Scotforth Ltd

We See Hydrocarbons

Exploration Methodology

Scotforth uses a multi-tool philosophy to exploration combining Hydrocarbon Lead Indicator (HLI) tools and Conventional (geological and geophysical) Lead Indicator tools in order to maximise exploration effectiveness.

In this holistic approach Scotforth utilises its own unique Remote Sensing Direct Detection of Hydrocarbons (RSDD-H) technology to produce our Direct Hydrocarbon Mapping (DHM) surveys. DHM surveys provide early identification of likely overall prospectivity and give input guidance to the geological modelling and risking of PRPs in identified (CLI and/or HLI) prospects. Moreover, they can now also provide guidance on the selection of optimal well locations for new prospect drilling, for appraisal of discoveries and for field development drilling.

DHM surveying is increasingly progressing towards very high levels of effectiveness in many basins and countries. Further details on this performance can be found here


More specifically RSDD-H technology can be outlined as follows:


1. What is RSDD-H:

RSDD-H processes satellite imagery to detect variations in Electromagnetic Radiation at ground level. These variations or "anomalous features" can be indicative of the presence of subsurface hydrocarbons across landscapes.

The science of sub-surface hydrocarbons causing changes in surface landscapes is long proven and well known. These changes happen as a result of the self-organising system of natural geophysical, geochemical, bio-geochemical and geo-botanical processes that occur in nature. Their effects are proven both theoretically and empirically and have been written about in numerous published scientific journals / papers (See AAPG Studies in Geology No. 48, by example).

Through the use of satellite imagery RSDD-H recognises and captures these hydrocarbon-induced changes. We do this by using processing which has been developed through decades of research and development and which analyses many sets of satellite images to identify variances therein which can be indicative of the presence of hydrocarbons. Scotforth has built a large inventory of proven field examples of such “Hydrocarbon Footprints” around the world, in numerous onshore basins and in most of the primary ecosystems of the planet. These attest to the merits of RSDD-H in detecting undrilled hydrocarbon prospects.

As these variations or “Anomalies” in radiation are from across the Electromagnetic Spectrum they are not typically recognisable to the naked eye on the visual bandwidth of satellite images or apparent on an area-wide basis in the natural landscape, as viewed by the eye.


2. The RSDD-H Process:

An RSDD-H survey takes numerous satellite images in any survey area and processes them under various specific algorithms to search for “Anomalies” (or "HLIs"). Identified Anomalies /  HLIs range in quality, characteristic and size and are tested against high resolution landscape composite images to determine whether they coincide with any particular landscape unit or terrain condition. They can then be classified progressively into likely “true” hydrocarbon anomalies, false positives or false negatives.

Once false positives / negatives have been removed the remaining Anomalies are then mapped to provide an inventory of exploration leads and prospects  (the “Prospect Inventory” or “PI”) which are then exploration risked and geologically modelled for their possible petroleum resource potential (PRP”).

RSDD-H processing takes place according to the type of survey either:

  • Area-wide
  • At local play fairway / licence block coverage or at
  • Local prospect / field level.

 Further details of the science behind remote sensing and how we utilise it in our DHM methodology can be found here.


3. The Exploration Product:

A PRP prognosis of RSDD-H surveyed lands is the primary product. This may be basin-wide, play fairway wide or more localised, such as by Licence blocks or by discrete prospects. The mapped and ranked PI of modelled (unrisked and risked) PRPs (aligned with the widely used PRMS petroleum resource categories of the AAPG/SPE and Canadian NI51-101 scheme) identifies acreages of high exploration interest for new ventures, oil and gas leasing  and/or areas for prioritised exploration progression within Licence blocks. Individual prospects can be ranked and preferred locations for drilling determined. 

For more information, please see our products page.

To enquire about how we might help meet your exploration needs, please get in touch via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.