GEO INNOTER LLC performs monitoring of oil spills on the sea surface based on the results of decoding satellite radar images. An oil slick in the water area, due to its higher density relative to water, is clearly registered as a darker surface on radar images of even medium resolution.

Monitoring of oil spills on the sea surface solves the following tasks:

  • Identification of oil spill incidents;
  • Detection of fuel dumping from ships;
  • Information services works on the prevention and liquidation of emergency floods of oil and oil products;
  • Research, analysis and assessment of the environmental consequences of spills;
  • Estimate the drift direction of the oil slick.

Oil spill monitoring and environmental surveys are carried out in accordance with Federal legislation in the field of environmental protection in order to identify contaminated water areas and determine the cause of pollution.


Figure 1. Large oil spill in The black sea. Snapshot ENVISAT © ESA

Modern space facilities provide high-resolution and high-speed radar images.

In accordance with this, satellite radar images allow you to:

  • Promptly localize and assess the scale of contamination;
  • Assess the impact of pollution, including oil spills, on ecosystems;
  • Promptly regulate ground actions to eliminate the spill;
  • Significantly reduce the time of work due to visibility and speed of data acquisition.

Monitoring of oil spills on the sea surface is carried out in the following stages:

At the first stage, the selection of suitable archival radar images is performed, or a new survey is performed, in the current time period specified by the Customer.

Next, the initial processing of the radar image takes place to eliminate noise and clarify the geographical location of objects.


Figure 2. Delineation of leaks on offshore platforms. The ERDAS IMAGINE functionality is used

Then the processed image is automatically or semi-automatically decrypted to search for oil contamination. The analysis of the radar images with the purpose of locating polluted areas starts with detection on "suspicious" areas. Then-classification of oil pollution, natural slicks that have a biological nature (waste products, plankton, etc.) and the water surface under the influence of unfavorable conditions for shooting.

In radar images, oil spills are characterized by:

  • shape (oil pollution is characterized by a simple geometric shape);
  • edges (smooth border with a larger gradient than natural slicks);
  • size (too large spots are usually slicks of natural origin, such as algae or plankton accumulations);
  • geographical location (mainly, oil spills occur in areas of oil production or transportation routes of petroleum products).

The following types of oil pollution can be detected on the sea surface using synthetic aperture radars (SAR):

  • crude oil;
  • fuel oil, diesel fuel, etc.
  • removal of petroleum products from river runoff;
  • technological discharges from ships;
  • drilling water and sludge;
  • the yields of oil from springs on the sea bottom;
  • waste from the fishing industry.

The following vector layers are created as a result of decoding and classifying contamination:

  • Areas of oil pollution — 1 layer, the attribute table of which indicates the types and area of pollution;
  • Areas of contamination of natural origin — 1 layer;
  • Areas that require additional processing — 1 layer.

In conclusion, the final analytical report is drawn up, which reflects statistical, analytical and technical information about the work performed, and the General Register of polluted water bodies.

Monitoring of oil spills on the sea surface is necessary for oil companies and Organizations of the Ministry of natural resources of the Russian Federation to maintain a stable environmental situation and prevent violations in the field of environmental management.


Implementation mechanism:

by the Forces and means of GEO INNOTER LLC»: Receiving and processing satellite radar images, decoding and classifying images.

Advantages of GEO INNOTER LLC:

  • Extensive experience in monitoring oil spills on the sea surface.
  • Highly qualified employees working with remote sensing materials.
  • Latest software for photogrammetric processing of satellite images.
  • GEO INNOTER LLC is included in the list of expert companies of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation for the analysis of remote sensing materials and conducting expert examinations.
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