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ABSTRACT: Evaluation of Landsat-Derived Exploration Leads for Hydrocarbon Microseepage Using the Microbial Oil Survey Technique

Keith H. Patton

Exploration leads derived from the integration of Landsat and subsurface geologic data were evaluated using the microbial oil survey technique (MOST). Hydrocarbon microseeps were detected in proximity to some of the exploration leads and also nearby production.

In 1984, a Landsat study of Osage County, Oklahoma, was done by Earthsat Corporation for the Osage Indian tribe. Exploration leads identified in this report were selected by Geo-Microbial Technologies, Inc., for evaluation using MOST, which detects hydrocarbon microseepage by isolating hydrocarbon indicating microorganisms.

The intent was to identify exploration leads related to high levels of hydrocarbon microseepage. Highgrading leads in this manner reduces the number of leads and features mappable from satellite images by identifying those with hydrocarbon potential. This focuses exploration efforts, which reduces costs of other exploration methods.

A sample grid was designed for each area. Surface soil samples were collected at 100-m spacing along survey lines.

A series of dilutions and plate cultures were prepared for each sample. The data were available in one week. A statistical smoothing function was applied to the data and contour maps were prepared. Data sets were compared, and significant correlation between high levels of microseepage and the Landsat interpretation was then noted. Drilling records were consulted to determine if any drilling had been carried out on or near these leads and the results. The integration of remote sensor, geologic, and biogeochemical data in this manner can increase the speed with which significant leads are identified and exploited.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990