Resistivity Imaging in a Fold and Thrust Belt

Resistivity Volume
3D Resistivity Volume

Be sure to grab your April issue of First Break, and turn to this month’s special topic: EM & Potential Methods, where NEOS discusses the results from resistivity imaging using ZTEM and MT data in the geophysical study of a ~2900 km2 region of the northern Raton Basin in southern Colorado.

Because of the land access and permitting issues, as well as the large amount of terrain needing to be traversed during the geophysical survey, we decided to incorporate a dense airborne ZTEM survey along with the sparse MT stations.

To read the full article, Resistivity Imaging in a Fold and Thrust Belt using ZTEM and sparse MT Data, click here or on the image above.

For more on NEOS’ use of EM as a part of its Multi-Physics methodology, click here.

A View from Space: Remote Sensing

In this blog series on publicly available data we have thus far looked closely at the value (and limitation) of satellite data. There currently exists more than 2,200 satellites orbiting the earth, many providing a steady stream of scientific data.

One might argue that the primary benefit of satellite data, at least in the case of oil and gas exploration, is its ability to reach parts of the Earth, cost-effectively, that are otherwise too difficult to access or photograph, providing datasets of value to industry geoscientists.

High value can also come from remote sensing, which is the use of aerial photography [often satellites], combined with other methods to view that which cannot be seen by the unaided eye.

In this post we look more closely at airborne LiDAR remote sensing data available in the public domain. Just like satellite data, there are limitations to this data as well as great value.  In any case, our geoscientists are nonetheless able to generate many of the same interpretive products you need to explore using this, and other publicly available data, including:

  • Assessments of basin-scale geologic trends
  • Maps of basin architecture and regional structure
  • Maps of key lineaments, regional fault systems, and intrusions
  • 2-D and 3-D structural and stratigraphic models
  • Maps of basement topography, faulting and composition
  • Assessments of relative acreage prospectivity derived using predictive analytics.

Read on to understand how remote sensing data plays a roll in multi-measurement interpretation.

LiDAR_PA
LiDAR DSM (Digital Surface Model) taken over Pennsylvania

Remote Sensing

What is it/How is it used: LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a publicly available airborne remote sensing technology that collects 3-D point clouds of the Earth’s surface and is used for high resolution digital elevation models (DEMs). The system works by illuminating a target with a laser scanner, the reflected light produces values that are then integrated with other on-board systems and recorded.

Value: The airborne data from LiDAR is at a high resolution and can detect subtle topographic features such as fault interpretations, lineament interpretations, or surface changes over time.

Limitations: LiDAR data availability and cost vary from state to state in the USA.  Some states offer LiDAR data free.  Therefore, despite a high resolution product, availability is extremely limited.

A View from Space: Multi-spectral and Hyperspectral Data

The first satellite was launched in 1957 by the Soviets (Sputnik 1), quickly followed by one launched by the Americans (Explorer 1).  And so began a new way to look at the Earth.  Today more than 2,200 satellites orbit the Earth, many providing a steady stream of scientific data.

Accurate satellite imagery may be the most cost-effective source of data collection in oil and gas exploration available today. It often has the ability to reach parts of the Earth that are otherwise too difficult to access or photograph, providing datasets of value to industry geoscientists.

In the case of oil and gas exploration, the most common and valuable types of satellite data include multi-spectral, hyperspectral, gravity, magnetic and remote sensing (the use of aerial photography [often satellites], combined with other methods to view that which cannot be seen by the unaided eye).

Although some of these datasets may not contain the spatial sampling, therefore resolution, associated with NEOS’ new data acquisition programs, our geoscientists are nonetheless able to generate many of the same interpretive products you need to explore, including:

  • Assessments of basin-scale geologic trends
  • Maps of basin architecture and regional structure
  • Maps of key lineaments, regional fault systems, and intrusions
  • 2-D and 3-D structural and stratigraphic models
  • Maps of basement topography, faulting and composition
  • Assessments of relative acreage prospectivity derived using predictive analytics.

