Seep & Slick Validation

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Increase confidence in oil source and chemical make-up with CGG’s full validation chain service.

  • Sampling and analysis of oil slicks
  • Confirm the origin and relevance of slicks
  • Prove source presence and exploration potential
  • Discriminate pollution slicks and link to source (e.g. ships, rigs)

The results of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) seepage studies should always be compared to collateral datasets. Mapped slicks can easily be correlated with locations of seep-related features expressed on multibeam swath bathymetry, high resolution (or shallow) seismic, or conventional seismic. This will demonstrate whether seepage slicks overlie plausible migration pathways, and could link the seep to potential source kitchens, or more significantly to leaking traps.

Full Validation Chain

It is likely that genuine seepage slicks will coincide with direct hydrocarbon indicators (phase reversals, flat spots, amplitude anomalies and gas blanking for example) on the seismic record. Surface seepage is also likely to overlie the location of seepage vents and bubble plumes. In many basins around the world, CGG already have such data for this initial validation phase.

However, greater value is achieved if the slicks can be sampled at sea and geochemical data obtained. There are a number of ways of achieving this, and in each case CGG provides the necessary expertise and equipment. Standard workflow for validation follows some or all of these steps:

  • Airborne surveys - slick spotting using low-flying light aircraft
  • Ship borne seep sampling surveys
  • Slick sampling and geochemical analysis
  • Multi-beam swath bathymetry surveys
  • Acquisition of drop cores and geochemical data
  • Integration of results with seismic


CGG have an agreement with Maritime Robotics to further bolster its validation chain with in-situ reconnaissance. The OceanEye system can be deployed from a rig or a ship to observe the position of slicks on the sea surface. From sea level, slicks can be difficult to identify. Therefore, a bird's eye view of the area can help to identify slicks in order to direct further operations. OceanEye can be deployed for long timescales (days-weeks) and is capable of operating in a range of weather conditions. It also becomes equipped with a suite of interchangeable instruments depending on the in-situ requirements (e.g. optical and infrared cameras).


A joint venture between Gardline and CGG provides additional geochemical survey capability to combine the services of opportunistic sea surface oil slick sampling and satellite-based seep identification via NPA Satellite Mapping - part of the CGG group, all under the same mobilization to ensure the most cost effective survey campaign.

GeoConsulting - Offshore Seeps

Offshore Seeps

Detection of active oil and gas seeps in frontier or under-explored basins to greatly reduce exploration risk
GeoConsulting - Ice Monitoring

Ice Monitoring

All-weather satellite monitoring of ice extents and concentration within a few hours of image acquisition.

GeoConsulting - Shallow Water Bathymetry

Shallow Water Bathymetry

Rapid depth assessment of shallow and clear coastal waters from multispectral satellite imagery.