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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Environmental Geosciences (DEG)


AAPG Division of Environmental Geosciences Journal
Vol. 3 (1996), No. 1., Pages 29-34

Environmental Remote Sensing in the Oil Industry: Changing Technology for Changing Times

Ralph N. Baker


Remote sensing applications in the major oil and gas companies have gradually shifted away from petroleum exploration toward an environmental focus. With the latest generation of satellites and sensors available to the industry, many companies are looking at new ways in which to exploit this technology in a cost-efficient manner. The remote sensing groups at many major oil companies have evolved from full-service image processing and interpretation centers to more focused and customer-responsive units, with limited staff assigned to meet only those specific goals deemed important by internal clients. Flexibility is provided by selected vendors as required. Most activities include environmental surveys and baseline studies as well as the more conventional exploration projects, with an emphasis on multilevel geographic information system (GIS)-compatible data packages to take advantage of the remarkable advances in image processing/GIS software. The detection of oil seeps in marine environments is becoming an important part of many exploration and environmental monitoring programs. The Gulf Offshore Satellite Applications Project is an example of a multi-group effort using the latest remote sensing techniques to investigate these important features.

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