSpace company.
The winner of this year’s award is a true scholar with passion for science in general, and for rocks and waves in particular. He is also a visionary entrepreneur with guts and confidence to start a company on his own in spite of his young age. As the title of his company hints (GeoSpace), he is not only limited to earthly matters, and always looks outside the box for new ideas. His fascination for outer space has made him sign up for the Mars One competition to get a one-way ticket to Mars in 2027. The Geoscience community should cross their fingers that this excellent geophysicist stays grounded in many years to come. He has already published more than 10 conference papers, and is the first-author on more than half of these. Some of his work will be included in the new, soon-to-be-published 2nd edition of Knut Bjørlykke’s book “Petroleum Geoscience – From Sedimentary Basins to Rock Physics”. Nevertheless, we think we have only seen the beginning of a great career in petroleum geoscience that will be of great benefit to the oil industry and the geoscience community in Norway and abroad.