Airborne Trace Gas Remote Sensing and Surface Mobile In Situ: A Novel Tool for the Study of Structural Geological Controls from a Producing Oil Field

Leifer, Ira (Bubbleology Research International (Corresponding author)) | Melton, Christopher (Bubbleology Research International) | Tratt, David M. (The Aerospace Corporation) | Buckland, Kerry N. (The Aerospace Corporation)


Summary Accurate and representative determination of greenhouse gases (GHG) from oil and gas (O&G) production facilities requires high-spatial-resolution data, which can be acquired by airborne imaging spectrometers. However, assessment of nonmethane hydrocarbon emissions, which are far less amenable to remote sensing, requires mobile surface in-situ measurements (e.g., a mobile air quality laboratory). Field in-situ measurements and airborne thermal infrared spectral imagery were acquired for three producing California oil fields (Poso Creek, Kern Front, and Kern River) located next to each other on 14 September 2018. In addition, a profile ascending a nearby mountain collected in-situ data for the Round Mountain oilfield. Plume methane to ethane ratios were consistent within different regions of the field and differed between these fields in a manner related to field geological structures. Data acquired by an airborne thermal infrared imaging spectrometer, Mako, in 2015 and 2018 showed most emissions were from distant plumes in the Kern Front and Poso Creek fields. The spatial distribution of detected plumes was strongly related to faults, particularly active faults, which are proposed to stress infrastructure, leading to higher fugitive emissions and/or emissions from natural migration pathways (seepage). Additionally, the spatial distribution of detected plumes suggested unmapped faults. Thus, high-sensitivity imaging spectroscopy can improve understanding of reservoir geological structures that impact hydrocarbon migration and field operations, highlighting the potential for a novel reservoir management tool.

  Genre: Research Report > New Finding (0.46)
  Geologic Time: Phanerozoic > Cenozoic (0.47)
  Oilfield Places:
  Technology: Information Technology > Data Science (0.48)

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