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EXPLORING THE OCEAN BASINS WITH SATELLITE ALTIMETER DATA

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Author Topic: EXPLORING THE OCEAN BASINS WITH SATELLITE ALTIMETER DATA  (Read 1898 times)
Karissa Oleyanin
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2009, 02:17:23 am »

Petroleum Exploration
All of the major petroleum exploration companies use satellite altimeter gravity data from Geosat and ERS-1 to locate offshore sedimentary basins in remote areas. This information is combined with other reconnaissance survey information to determine where to collect or purchase multi-channel seismic survey data. Currently, the regions of most intense exploration interest are the continental shelves of Australia and the former Soviet Union; recently companies have expressed interest in the Caspian Sea. Developments in offshore drilling technology now make it economical to recover oil from continental slope areas in water once thought prohibitively deep.

While we are not directly involved in this activity, we fill data requests from many companies including UNOCAL. Dr. Mark Odegard of UNOCAL Inc. says "We routinely use satellite gravity data in any exploration effort in the oceans outside of the Gulf of Mexico. We consider the current data quality to be better than the standard regional type of survey that was run in the previous twenty five years or so. . . . If the conventional gravity data were collected over the continental shelves of the World, where we have interest in exploration, the cost by my estimate, would be in the range of $200-$400 million dollars, maybe more. This obviously will not be done, but we are beginning to collect high-resolution (shipboard) data over selected targets outside the US The other companies that use the satellite data, that I know of, are: Exxon, Mobil, and Texaco. UNOCAL has been a recognized leader in potential fields in the oil industry, so we have probably been quicker to utilize the data than many companies. I would suspect BP, Total, and AGIP are foreign companies that probably utilize the data."

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/bathymetry/predicted/explore.HTML
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