Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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The European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite captured this image of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico after a drilling rig exploded and sank off the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi on April 22, 2010. Envisat acquired the image with its Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on April 29, 2010.

The oil and gas industry is eyeing the use of Earth observation satellites as it explores new frontiers. The European Space Agency’s upcoming Sentinel suite of satellites will facilitate these new endeavors.

Satellite information can be used by the oil and gas sector for geology mapping, subsidence monitoring and emergency response actions like oil spill cleanup. As the oil and gas industry confronts new challenges, such as moving into high latitudes and addressing more demanding legislative requirements for environmental sustainability, Earth observation is becoming increasingly important to the industry.

Now the challenge for the industry is to establish good practices for the use of Earth observation to strengthen the position of this technology within the sector. Although many companies have already integrated this technology in their activities, there’s a need to establish industrywide guidelines.

The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) promotes safe, responsible and sustainable operations in the industry and produces guidelines for good practices for its members. The European Space Agency and OGP began collaborating three years ago with a joint workshop to explore possibilities for increased use of satellite data within the sector. Recognizing such opportunities, the OGP Geomatics Committee was asked to establish a dedicated body within the organisation focused on Earth observation.

The Earth Observation Subcommittee will deal exclusively with promoting and structuring the use of satellite and aerial remote sensing within the oil and gas sector. The initial focus will be to ensure members are fully informed about the capabilities that Earth observation can bring and to support the implementation of industrywide guidelines for how the information can be used.

Image courtesy of European Space Agency.

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