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Identification of Potential Hydrocarbon Target Areas in the Colombian Vaupés- Amazonas and Caguán– Putumayo Basins by means of Satellite Data and Hyperspectral Airborne and Field Validation

Osorno Monsalve, José F.; Schonwandt, David; Berg, Taliacute;a C.; and Re Kühl, Guillermo E.1
1[email protected]

HYTEC ALTO AMERICAS S.A. was contracted by the Colombian Hydrocarbon National Agency (ANH) to conduct a remote sensing study in the Vaupés- Amazonas and Caguán – Putumayo Basins in southern Colombia, over an area of approximately 280,000 km². The objective was to detect hydrocarbon prospective areas using satellite, airborne and field remote sensing technology. The rationale behind the application of this technology is that the migration of light weight hydrocarbons to the subsurface can generate local anomalies, which are characterized by reducing conditions that facilitate the development of a variety of chemical and mineralogical changes and can be detected through remote sensing techniques.

The initial phase involved the selection and acquisition of all the ASTER, LandSat 7 ETM+, LandSat 5TM, LandSat 4, MODIS, SRTM, and PALSAR imagery over the entire study area. RADARSAT images were also acquired over selected areas. Preprocessing and processing techniques were applied to the acquired data. The most significant indexes applied during this project were the Stressed Vegetation Index and the Bleaching Index. These analyses allowed the identification of 156 anomalies that were categorized according to the weight of their spectral and structural characteristics. Oil seeps indicated in regional databases were also taken into account for the targeting process.

Almost half of those satellite spectral anomalies were directly or indirectly field validated by means of a hyperspectral helicopter and field survey program. A total of 1,200 spectral bands were registered along the flight lines. Geochemical sampling was also performed in selected places. The hydrocarbon prospective targets identified cover approximately 45,000 km², which represents the 16% of the whole area. The final weighing process of the targeted anomalies after field validation indicated that 12% of them showed strong characteristics as indicators of potential occurrences of hydrocarbon accumulations.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90166©2013 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Cartagena, Colombia, 8-11 September 2013