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  • Product Sheet: Reservoir Optimization

Reservoir management and optimisation




Component products


Surface Motion

  • Faults and discontinuities
  • Permafrost zone stability / frost heaving / discontinuous permafrost
  • Surface deformation monitoring
  • Historical surface deformation
  • Reservoir compartmentalization
  • Fault identification and reactivation


  • Subsidence monitoring - Land motion relating to fault lines or other causes
  • Subsidence monitoring – Reservoir management
  • Subsidence monitoring – Infrastructure monitoring
  • Surface geological mapping - Geological mapping and interpretation for structural geology and tectonic analysis
  • Logistics planning - Information for facility planning and design of infrastructure, support for site selection, pipeline routeing and seismic hazard assessment (including identification and assessment of active faulting) to determine hazards and risks in a proposed development area.
  • Seismic Planning - Areas of poor coupling

Geo-information requirements

  • Terrain information
  • Topographic information
  • Surface and ground motion
  • Lithology, geological and structural properties of the near surface


The extraction of hydrocarbons from the subsurface and the injection of fracking or EOR/IOR fluids into the subsurface can lead to complex interactions with surrounding rock and overburden, and the effect of such operations can be determined at the surface using EO data. This integrated product encompasses a number of tools that quantitatively measure the impact of oil and gas production on the surface and can aid the optimisation of such operations.

Knowledge of historical ground movement over reservoirs can provide information on natural subsidence phenomena, e.g. areas affected by permafrost, pre-existing fault structures, discontinuities, etc. In addition, historical surface deformation data can be used to determine past production-related movement i.e. how a reservoir has behaved in the past, providing information that can be used to determine dynamic parameters of reservoir behaviour, allowing optimised production and improved reservoir management.

Variations in pressure in the subsurface due to fluid extraction / injection can lead to the reactivation of fault structures, reservoir compartmentalisation, reservoir compaction and changes in rock stresses that can adversely affect wells. Understanding these effects, caused as a direct result of oil and gas extraction, can play an important role in the long-term efficient production of a field.

Known restrictions / limitations

Radar-derived products:

  • No surface movement information achievable over water bodies
  • Accuracy and density of measurements dependent on a number of factors, including the wavelength of SAR sensor and repeat time of the satellite
  • North-south movement cannot be identified for InSAR
  • Density of measurement points identified over areas of vegetation decreases
  • Very limited information over muskeg and permafrost layer. Active layer movement is detected in combination with reservoir movement.
  • Only active or re-activated faults can be identified
  • Historical analyses can only be performed where SAR data was acquired with relative high resolution. Although a good coverage exists over many areas worldwide, some areas do not have large historical SAR data archives

Optical-derived Products

  • The main limitation with optical products is the short growing season and therefore the availability of suitable data sets for sediment maps. The use of Landsat-8 with Sentinel 2 will help mitigate this issue with additional images over the area of interest.


  • The permafrost models are typically derived from surface geophysical measurements. These can be expensive and therefore control sites must be carefully chosen and surface/sub-surface lithology correlations must be used to extrapolate site measurements over wider areas. Some of these formation maps are available from local Geoscience offices.

Lifecycle stage and demand












  • Information on historical ground and fault movement and structural geology to support decision making on a prospect. Processing historical EO data can identify past ground movement, fault locations and other geological discontinuities and can provide support for the identification of high-risk areas. Generation of baseline trends of ground deformation are a major capital cost driver at this stage, and influence the likelihood of regulatory approvals.

Exploration & Development:

  • Critical historical ground movement information for the identification of stable ground to support effective and safe land seismic surveys and for the planning of infrastructure, pipelines, wellheads and area development. Information to support geological mapping of surface and sub-surface (including active faulting).


  • Information to support monitoring of reservoirs and assets. Ground movement over infrastructure, e.g. wellheads, pipelines, etc. can be monitored in order to identify potential stability issues. Surface subsidence / uplift associated directly with reservoir production can be determined and quantified. Resulting maps can be used to optimise production and improve reservoir management. Analyses of surface movement to provide information on subsurface features including compartmentalisation, fault reactivation, fluid dynamics, etc.


  • Baseline information supports return to stable permafrost regimes or identification of deterioration due to climate change. Seismicity can be induced after project completion. Once the site is closed, remediation monitoring will confirm fault activity and site stabilisation before transfer to regulator/Crown.

Geographic coverage and demand

Demand and coverage is globally onshore or on offshore platforms.


