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Permian Pulse: Using Satellite Imagery Analytics To Track the World’s Busiest Oil Play

Satellite imagery provider Planet’s “Dove” miniature satellites deployed from the International Space Station. Among their many functions, Doves capture a high-level view of surging upstream activity in the Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Source: NASA.

A trip on Highway 285 between Fort Stockton, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico, is both fascinating and horrifying for the average commuter in the US desert Southwest.

The 140-mile stretch of two-lane road can take hours to traverse on a given day as trucks hauling crude oil, sand, water, chemicals, and petroleum equipment overload the battered, sun-fried pavement. The mostly flat, dusty landscape is populated by drilling rigs, workover rigs, and gas flares as far as the eye can see. Even on the highway’s best day, most traffic laws are ignored as oilfield workers in pickup trucks race from site to site.

The industrial chaos along the corridor serves as a snapshot of the now multiyear industry boom in the Delaware Basin and greater, 75,000-sq-mile Permian Basin.

Keeping track of it all has become a massive challenge for operators, service firms, and midstream companies that make the basin move. They work in an environment that is changing daily, and they can’t afford to be caught by surprise when hydraulically fracturing a well, building infrastructure, delivering equipment to a remote area, or prospecting for new business.

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Permian Pulse: Using Satellite Imagery Analytics To Track the World’s Busiest Oil Play

Matt Zborowski, Technology Writer

01 December 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 12

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