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Remote Surveillance of Differential Deformation for Kazakhstan Offshore Kashagan Oilfield Using Microwave Satellite Remote Sensing

Bayramov, Emil; Tessari, Giulia; Kada, Martin; Aliyeva, Saida; Buchroithner, Manfred

The primary objective of this study was to assess differential vertical and horizontal deformations for the offshore Kashagan oilfield located in the Northern Caspian Sea. Sentinel-1 (SNT1) and COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images (9 January 2018–6 April 2022) were processed using persistent scatterer interferometric SAR (PS-InSAR) technique with further 2D decomposition of line-of-sight (LOS) measurements to differential vertical and horizontal deformations. Differential vertical deformation velocity was observed to be between −4 mm/y and 4 mm/y, whereas horizontal was between −4 mm/y and 5 mm/y during 2018–2022. However, it was possible to observe the spatial deformation patterns with the subsidence hotspots reaching differential cumulative vertical displacement of −20 mm from both satellite missions. PS-InSAR differential vertical deformation measurements derived from SNT1 and CSK satellite images showed identical spatial patterns with moderate agreement, whereas poor agreement was observed for differential horizontal deformations. The differential vertical deformation hotspots were observed for the oilfield areas installed on piles with obviously higher vulnerability to dynamic movements. Through this study, based on the interferometric measurements, marine geotechnical expert feedback, and no reported deformation-related incidents since 2013, it was possible to conclude that the Kashagan oilfield had not been impacted by significant differential vertical and horizontal deformations on the oilfield. However, since long-term GPS measurements were not accessible from the oilfield to be used as the reference for PS-InSAR measurements, we were not able to judge the long-term displacements of the entire oilfield or possible oscillations, even though it is built on the artificial island. Considering the broad range of PS-InSAR measurements using time-series radar images, the interferometric measurements could play a significant role in the prioritization of insitu risk assessment activities, operational cost reduction, strengthening of safety factors, and planning of further targeted insitu measurements.
Published in: Remote Sensing, 10.3390/rs15194754, MDPI