OTM:001 Identifying effect of fault reactivation

OTM:002 Tracking fluid migration in the subsurface
OTM:003 Subsidence from reservoir draw-down
OTM:004 Regulatory verification relating to injection of fracking fluids
OTM:005 Monitoring natural fault movement

OTM:006 Technical verification relation to injection of fracking fluids
OTM:007 Identify communication between producing zones
OTM:008 Determine historical ground movement for infrastructure planning
OTM:009 Determine historical ground movement for pipeline routing
OTM:010 Monitoring ground movement along pipelines
OTM:011 Surface infrastructure movement relative to sub-surface

OTM:014 Forecasting sand dune migration
OTM:015 Geological and terrain base maps for development of environmental baseline
OTM:016 Identification of seasonal obstructions to logistics activity

OTM:020 Tracking groundwater tables

OTM:023 Infrastructure planning

OTM:029 Prelicensing site selection

OTM:036 Geohazard exposure analysis

OTM:039 Selection of development sites

OTM:051 Identification of fault lines

OTM:052 Identify the cause of geological movement

OTM:060 Forecasting landslide locations


HC:1105 Identify permafrost zone for data analysis

HC:3201 Assessment of infrastructure placement and effects to the surrounding environment

HC:3202 Monitoring pipeline stability in discontinuous permafrost
HC:3203 Management of surface impacts due to ground deformation from operations
HC:3204 Monitor stability of surface reservoirs such as settling ponds

HC:3301 Monitoring carbon capture storage reservoir leaks
HC:3302 Assessing ground deformation to support enhanced recovery operations
HC:3303 Monitoring effectiveness of steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations

HC:5302 Terrain stability for route planning


Input data sources

Radar: VHR1, VHR2, HR1, HR2, MR1

Optical: VHR1, VHR2, HR1, HR2

Supporting data:

  • Geological maps
  • Existing GIS data such as surface cover maps and topographic maps
  • Local knowledge
  • Published literature and reports
  • Digital elevation models (DEM)
  • Airborne geophysics
  • Air photo interpretation

Spatial resolution and coverage

Depends on source data resolution and project requirements. Low resolution DEM for basin wide exploration studies, higher resolution DEM and optical imagery (HR2 to VHR1) for development and infrastructure planning and design. 10 m resolution is adequate to highlight areas of active movement and areas of consistently standing water that impact permafrost.

InSAR analysis resolutions are sensor dependent:

Spatial resolution: 20x5 m / 3x3 m / 1x1 m pixel size

Coverage: 250x250 km / 100x100 km / 40x40 km / 30x30 km / 50x3 0km

Minimum Mapping Unit (MMU)

Depends on source data resolution and project requirements

Accuracy / constraints

Depends on source data resolution and project requirements

Accuracy assessment approach & quality control measures

Depends on source data resolution and project requirements

Frequency / timeliness

Depends on source data resolution and project requirements.

Observation frequency: Typically, only one date is required and can be archive data, subject to project requirements (deformation maps at a maximum of 24 days, 10 days preferred during freeze/thaw cycles). InSAR: constrained by satellite repeat cycle, typically 4-24 days. Appropriate satellites can be chosen in terms of spatial and temporal resolution. Image couples and multi-temporal SAR data stacks required for reservoir monitoring

Timeliness of delivery: Usually off-the-shelf data can be utilised. Commissioned data may be required in some cases e.g. for bespoke collection of VHR1 stereo data for high-resolution DEM production. Rapid delivery (<5 days) required in cases of post-earthquake event assessments.


Archived products are available for public search. Availability from on-demand commercial suppliers and other agencies - new acquisitions can be requested globally for higher resolution data (availability may be limited for specific dates).

Basic analysis can be performed quickly (24-48 hours) whilst integrated products require detailed analysis (2 weeks).

Delivery / output format

Data type:

  • Dependent on sensor/data source. Original DEM or derived datasets such as raster shaded-relief or vector (depending on Client requirements). Deformation maps colour coded to show relative magnitudes of deformations over areas of interest during the season and as correlated to previous years

File format:

  • Geotiff or shapefile (standard - any other OGC standard file formats)

 Download Product Sheet


Lead Author:TRE
Peer Reviewer:Hatfield Consultants


Alastair Belson

Document Title:

Reservoir management and optomisation

# of Pages:



Internal – Project consortium and science partners


External – ESA



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