Realtime offshore oil field monitoring for detection, verification, and classification of oil types brings the industry from a reactive to proactive behavior. Early warning, day or night, with exact levels of hydrocarbon in the sea. No more false positives / alarms from OSD radars; no more waiting for satellite. No more water sampling that needs to be sent to the lab.
Ocean Visuals has been working closely with the Petrobras R&D Remote Sensing team since 2018. Petrobras and Ocean Visuals have designed a sensor system and a method that incorporates Petrobras’ wanted position in detection, verification, and classification of oil in water, in real time.


Offshore oil companies operate large fleets of Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs). These vessels perform their duties on the oil fields next to production units like drillships, FPSOs, and rigs. They are a valuable, existing resource and they represent vessels of opportunity as carries of SEA OWL™ sensors. Petrobras installed an Ocean Visuals SEA OWL™ sensor aboard the "Marlin Stolmen", an Oil Spill Response Vessel (OSRV) operated by the Bravante Group in Brazil. The vessel typically operates in offshore production fields on behalf of Petrobras.‚Äč 

The Petrobras R&D Center (CENPES) has a group that evaluates and build new technologies for safety and the environment, where Dr. Cristina Maria Bentz develops research in the field of remote sensing. One of the focuses is to evaluate and create new tools for the detection, verification, and classification of oil in water in real time, without having to manage water samples to be sent to a laboratory. To achieve this goal, in addition to field tests, a custom spectral oil library has been built in collaboration with the Ocean Visuals experts. The Ocean Visuals team works closely with the Petrobras Remote Sensing team and trained them in acquiring the spectral signatures of several known types of oil.

The spectral signatures are stored in a database inside the SEA OWL™ lidar sensor aboard the vessel. Once the sensor detects a combination of hydrocarbon molecules in the water, that spectral signature is compared with the signature residing in the database. This way, real time detection, verification, and classification of oil type is performed, autonomously.
We have integrated our OWL™MAP software with geographic information system (GIS), a system that creates, manages, analyzes, and maps all types of data. GIS connects data to a map, integrating location data (where things are) with all types of descriptive information (what things are like there).This way, Petrobras receives SEA OWL™ sensor data directly to their operations centre.

"We see a lot of potential benefits from using this technology", says Dr. Cristina Maria Bentz of Petrobras R&D. First, the time and cost-saving to verify suspicious features in real time, without oil or water sampling, decreased false alarms. Second, the evaluation of oil type, concentration and/or thickness. And third, the promising detection of oil in the water column to the depth of laser penetration.

About Petrobras:
Petrobras is a publicly held Brazilian corporation that operates in an integrated and specialized manner in the oil, natural gas, and energy industries.

Petrobras is recognized worldwide for their oil and natural gas exploration and production technology in ultra-deep waters. However, the business goes beyond the reach of the field and oil and gas extraction. This means a long process where they transport oil and gas to their refineries and natural gas treatment units, which is equipped and constantly evolving to supply the best products.


Offshore oil field monitoring may also be performed by airborne sensors like our ELF OWL™ aboard light airplanes, helicopters, or drones. For enforcement agencies and big oil we have developed the AIR OWL™ sensor in close collaboration with Norwegian Special Mission (NSM).

Click on Airborne Surveillance in Cases to read more.


Welcome to Ocean Visuals

Ocean Visuals AS is a Norwegian company providing sensor systems for early detection of oil and organics in water.