In this blog series we look closely at the data provided by satellites that reside in the public domain, to see what value can be gleaned as well as encountered limitations that result from limited spacial samples or true global coverage.

Multi-Spectral Data

ASTER-NASA
(Left) ASTER multi-spectral satellite data and (right) public data from the NASA earth observatory website. Both show oil slicks on surface of the water. The one on the left highlights slicks and their buildup on the coast after an oil spill disaster.

What is it/How is it used: The Landsat 8 is a polar orbiting satellite system that collects publically-available multi-spectral data of the entire Earth every 16 days. One common use might be to detect lithologies or minerologies (such as iron, clay and carbonate) on the Earth’s surface. For offshore use, it is often used to look at sea migrations.  With the detection of sea temperature variations, it can detect offshore seeps which can be used for oil spill management.

Value: Because of its continual orbit of the earth, there is a significant amount of Landsat 8 data available. It is optimal for assessing large swaths of land. NEOS has incorporated Landsat 8 data previously in various neoBASIN programs as part of the ‘ground’ component of the project to “postage stamp” the area and cross correlate the data with later-collected NEOS airborne hyperspectral data.

Limitations: Unfortunately, the Landsat 8 has a relatively lower spectral resolution, with 11 bands. It has difficulty detecting onshore oil seeps; they are often too small at this resolution.  The spectral resolution also limits our detection of specific minerals as well as indirect hydrocarbon features.

Hyperspectral Data

Hyperion coverage for the San Juan project. There were two separate images taken at different times.
Hyperion data over a large area. There were two separate images, of the same location, taken at different times.

What is it/How is it used: The Hyperion Sensor is another free satellite resource that collects hyperspectral data at 30 meter resolution pixels.  It can detect seepages and mineralogy at a higher spectral resolution than Landsat 8 with hundreds of spectral bands (as opposed to 11), though still at a lower resolution than NEOS acquired airborne Hyperspectral data (4-5 meter resolution). It collects data around the world, both onshore and offshore, but the total collection area is very limited.

Value: Hyperion data is of great value when cross checking/cross correlating with NEOS Hyperspectral data.  For neoBASIN projects, where Hyperspectral data isn’t a part of the program, NEOS can incorporate Hyperion data (when available) into the general interpretation for a little more insight into the area.

Limitations: The EO-1 satellite, that the Hyperion sensor is situated on, is not always collecting data, therefore global coverage is minimal.  The USGS does allow you to request areas for scanning but requests aren’t always fulfilled.

neoSCAN in Action: Athabasca Uranium Deposits, Canada

Claim holdings in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada
Claim holdings in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada

The Athabasca Basin is a 100,000 km2 region of northern Saskatchewan, Canada that is home to the world’s leading source of high-grade uranium. The basin is filled with sandstone sediment varying from 100 to 1,000 metres in depth. The uranium ore is mostly found at the base of this sandstone, at the point where it meets the basement.

NEOS will be presenting the results of a recent neoSCAN study covering the uranium deposits of the Athabasca Basin at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual conference next week in Toronto.  The PDAC exists to promote a responsible, vibrant and sustainable Canadian mineral exploration and development sector and is perhaps best known for its annual convention, which last year attracted 25,122 attendees from 103 countries.

NEOS was invited to present at PDAC 2015 by Geosoft® Inc., a leading provider of integrated geoscience software for mapping and modeling the Earth’s subsurface.  In the PDAC presentation, NEOS plans to share techniques it has been using in oil & gas exploration – focusing especially on basement mapping and predictive analytics methods – with geoscientists involved in minerals exploration and development.

To demonstrate the application of these techniques in the mining sector, NEOS undertook a neoSCAN study of a portion of the Athabasca Basin for which it integrated and simultaneously interpreted several existing geological and geophysical datasets to map key regional geologic features in a 17,000 km2 area of investigation.

