James M. Ellis1
(1) HJW GeoSpatial, Walnut Creek, CA
ABSTRACT: Searching for Onshore Oil Seeps with Hyperspectral Imaging
Detecting oil seeping from petroleum reservoirs has long been a goal of remote sensing technology. However, the spatial and spectral resolution of most sensors has been too limiting for successful onshore applications. In 1998 HJW Geospatial joined an airborne hyperspectral group shoot initiated by The Geosat Committee with the goal of evaluating the usefulness of this new technology for the petroleum industry, especially exploration. We discovered that there was a unique family of airborne spectral signatures that could be associated with known oil seeps in Southern California. In August 2000, an experienced crew was sent into the field with a hand held hyperspectral sensor and confirmed that the airborne signatures were caused directly by oil seeps and oil-impacted soils. Our work indicates that sensors with high signal-to-noise, narrow spectral bands, and sensitivity to visible through short wave-infrared light are needed for successful detection of onshore oil seeps. Building a spectral library of onshore oil seeps and oil-impacted soils is being done to enable rapid and reliable detection of these features. Our work indicates that explorationists evaluating remote terrain can now consider using airborne hyperspectral imaging for detecting onshore oil seeps.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90906©2001 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado