July 2020


Continued Low Prices and Transition from Fossil Fuels leads to Adoption Window for Sky Hunter


Oil companies see continuing pressure to show a profit and dividends for their shareholders. Production increases are not the benchmark for investors, project that make money is. Sky Hunter’s data and mapping shorten the development cycle on new projects and can indicate which projects won’t see the light of day. Staff shortages will require oil and gas location (Sky Hunter data) driven project evaluations

U.S. Energy Information Administration


Release Date: July 7, 2020

Sky Hunter Technology- A Cleantech Solution for the Petroleum Industry

The petroleum industry has been seen recently as an outmoded method for fulfilling our energy needs. This viewpoint has spurred innovations and advancements in renewable energy generation, which will play an increasingly important role in our energy future. However, we live in a world that is fuelled by petroleum products and that relies on petroleum products for many of our day-to-day needs. There is no doubt that our requirements for petroleum will drive extraction for many decades to come so now is the time to invest in technologies that help us to find and produce these resources in a responsible manner, with a much smaller environmental footprint and at lower cost. Sky Hunter’s Cleantech Solution will play an important role in a modern petroleum exploration and production industry. This moment in the Canadian and global economy is the perfect time to operationalize this ground breaking technology.

A petroleum industry primer

There are three phases in the petroleum development cycle, all of which would be optimized using Sky Hunter Technology. These three phases are:

1. Exploration. Traditional methods use land-based two dimensional and three dimensional seismic programs to delineate areas with petroleum potential;

2. Production. Drilling wells to prove and exploit the petroleum resources;

3. Gathering and distribution. Extracted resources are transported to a centralized location and typically moved to market via pipelines.

What is Sky Hunter Technology?

Developed in conjunction with aerospace engineers at MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates and the Department of Astronomy and Environmental Physics at the University of Calgary, our proprietary patented technology is a specialized Airborne Hydrocarbon Sensing System (AHSS) that is deployed on a fixed wing aircraft. This sensor detects airborne hydrocarbons in the atmosphere, at very low concentrations. When these data are processed using our proprietary software, we are able to develop maps that indicate below-ground concentrations of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas).

How can the Sky Hunter Technology be used? 

1. Exploration Application 

The initial application for this technology was developed to provide an additional tool for petroleum exploration that could be used to pinpoint areas for focused conventional exploration techniques, which are costly and time-consuming. The Sky Hunter Technology is an efficient exploration tool that works in a cost-effective manner by flying a linear grid pattern at low altitude over large areas. The processed data reveals areas of potential interest for focused seismic programs to delineate the hydrocarbon reservoirs. The benefits 2 of this technology used for this application are: 

• Mapping undiscovered oil and gas reservoirs 

• Surveying remote, difficult-to-access areas quickly and easily 

• Increasing the speed of surveys by 100 fold over conventional ground-based techniques, up to 750 line kilometers per day 

• Providing surveys at a fraction of the cost for seismic (20 times cheaper) 

• Offers surveys with a laser focus: provides data points at 35m spacing along flight lines, which provides a very detailed plan view of the surveyed area 

• Diminishes data processing time dramatically compared with seismic data processing times 

• Applicable in a broad climatic range: AHSS has been proven in temperature ranges from -20°C to 40°C 

• Effective in terrestrial, offshore and transition zone environments 

• Minimizes environmental footprint compared to ground-based techniques 

• Avoids excess permitting requirements as operations are non-invasive. 

This technology does not replace seismic because it does not provide information about the depth of hydrocarbons below surface. The Sky Hunter Technology output provides the basis for targeted seismic programs that are greatly reduced in size, which minimizes the environmental impacts associated with the more intrusive ground-based techniques. 

When combined with seismic, our technology results in fewer dry holes (wells drilled that do not contain hydrocarbons or will not be economical to produce). This translates to higher success ratios, higher profits, and a lower per barrel finding cost. 

2. Production Application 

Existing Active Developments 

Sky Hunter Technology can be used to optimize production for petroleum plays that have been drilled and partially exploited. When deployed over a producing field, AHSS highlights the undrained compartments of the reservoir and provides the information that geologists and engineers need to enhance production in their active developments. 

Oil Sands Production 

For oil sands that are being produced with Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), which is an in-situ rather than a mining technique, our technology provides a predictive tool related to the behaviour of the steam below ground. This allows producers to better target their 3 drilling pad placement and efficiently deplete the reservoir. This efficiency translates on the environmental front to lower surface disturbance and lower impacts. On the cost side, this allows oil to be produced at a lower cost per barrel, which makes production more competitive when oil prices are lower. For this application, we survey with a much tighter line spacing to produce maps at an appropriate level of detail. 

This application provides Sky Hunter with an opportunity to provide recurring service over the life of a producing field. 

3. Gathering and Distribution Application 

Efficient and Cost-Effective Distribution 

The outputs of our system allow oil and gas companies to identify high potential local areas within their area of interest in advance of any investment in seismic or drilling programs. This provides an opportunity for pre-planning of gathering and distribution infrastructure that is far more efficient than the status quo, an iterative process reliant on phased access to field information as exploration activities progress. Here again, the results of a thoughtful and measured planning process supported by tangible data reduce surface impacts and production costs. 

Pipeline Leak Detection 

Because our sensor is so sensitive and our data processing is so efficient, we believe there is exciting potential for this technology to be used for pipeline leak detection, which is an ongoing operational need for pipeline operators and is an issue of substantial public concern. Monitoring pipelines over long distances and in remote or difficult terrain can be cost prohibitive and time consuming. Any new methods that increase public confidence and improve the environmental track record of pipelines are well worth exploring and we believe there is a role for Sky Hunter Technology to play. 

Sky Hunter Technology is unique in the marketplace 

We hold Canadian, American and Australian patents to protect our intellectual property. Sky Hunter Technology is the only airborne collection system that can detect complex suites of hydrocarbons from dry gas (methane) to liquids-rich wet gas and heavier oils. These hydrocarbons are measured in the atmosphere above pressured oil and natural gas reservoirs trapped below the earth’s surface. Our system can be used to support all phases of exploration, field development and operations. Our application supports optimized field development in mature basins, such as in Canada and the United States. It is equally applicable to immature petroleum production areas internationally that either have low drilling densities or have previously been uneconomical to develop. 

Our technology has been deployed in offshore and onshore environments in Canada, Australia and the United States. We are developing additional programs in Canada, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Nigeria, Angola, Namibia, and Paraguay; all of which are areas with substantial untapped petroleum potential. 


Study Result: Good Correspondence between Microseep and Seismic Maps

A University of Calgary Study indicates good matching between our micro seep
data and 3D seismic in north central Alberta. The Gilwood is the formation
of interest.


Presentation November 6 at CGEF Conference

Sky Hunter is pleased to present at the Canadian Global Exploration Forum, with Canadian companies, and Brazil oil and gas industry speakers for a unique one-day conference on onshore opportunities in Brazil.


Sky Hunter and McPhar at Geo India 2018

Sky Hunter and McPhar International have an Agreement to contract for and execute hydrocarbon micro seep surveys in India and countries to the east. As a kick off, Russ Duncan and Ken Bradley meet with several of McPhar’s clients and joined McPhar at the Geo India 2018 event in Noida in early September. 


Sky Hunter presents at Rice Alliance Venture Forum, Houston

Sky Hunter was pleased to participate in the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship on September 13, 2018 in Houston.