--> Abstract: Rapid Response Satellite SAR Applications for the Oil Industry: Ice, Pollution, Seep and Environmental Monitoring in the Arctic Region, by G. Marchant, S. Brown, P. Murphy, and D. Hughes; #90096 (2009)

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Rapid Response Satellite SAR Applications for the Oil Industry: Ice, Pollution, Seep and Environmental Monitoring in the Arctic Region

George Marchant, Sarah Brown, Paul Murphy, and Daniel Hughes
Infoterra Ltd, Leiceter, United Kingdom.

SAR imagery and satellite monitoring have long been used by the Oil & Gas industry for environmental mitigation and the planning of projects both onshore and offshore. The Arctic environment present specific challenges for which this data is well suited, and the inaccessibility of many exploration areas makes remote sensing a particularly useful tool.

Until recently, remote sensing activities have been limited by either sensor resolutions or lack of rapid data ordering and delivery to support operational needs. However, recent improvements in sensors and technologies now make it possible for SAR data to be rapidly tasked, obtained, interpreted and disseminated to users. Furthermore, new systems offering increased sensor resolutions provide a much greater level of detail than was previously available and, in combination with polarimetric data, opens the door to a wider range of commercial applications.

Recent work by Infoterra Ltd has shown that satellite SAR imagery can be used to reliably provide updates on oil spills, and seepage slicks enabling the smoother operation of Offshore E&P projects. Such techniques are particularly valuable and cost effective in much of the Arctic region which is of high environmental sensitivity and remotely located. Imagery has been used to help pinpoint probable seepage locations, and in a Near Real Time environment, guide sampling surveys to active seepage slicks. This information can be used in proving up of oil fields and risk reduction in drilling projects. Infoterra Ltd has successfully used these techniques in a number of locations, including offshore Greenland, and will be conducting a major ice and seep survey project across Baffin Bay with NunaOil in 2009. Additionally, the presence of small and medium icebergs are not easily detected by large scale ice monitoring services and present a concern for the conduct of seismic surveys and other operations. In these situations, new higher resolution SAR systems offer a means of identifying and locating these bergs and thus minimizing the risk to operations.

In terms of on-shore applications, SAR systems have the unique ability to provide detailed land cover and infrastructure information in cloudy regions of the world. Hence, if events such as major on-shore oil spills occur, rapidly acquired imagery can be used to support assessment of infrastructure and ground conditions in a very short period of time.


AAPG Search and Discover Article #90096©2009 AAPG 3-P Arctic Conference and Exhibition, Moscow, Russia