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Detection of Natural Oil Seeps as a Guide to Petroleum Exploration Using New Generation Remote Previous HitSensorNext Hit Data

Ralph N. Baker

The remote-sensing literature gives ample reference to oil-seep related anomalies and their use as exploration guides. Little technical evidence has been published examining the cause-and-effect relationship between surface signature and petroleum traps.

An attempt was made to detect spectral signatures (tonal and textural) related to known natural oil seeps to establish criteria for remote detection of additional seeps in frontier areas. Sites included a variety of physical settings where surface expression of geologic structure, topography, vegetation, and degree of field development were varied to determine the hypothetical potential for discovery by remote-sensing techniques. Test sites included known shallow fields in Indonesia, oil sands in northern Alberta, and giant fields in the Middle East and western United States.

Results indicated tonal data recorded by Landsat helped discriminate possible unique (i.e., seep-related) but site-dependent signatures. SPOT 10-m resolution panchromatic data were most useful for detecting subtle textural signatures that are possibly seep related. Additional information is being analyzed, and intersite correlations between surface and Previous HitsensorTop are being examined.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91022©1989 AAPG Annual Convention, April 23-26, 1989, San Antonio, Texas.