Mapping Oilfield Brine Contaminated Sites with Mid-Spatial Resolution Remotely Sensed Data
An environmental problem associated with petroleum production is the disposal of brine, which is produced during petroleum exploration and production. Oilfield brine, if improperly handled, transported, and disposed of, can pose a serious threat to surrounding water resources, arable lands, and plant communities. Although field checking of known oilfield brine-contaminated sites is relatively straightforward, the ability to detect and inventory brine-contaminated sites over remote and expansive areas can be time consuming and expensive. A more efficient and cost-effective method is needed to delineate brine-contaminated sites accurately. The chief aim of this project was to test a remote sensing method to map accurately and quantify contaminated oilfield brine sites in west Texas. Landsat ETM+ data of west Texas were obtained, de-correlated with a three-band dataset using principal component analysis (PCA), and classified into brine and non-brine locations using supervised classification with a maximum likelihood classification algorithm. Results show the Landsat ETM+ data is effective in quantifying previously unknown oilfield brine contaminated areas larger than 2 acres in west Texas. Overall map accuracy was 91.67%, user’s accuracy was 87.50% for brine-contaminated sites, and the kappa statistic was 82.35%. Once contaminated brine sites have been mapped via remote sensing, the spatial location and quantity of the sites can make land reclamation and restoration decisions more timely and cost-effectively compared to traditional ground surveys.
Unger, Daniel; Bowes, Cindy; Farrish, Kenneth W.; and Hung, I-Kuai, "Mapping Oilfield Brine Contaminated Sites with Mid-Spatial Resolution Remotely Sensed Data" (2013). Faculty Publications. 34.