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Views from space help oil prospectors see deep underground

coming from the top half-metre of subsurface.

"It is important to characterise this area, as this is where most of that 80% of data distortion comes from," says Laake. "In particular, TIR is useful for identifying underlying layers of basalt, which radiate strongly in thermal energy, so much so that we can interpret its presence indirectly from well below a half a metre.

"Basalt is a massive reflector, functioning like a shield between the surface and the hydrocarbon reservoirs. We can't work on surface basalt the baseplate simply jumps back but there are optimal design geometries we can use for buried basalt layers using selected angles of incidence for the seismic waves to ensure that not all the signal is reflected and that some goes through."

WesternGeco has so far used remote sensing data for sites in Algeria and Argentina. "We have started with desert areas because they are a relatively simple case with unchanging landscapes," Laake concludes. "But, the technology we are developing here can fully apply to other locations.

"What Earth Observation represents for us is a means of carrying out seismic survey feasibility studies prior to defining survey programmes for our clients, and ensuring enhanced data quality for even the most challenging environments."

UK-based Infoterra and WesternGeco have jointly developed a seismic-quality mapping service as part of an ESA Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) project. EOMD is a programme aimed at strengthening the European and Canadian capacity to provide geoinformation services based mainly on Earth Observation data, with a particular emphasis on addressing the needs of small value-adding companies.


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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.d'acunto@esa.int
39-06-941-80-856
European Space Agency
28-Jan-2005


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