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Abstract: Remote Previous HitSensorNext Hit Detection of Oil Seeps and Spills: Promise and Reality

Ralph N. Baker

The petroleum industry has recognized the importance of detecting oil seeps and spills for exploration and environmental monitoring applications. These features can often be detected using various remote sensors and image processing techniques, but the conditions under which reliable detection and identification can occur are not yet fully understood.

Recent efforts by the international remote-sensing community point out both success and difficulties in developing detection techniques that are reliable, timely and economically feasible. Results of studies in the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Barbara Channel demonstrate that while oil seeps and spills can often be successfully detected and tracked, remote sensing methods alone may not be sufficient to distinguish between wind shadow, naturally occurring surfactants, marine vegetation or weather related phenomena.

An approach is described which will systematically improve the probability of seep detection using a logical decision matrix, incorporating past Previous HitsensorNext Hit utility, operator experience, and environmental conditions unique to the event.

The methodical evaluation of environmental data coupled with the forthcoming improvement in Previous HitsensorTop technology will greatly improve the petroleum industry's ability to detect oil seeps and spills in an operational environment.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90986©1994 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado, June 12-15, 1994