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Abstract: Spaceborne Radar (ERS-1 and RADARSAT-1) Tests for Hydrocarbon Exploration in Venezuela

Nestor Chigne, Dr. Fons Dekker, Dennis Nazarenko, Rodney G. Duncan, Pamela Welgan, Fernando Corvo

Satellite radar images were analyzed in conjunction with various complementary data sets to evaluate their potential in the hydrocarbon exploration process. The first phase of the project took place in 1994 within the Barinas-Apure Basin where ERS-1 data was integrated with Landsat TM, airborne radar, geophysical and geological data. Since its launch in 1995, additional RADARSAT data has been acquired to compare image characteristics of the European and Canadian satellites. In addition, a second phase involving the detailed evaluation of various RADARSAT imaging modes has been conducted in a more southern Merida Andes test site.

Both study areas have been actively explored for hydrocarbons throughout the last half century. However, geological interpretation has been hampered by cloud cover, abundant vegetation and inhospitable terrain. The satellite radar imagery provided the first continuous view of these study areas and revealed geologic structures not clearly identified before. Although satellite radar is subject to geometric distortion, the imagery can reveal the relative position of geological features as it relates to geography and topography. This was proven as the true geographic position of the Bocono fault was clearly defined within the radar imagery of the first test site, disproving the previously accepted positions. The position of this fault had traditionally been erroneously defined due to the non-continuous data sets which were relied upon.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90951©1996 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela