SAR Interfeometry (InSAR) provides high precision ground displacement measurements remotely, using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images acquired from satellites.
Thanks to its effective provision of extensive information over wide areas with high acquisition frequency, InSAR monitoring is used routinely in the management of numbers of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) projects. These include heavy oil Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS), Steam Flooding (SF) and Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) in Alberta and California.
Steam injection recovery is generally operated in shallow reservoirs with low caprock thickness, where measuring the surface effects of pressure variations at depth is extremely useful to assess steam chest expansion and enhance safety. InSAR monitoring provides low-cost effective measurements over large areas and is capable of highlighting zones of excessive pressure or subsidence, as well as to control the integrity and safety of operations and infrastructures.
This paper presents an overview of InSAR technologies and their recent enhancements. Some examples of InSAR application in EOR heavy oil projects are reported in order to highlight the advantages offered by these monitoring techniques in reservoir management and recovery optimization.