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RS Technology for Mapping Hydrocarbon Microseeps

Supported by $200,000 in co-funding from LOOKNorth's Technology Validation Program, Sky Hunter Corporation of Calgary, Alberta is conducting a project to validate the performance of its environmentally non-invasive hydrocarbon microseep detection technology and to determine the technology’s usefulness to industry and government. The project, launched in December 2012, is being conducted over a period of twelve months.

Right: microseep mapping using airborne sensors leaves no environmental footprint.




Negatively charged hydrocarbon molecules migrate rapidly and continuously from subsurface reservoirs  up through overlaying geologic strata (left), through the cap rock and into the atmosphere towards the positively charged ionosphere. Sky Hunter of Calgary, Alberta has developed an airborne system for detecting hydrocarbon micro-seeps: an aircraft-mounted “nose” comprising three sensors captures and measures three datasets - one for gas and two for oil. The resulting hydrocarbon counts are presented on footprint maps, which are used in combination with subsurface geology information. Together, the microseep locations and rock property information aids in reservoir definition.



Maps generated by an airborne hydrocarbon micro-seep survey can help convert more resources to reserves and production. Furthermore, knowing where the “sweet spots” are helps focus development plans and ground-based operations so as to minimize environmental disturbance. 

The project comprises two airborne surveys over two different oil sands areas with different characteristics, and  comparison of the airborne survey maps against existing subsurface maps based on seismic and core data.