Archive for September 26, 2013

Like an army, science needs the high ground. This is true when it comes to oil exploration and especially so in the rugged landscape of Norway. The Virtual Outcrop Geology (VOG) group at the Norwegian Centre for integrated petroleum research (CIPR) is working to capture this vantage point in a distinctly 21st century way, by using UAVs to seek out oil by helping geologists build 3D models of the terrain.

We tend to think of oil exploration as taking place on desert plains or out in the ocean, but finding oil deposits depends on having a comprehensive understanding of local geology, which is one reason why the question of how much oil we have left sparks so much argument – there’s still so much we don’t know about most of the Earth. By studying the Norwegian terrain and matching it up with other data, such as that gathered from seismographs and core drilling, geologists can build up a three-dimensional picture of what’s going on beneath the ground – both on land and under the sea.

Researcher Aleksandra Sima at Bergen’s CIPR with drone controls