Blog & News

REVIEW: Remote Sensing for Oil and Gas Exploration & Development

Mon 08 July 2019

Category: Courses, Reviews

Review by Feargal Murphy, IGS Ltd

The day began with an introduction by Mike King who gave a brief history of NPA (now part of CGG), a brief outline of the course and an introduction to the presenters. The 20-odd course participants then had an opportunity to introduce themselves explaining their backgrounds and interest in remote sensing.

Hayley Larkin delivered an excellent synopsis of the different remote sensing sensor types and frequency bands. This included a comparison of the different optical and radar satellite systems focussing on spatial, spectral and temporal resolution associated with both open access and commercial systems. An overview of the typical image processing workflow illustrated the value of band combinations, orthorectification, mosaicking and pan sharpening.

After a coffee break, Jorge Ginés introduced us to the applications of remote sensing for onshore geological mapping. We learned how false colour composites of selected bands combined with digital elevation models, can be used to map structures and lithologies. Using examples from Iran and Utah, we learned to make dip and strike measurements from composite images. An excellent example from the Zagros Thrust Belt showed how to distinguish anticlines/synclines and establish relative depth to detachment zone across lateral ramp structures.
After lunch, Mike King illustrated how radar and optical images can, in combination, be used for hydrocarbon seep detection in marine environments. A class exercise got people working in teams of 4 to 6 using radar images from the Nile delta area to try and distinguish slicks related to hydrocarbon seeps from those associated with other cultural sources.

The final session of the day was presented by Rachel Holley who clearly demonstrated the value of InSAR data for land surface change monitoring. A class exercise mapping relative vertical ground motion over an area of the Kenyan Rift following a magma injection event showed how the dataset can be used to map regional faults relevant to understanding hydrocarbon plays. Other examples included vertical ground surface change following the London Crossrail Project.

Overall, the course was pitched at an appropriate technical level, focussing on the end use applications, the interpretational pitfalls and avoiding mathematical detail. A broad range of applications was covered while the quizzes, individual and group exercises ensured an interactive learning experience and kept us on our toes throughout.

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