The legacy geo-datasets that NEOS analyzed included gravity, magnetic, electromagnetic and radiometric as well as sub-sets of available geologic information.  Intermediate interpretive products including fault density and basement burial-depth maps were also generated and subsequently analyzed using predictive analytics techniques.

Dr. Craig Beasley, Chief Science Officer for NEOS, commented,

[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”100%”]“In under a month, we were able to identify some of the key G&G attributes that correspond to the locations of Athabasca’s known uranium deposits. I think this demonstrates that an analysis of existing multi-physics data using advanced quantitative interpretation techniques can be a useful method for de-risking exploration acreage and improving discovery success, whether we are talking about the search for minerals or for oil & gas.”[/pullquote]

To learn more about the neoSCAN as applied to acreage highgrading for uranium in Athabasca, click here (or on the image below) to watch the narrated slideshow.

AthabascaCover

NEOS’s domain expert on predictive analytics, Emmanuel (‘Manu’) Schnetzler, will be presenting the results of this Athabasca neoSCAN study, entitled, ‘Predictive Analytics of Multi-Disciplinary Data for Basin and Basement Studies,’ during the PDAC conference on Monday March 2nd at 10AM EST in Room 716 (Adopting Tools & Techniques from the Oil Patch session) at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The neoSCAN – Keeps Explorers Exploring in a $50 Oil World

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”40%”]With these prices, it will be difficult to justify a new acquisition program. We’ve got to make sense of all the data we already have![/pullquote]

This is an actual and recent quote from a Global Basin Studies manager at one of Europe’s most successful oil & gas exploration companies. And I’m sure he’s not the only one with this opinion.

In fact, during the last oil price bust (in 2008-09) some of us heard similar things at our former employer – a leading geophysical equipment, services and data library company.

At some level, who could disagree?  While the world is awash in oil at present, the oil & gas industry is awash in geo-data, and has been for some time.

But just having data isn’t enough. One needs to make sense of what all that data is saying.

Enter the neoSCAN™, a low-cost, high-value data integration and interpretation offering from NEOS designed to help you make sense of – and maximize the value of your legacy investments in – all your geo-data.

Said another way, NO NEW ACQUISITION REQUIRED!

neoSCANBenefits

The neoSCAN brings together legacy seismic, well, gravity, magnetic, remote sensing and many other multi-physics measurements in order to help you generate an integrated, 3-D, basement-to-surface understanding of large areas quickly and cost effectively.

In 100 days and for under $1 million (for areas of investigation up to 10,000 sqkm | 4000 sqmi), the neoSCAN will deliver many of the interpretive products you need to keep exploring:

  • 2-D structural & stratigraphic cross-sections
  • Regional 3-D subsurface models
  • Regional isopach & burial depth maps
  • Maps of basement topography and composition
  • Depth-to-basement maps
  • Basement-to-surface maps of lineaments & major faults
  • Regional resistivity models
  • Classified maps of multi-spectral data (lithology, IHIs)
  • Maps of relative acreage prospectivity
  • Identification of G&G attributes driving (un)favorable exploration potential.

By applying our proprietary predictive analytics methods to quantitatively assess all of this geo-data, we’ll help you highgrade acreage throughout your entire area of investigation.  Just like we did for this cost-conscious Global Basin Studies manager in his prospects onshore and offshore West Africa.  And just like we did for others in West Texas, the Mid-Continent, Oman, Jordan and other mature and frontier hydrocarbon provinces around the world.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”100%”]Low prices and tight budgets don’t mean you need to stop exploring. The neoSCAN will help you get the most out of your legacy G&G investments by integrating existing data you already have in-house with additional multi-physics datasets that can be quickly and inexpensively obtained from a variety of sources.[/pullquote]

So when things return to normal – or opportunities to capture assets from distressed players present themselves – you’ll be prepared with the insights needed to deliver.

Low prices. More insights. Keep on exploring with the neoSCAN.  To learn more, watch the narrated slideshow.