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Technologies That Detect Oil and Gas Spills

In recent years, advancements in new oil and gas technologies have helped companies detect and prevent spills. These new advancements have proven effective, especially during growing public concern involving the environment.
Below are four promising detection technologies the oil and gas industry uses. And if you know of others, tweet us at @castagra or email us at
1. Natural Gas Leak Detection
From Synodon, patented and trademarked realSens is a highly-sensitive technology that offers the highest probability of detection and delivers actual gas plume images to operators. It also provides very low false positives and very accurate leak location coordinates.
2. Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR)
In open water conditions, SAR is used for its ability to see through clouds and darkness. It detects oil when radio waves bounce off orbiting satellites and off the surface of the sea. However, it does have difficulty differentiating between an oil slick and calm water, but it does provide a starting point for clean-up crews.

Monitoring the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill with SAR Data
3. Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR)
GPRs are used to detect any oil found under ice, sand, ground, or any surface. GPRs use high-frequency radar signals emitted from the surface to provide an image of the subsurface. But according to researchers, GPRs aren’t as effective when there is inconsistency in the surface. Meaning that any variation in thickness or ridges can scatter the GPR signal to make the picture less clear and oil spills harder to detect. Also, any presence of salt will absorb radar signals and weaken the reflection.
4. Infra-red (IR) Camera
Mounted on boats and airplanes, IRs are used to detect oil on the surface of water, snow, or ice through temperature and heat properties. It can also determine location and thickness of oil deposits. But there needs to be a clear sight of the oil in order for the IRs to work. Aptomar, a Norwegian technology company, has video of IRs at work.

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.