Oil and Gas - Global Seeps

Oil seep information is valuable to oil exploration companies for the detection and monitoring of natural seepage and oil pollution on the ocean’s surface.

Global Seeps is a non-exclusive database of offshore oil slicks constructed by systematically screening the world’s offshore basins, using a wide range of archive and newly programmed satellite data.

The database contains over 22,000 potential seepage slicks identified including slick source points, slick vectors, probably slick types and confidence levels.

All data is immediately available on a local, regional or global licence and new acquisition can be programmed according to user request.

Global Seeps data is a cost-effective resource for risk-ranking prior to new exploration regions and for baseline oil pollution mapping.

Repeat slick mapped on 6 dates of imagery

Key Benefits:

Derived using both archive and newly programmed satellite imagery, Global Seeps is the definitive off-the-shelf offshore oil slick database for the worldwide exploration industry.

  • Worldwide dual coverage data
  • Accuracy – high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data ensures all slicks are captured.
  • Slick characterisation – identifying natural seepage and man-made pollution
  • Scalable and future proof – upgraded with new data and new areas
  • Availability – GIS ready results delivered direct to the customer
  • Airbus Defence and Space can host the dataset making it available to multiple users across an organisation using secure web access
  • Annual subscription services available.

Key Applications:

  • Screening of fronties basins
  • Risk-ranking prior to new exploration
  • Obtaining spatial characteristics of the oil slick over areas of existing production
  • Planning surface geochemical programs
  • Seismic planning and integration
  • Tool to link geological interpretation from onshore to offshore
  • Environmental monitoring: environmental risk assessment, impact statement or full environmental baseline.

Data Specification:

The database is delivered as a plug and go GIS product and is available on a local, regional or global licence – it contains the following deliverables:

  • Scene interpretation results including scene outlines, metocean interpretation Slick interpretation results including slick source points, slick vectors, probable slick type and confidence levels;
  • Digital geo-coded calibrated data for the full scene at 100m resolutionSlick subset images at 25m resolution.


Oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico


Total area covered exceeds 60 million sq km


There’s an oil spill every day off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., where oil is seeping naturally from cracks in the seafloor into the ocean. Lighter than seawater, the oil floats to the surface. Some 20 to 25 tons of oil are emitted each day. (Photo by Dave Valentine, University of California, Santa Barbara)


Tar found in the ocean offshore Point Conception, California. Photo: US Geological Survey Leaks of oil from fields below the ocean can serve both as an exploration indicator and as a source of environmental damage.


Methane bubbles flow in small streams out of the sediment on an area of seafloor offshore Virginia north of Washington Canyon. Quill worms, anemones, and patches of microbial mat can be seen in and along the periphery of the seepage area.


An indescent sheen surrounds a drop of crude oil that seeped up from deposits under the Gulf seafloor


Global Seeps coverage around Australia displaying major offshore basins

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