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GETECH has begun an industry-funded research study to enhance the resolution of satellite-derived gravity data used in the search for hydrocarbon-bearing structures under the world’s oceans and seas.
The nine-month research and development (R&D) study will determine how, and to what degree, the advanced ocean measurements from the three cycle polar geodetic mission of the CryoSat-2 satellite, with data provided by the European Space Agency, can improve the accuracy, resolution and reliability of satellite-derived gravity.
The success of the R&D study will pave the way for a global study by GETECH, commencing in early 2013, to map the world’s continental margins out to 500 km from the shore lines. This global study will include data from the NASA Jason-1 oceanographic satellite, which is subject to going into geodetic mission mode in 2013.
One year of data from CryoSat-2 will provide 50% additional data on top of that available from previous satellite missions. The near-polar orbit will generate tracks with different orientations that will infill existing data coverage.
The R&D study will refine the methodologies and algorithms used previously on the GeoSat and ERS-1 data to handle the two altimeter data types being collected by CryoSat-2. Four test areas have been agreed in the Caspian Sea, Barents Sea, north Brazil margin and north Colombia/Venezuela margin to check on the resolution of the data by comparison with high-quality terrestrial shipborne data.
Derek Fairhead, president and founder of GETECH, commented, “The petroleum exploration industry, both oil companies and marine seismic contractors, has for a long time valued gravity information, especially for the structural evaluation of blocks ahead of licensing round bids and the planning of large multi-client seismic survey targets. This new study should open the way to making gravity data of exceptional resolution available on a global basis.”