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James M. Ellis1, Hattie H. Davis2, Michael B. Quinn1
(1) MapFactory-HJW Inc, Walnut Creek, CA
(2) MapFactory-HFW Inc, Walnut Creek, CA

Abstract: Airborne hyperspectral imagery for the petroleum industry

Petroleum companies can use airborne hyperspectral imagery as a cost-effective tool to improve evaluations of downstream assets, impacted areas, and terrain characterized by hydrocarbon-seepage. Airborne data cubes acquired during Geosat's Hyperspectral Group Shoot 1998 (HGS98) contain new information about producing geologic structures and manmade facilities that is not readily available from other sources.

In impacted sites, unique spectral signatures were found in settling ponds, "natural" seasonal vegetation stress was clearly mapped, and no significant indication of vegetation stress around wharfs, abandoned oil wells, and pipelines was documented- these are important environmental indicators for the petroleum industry. For exploration, a Southern California area with significant oil production was evaluated. This area has oil seeps documented on published geologic maps - a spectrally unique signature was associated with these published oil seeps. This same spectral signature was found 20 km east within clearings on a heavily vegetated flank of an anticline and at the anticline's plunging nose where fieldwork documented many seeps and ponding of oil. Perhaps oil seeps, stains, and soil mixed with oil residue foster development of a more open landscape, gives rise to a unique vegetation assemblage, alters the soil characteristics (color, amount and type of iron, etc.), and/or are easier to detect with hyperspectral sensors when in more open areas. Our preliminary work suggests that features associated with onshore oil seeps can be detected with airborne hyperspectral imagery.

Fieldwork involving specialists is required to link new spectral patterns with features that are important to the petroleum industry. This airborne technology is least expensive to deploy when it is used for detection. Other airborne and satellite imagery can be more effectively used for constructing basemaps.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana