Category: News

17 Aug 2018

OptaSense designation “Qualified Supplier” of North Sea

OptaSense recently earned the designation “Qualified Supplier” by Achilles JQS, the leading industry initiative for pre-qualifying suppliers in the Nordic market. This prestigious designation ensures that buyers in the North Sea oil and gas market can trust OptaSense to provide reliable service that meets all Nordic environmental and regulatory requirements.

19 Oct 2016

OptaSense Collaborates with Leading Research Institution to Install Fiber Optic Seismic Array

OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, announces a collaborative research agreement with the Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences that includes the installation of an on-campus fiber optic seismic array.

Using OptaSense distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology to sense ambient noise and seismic energy, the seismic array will enable scientists to conduct research in passive seismology. Located adjacent to a major geologic fault zone, the San Andreas Fault, the seismic array will be used to image subsurface properties that provide scientists a better understanding of the complex geology in the Bay Area.

The seismic array will leverage a two kilometer long, standard telecommunications fiber optic cable. The OptaSense DAS system will transform this fiber into thousands of distributed sensors capable of detecting changes in pressure, temperature and strain. A single fiber can create a seismic array with thousands of channels, allowing for dense sampling of seismic wavefields and the ability to detect weak signals.

Utilizing a Coherent Optical Time Domain Reflectometer, or Interrogator Unit (IU), the OptaSense system sends laser pulses down the length of the fiber to measure and observe changes in the backscattered light, indicating movement in the earth adjacent to the fiber.

In addition to enabling research in seismology, the OptaSense DAS system will support potential studies in fields such as structural engineering, communications, infrastructure monitoring, and security.

“Collaborating with one of the world’s foremost academic institutions is particularly exciting for OptaSense. For the first time, we are putting our DAS technology into the hands of the academic community and working with them to explore new applications and techniques. Through this collaboration we will be able to mature the understanding and expand the capabilities of DAS for the benefit of the wider seismic community,” commented David Hill, Chief Technology Officer at OptaSense.

28 Apr 2015

OptaSense and Weatherford partner to deliver integrated well surveillance solutions

Farnborough, 28 April, 2015: OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, and Weatherford International plc have partnered in a strategic alliance to deliver integrated optical sensing solutions designed to optimize well planning, construction and production across the asset lifecycle.

The partnership combines OmniWell™ in-well optical production and reservoir monitoring systems from Weatherford with optical Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) technology from OptaSense, including DAS-VSP™ vertical seismic profiling (VSP), DAS-HFP™ hydraulic fracture monitoring and DAS-Flow™ production flow monitoring.  These capabilities will provide customers with robust and actionable information that improves reservoir management and ultimate recovery.

Weatherford’s sensing technology includes pressure and temperature gauges, distributed temperature sensing, array temperature sensing, flow measurement, and seismic sensors.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense, said “When Weatherford sensing technology is combined with DAS technology from OptaSense, the solution will deliver enhanced data acquisition and monitoring of seismic activity, well construction, completion and fracture operations, and production flow. In addition to acquiring accurate data in real time, OptaSense DAS technology can also reduce data acquisition costs by eliminating the need for well intervention.”

OptaSense’s innovative DAS technology offering complements Weatherford’s proven high reliability in-well technology. Together, these technologies provide a more complete, integrated, well surveillance solution. It will include multi-point and distributed VSP acquisition, production flow monitoring and hydraulic fracture monitoring, enhanced with microseismic imaging—which are critical in optimizing well performance.  The solution will also add value to customers with existing optical systems who are interested in DAS acoustic monitoring.

Weatherford and OptaSense have established a leading position in providing optical reservoir monitoring systems around the globe, installing and/or monitoring optical sensing solutions for more than 1,000 wells.

Both companies will continue to offer their respective products and services independently but together they will bring forward an integrated solution that delivers long term value to the customer.

19 Feb 2015

Fourth generation OptaSense Distributed Acoustic Sensing system provides the highest data quality for borehole imaging

Farnborough, 19 February 2015: OptaSense, a QinetiQ company and global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), has successfully demonstrated improved sensitivity of its DAS Interrogator Unit (IU).

As part of its ongoing product development, a pre-production version of the 4th generation of the OptaSense DAS IU was used to acquire a Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP) on a Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) well during customer trials this month in North America. In these tests the new 4th generation IU achieved the targeted 6dB increase, a four times increase in sensitivity over the previous 3rd generation system.

The next generation ODH4 Interrogator Unit will also have a wider receive bandwidth, finer spatial resolution and greater programmable flexibility so it can be operated simultaneously in one or more acquisition modes. These features will be implemented in the commercial release of the 4th generation IU due in Summer 2015.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense said, “The development of this 4th generation system once again pushes the boundaries of known performance. Our DAS-VSP™ service is already reducing the cost of data acquisition. Our 5th generation system, which is in development with Shell, is also showing great gains that will see OptaSense DAS capability deliver on an extremely ambitious technical target.”

The 4th generation IU will acquire higher quality DAS-VSP™ measurements, enabling geophysicists to see clearer images of the subsurface with the unique flexibility afforded by acquiring seismic measurement on an optical fibre deployed downhole.

The 4th generation IU is also expected to improve microseismic monitoring with smaller events now detectable, and flow monitoring where the simultaneous use of more than one acquisition mode will extend the ability of DAS to accurately measure inflow and axial flow rates across the length of the well.

22 Nov 2014


November 21st, 2014

Transaction Helps Accelerate OptaSense Growth In VSP Services

Farnborough, 21 November 2014: QinetiQ has acquired the seismic processing and imaging capability of SR2020 Inc for a purchase price of up to $1.7m. The transaction, completed yesterday, accelerating the development of QinetiQ subsidiary OptaSense by providing it with state of the art VSP and microseismic imaging services to complement its proprietary DAS-VSP™ acquisition capability.

The transaction will allow OptaSense to provide customers with not only the subsurface seismic data but also analysis, advice and interpretation of the seismic data using world class geophysicists to produce a subsurface image, in an end-to-end service.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense, said: “We have worked with SR2020 to use their ProVSP tool to process our unique DAS-VSP™ data for our customers with excellent results. We are pleased to add their patented capability in high definition borehole seismic imaging to our service offerings. ProVSP is ideally suited to imaging long array data like that of OptaSense DAS-VSP™ and this acquisition adds a team of world class borehole geophysicists to OptaSense that will help deliver an enhanced understanding to our customers ”

Borehole seismic surveys, commonly known as Vertical Seismic Profiling (VSP), have been an industry standard technique for several decades but traditionally require well intervention to insert geophone strings into the well bore. OptaSense DAS-VSP™, which was awarded the Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Excellence in the geosciences category at the E&P Awards 2013, provides operators with the opportunity to obtain high definition borehole seismic images without well intervention which reduces the costs and risk associated well intervention.

The products and service capability acquired from SR2020 will enable OptaSense to offer the full range of Seismic services including VSP and Microseismic acquisition, processing, modelling and interpretation.

For further information please contact:

02 Oct 2014

OptaSense recognised for improving the safety of hydraulic fracturing

October 2nd, 2014

Selected as finalist for World Oil Award in HSE / sustainable development category

Farnborough, 2 October 2014: OptaSense, a QinetiQ company and global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), has been recognised for its contribution to improving the safety of hydraulic fracturing. OptaSense’s DAS Hydraulic Fracture Profiling (DAS-HFP) service has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious World Oil Award in the Best Health, Safety & Environment / Sustainable Development Onshore, category.

The DAS-HFP service is used within hydraulic fracture operations where OptaSense technology is not only used to improve the operational efficiency of hydraulic fracture stimulation but also provides a real-time monitoring capability to verify well integrity.

OptaSense helps operators manage unplanned events such as flow behind casing, casing leaks and ruptures, casing collapse and isolation failures between stimulation stages. This not only has economic value for optimising a hydraulic fracturing program but also delivers significant value for environmental monitoring of fracture fluid break-through into other subsurface formations and freshwater aquifers due to wellbore barrier failure.

Currently the American Petroleum Institute (API) regulatory guidelines state that the internal conduit of the well must be isolated from the surface and subsurface environments. However, conventional technologies are typically limited to pressure measurements at the wellhead and are inadequate for real-time detection and characterisation of most failures other than catastrophic ones.

By contrast, the OptaSense DAS system provides a means to directly measure and monitor the performance of these barriers from wellhead to toe continuously and in real-time. The system is used to detect, localise and characterise barrier failure. It also detects fluid communication behind casing, casing collapse, and leaks through or between casing strings, many of which are unnoticed by conventional monitoring methods.

The World Oil Award nomination recognises that the real-time data OptaSense delivers provides invaluable information to operators, greatly minimising the environmental cost of a leak, due to early detection.

Magnus McEwen-King, OptaSense Managing Director, said: “It is an honour to be recognised alongside the major service companies in one of the industry’s most prestigious awards. Our DAS-HFP service is just one of several services provided over fibre-optics that improve the efficiency and safety of hydraulic fracture operations. Distributed fibre-optic sensing has the potential to provide monitoring throughout the life of the well. The ability to monitor the whole wellbore continuously enables operators to confirm wellbore integrity and better understand, diagnose and correct sources of failure to improve operational effectiveness.”

In this year alone, OptaSense has won two prestigious Queen’s Awards for Innovation and Export and was a finalist for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert award, the UK’s longest running national prize for engineering.

The winners of the World Oil Awards will be announced at the ceremony held at the Houstonian Hotel in Houston, Texas, on Thursday 16 October.

For further information please contact:

About OptaSense

  • OptaSense is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the QinetiQ Group.
  • OptaSense is a platform technology which has applications in a number of markets, including infrastructure security where the technology is already in use to monitor 13,000kms of assets, principally providing leak detection and third party intrusion detection for oil and gas pipelines.
  • OptaSense is the World leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing and operating in 40 countries globally with operations across multiple industries including Oil & Gas, Defence & Security, Transport and Utilities.
  • Website:
05 Sep 2014

OptaSense and Shell install world’s first permanent DAS production flow monitoring system

September 5th, 2014

DAS-Flow system provides real time flow measurements on-demand

Farnborough, 5, September 2014: OptaSense, part of the QinetiQ Group, is pleased to announce that its on-going relationship with Shell International Exploration & Production B.V. has resulted in delivery of the world’s first permanent fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) in-well production flow monitoring system, in North America

The production flow monitoring system continuously monitors a well through on-demand measurements of flow along the entire well bore.  The DAS-Flow™ project marks the latest milestone in a product development agreement signed between the companies in 2009.

The DAS-Flow™ system has now been in service for three months after being developed by the OptaSense and Shell teams. Flow reports are sent through a secure network system allowing the asset team to gain a better understanding of well flow performance with no requirement for potentially costly well intervention activity.

Magnus McEwen-King, managing director of OptaSense, commented: “We have enjoyed a successful working relationship with Shell over several years; the creation and now installation of the world’s first permanent fibre-optic DAS production flow monitoring system is a significant step forward for the industry. The DAS-Flow™ system provides our customers with on demand well bore flow measurements which provide operators a real time view that can be used to optimise oil & gas production. There is a high potential optimization value to be realized within the industry with the advent of more detailed flow information across individual well production and injection zones.

“OptaSense is the global leader in DAS technology including hardware performance, software and data interpretation. With commercial services available in hydraulic fracture profiling, production flow monitoring and vertical seismic profiling (VSP), OptaSense is transforming the ability to understand in real-time what is happening along the well bore.”

For further information please contact:

13 Feb 2014

OptaSense Wins Industry First Contract for Multi-Well 4D Distributed Vertical Seismic Profile

February 13th, 2014

First multi-well simultaneous vertical seismic profiling project to assist in monitoring enhanced oil recovery

OptaSense, the global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), has contracted with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to provide the industry’s first multi-well 4D DAS vertical seismic profiling (VSP) system.

OptaSense will deploy its industry proven DAS fibre-optic technology to monitor and map the performance of up to 12 steam-injected oil wells in a brownfield development at South Oman Salt Basin. The service contract for time-lapse measurements is for three years, with a further two optional years and scalable scope of work, for deployment in multiple production settings.

Salim Rawahi, PDO GeoSolutions Manager said: “We see this as a start of deployment of DAS technology in different reservoir monitoring programmes in PDO ranging from 4D, micro seismic to fluid flow measurements.  The versatility of the fibre-optic technology will not only provide us with potentially more accurate data in different hostile subsurface environment, but will also provide us with a means of measuring different reservoir and fluid properties simultaneously”.

OptaSense will record seismic signals from fibre-optic cables attached to each well’s production tubing, permanently installed and linked to a surface data gathering centre. The final processed data set will be integrated into PDOs reservoir models, and assist in the determination of fluid substitution through production and hence contribute towards the positioning of infill wells.

Vertical Seismic Profiling (VSP) in 3D is a recognised alternative to surface seismic data acquisition in  challenging environments of accurate subsurface imaging.  Weighed against the use of geophones, OptaSense’s DAS technology provides benefits in 3D VSP which include:

  • Low-cost on-demand acquisition: permanent cable installation allows VSP delivery at any time significantly simplifying time-lapse measurements
  • Non intrusive: slim line cables can be deployed in wells inaccessible to geophones, with no well intervention required once the fibre-optic cable is installed
  • Synergies with other systems and retrofitting capabilities: existing fibre-optic cabling can be used for VSP
  • Full vertical coverage: the DAS cable extends over the entire length of a well, allowing for increased lateral imaging
  • Simultaneous VSP acquisition of multiple contiguous wells, without the need to repeat surface source effort.

OptaSense Managing Director Magnus McEwen-King said: “This contract is a key milestone for OptaSense and for the acceptance of DAS as a highly accurate, cost effective solution in seismic monitoring. Above all it represents a breakthrough to enhanced oil recovery, where well infrastructure can create significant challenges to surface seismic data capture and geophones provide only limited well cover. In this situation, only DAS-VSP is capable of delivering a field-scale commercial application by providing accurate coverage of multiple wells.”

OptaSense’s DAS technology is deployed in a wide range of applications in the oil and gas industry including hydraulic fracture profiling, production flow monitoring and VSP. The company’s business focus is on delivering innovation in hardware performance, software and data interpretation and it is transforming the industry’s ability to understand, in real-time, activity along the well bore and beyond.

For further information please contact:

12 Dec 2013

OptaSense named “Best Drilling and Well Technology 2013”

December 12th, 2013

Oil & Gas Agenda magazine recognises OptaSense technology and market leading know how 

OptaSense announces its distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) was named winner of the “Best Drilling and Well Technology” in 2013 by Oil & Gas Agenda magazine. The award recognizes those companies who have “shown their ability to drive forward the upstream industry, thanks to their technological innovations and market-leading know-how.”

OptaSense’s range of products include the award winning DAS-VSP™ service as well as DAS-HFP™ its hydraulic fracture profiling tool used to determine the quantitative volume proppant and fluid taken by each perforation cluster. OptaSense DAS services enable gapless measurement coverage along the entire length of the wellbore with many hundreds of channels and are now able to take measurements in places and on a scale not seen before. High temperature wells, in excess of 300°c, such as those used for steam injection, can now be imaged for the first time, whilst highly deviated wells where it is challenging to tractor a geophone array can now be imaged by placing a sensing fibre-optic cable on the production string or coiled tubing.

Commenting on the most recent award, Chief Executive of Optasense, Magnus McEwen-King said:  “2013 has been an excellent year of progress for OptaSense and we are pleased to see the oil and gas industry once again recognizing the game changing impact of our innovative fibre sensing services. Our technical innovation in developing new measurement techniques using distributed acoustic sensing is truly world class and matched by our software and data analysis team who deliver Decision Ready Data™ to our customers. Our success lies in providing our customers with data in a useable form at the right time for operational and commercial decisions to be made, which improve yield, reduce costs and lower the safety risk associated with their activities.

Our product development and innovation continues apace and we look forward to 2014 when we will launch new tools for flow measurement, microseismics, and our new Subsea-DAS™ capability. Our underlying development in the technology also continues with a fourth generation of DAS fibre interrogation unit also due in 2014, which will increase the channel count and provide further enhancements to sensitivity and noise floor.”

OptaSense DAS technology and tools have been developed over the last five years in conjunction with Shell and are now deployed in commercial operations across a number of other oil majors around the world.

For further information please contact:

11 Dec 2013

World’s First Marinised Distributed Acoustic Sensing System from OptaSense

December 11th, 2013

Proven onshore technology to go offshore to target growing deepwater and subsea market

OptaSense, the global leader in distributed acoustic sensing (DAS), is to develop the world’s first fully marinised and qualified DAS system in a joint programme with Shell.

The OptaSense Subsea-DAS™ system, which will be deployed in water depths of up to 10,000ft, will  take OptaSense’s proven onshore DAS technology to the offshore oil and gas industry, allowing highly accurate acoustic data acquisition for the first time in this sector.

The technology is expected to have a significant impact on the rapidly growing international subsea oil and gas market which is forecast to double in size in the next five years to up to $70 billion (£43 billion) a year*.

The Subsea-DAS™ system will provide acoustic data for a wide range of subsea and deepwater applications including pipeline surveillance and leak detection, geo-positioning, in-well monitoring, subsea assembly condition monitoring and permanent reservoir monitoring. The multi-application device will include functional and technical parameters configurable in software, thereby avoiding different hardware for settings or functions.

The marinisation process will require the re-engineering of OptaSense’s existing DAS interrogator unit to reduce its size to fit into a pressure canister. The modified opto electronics will be tested to ensure they meet the stringent temperature, vibration, shock and electrical certifications required of subsea equipment.

The companies anticipate that the Subsea-DAS™ unit will be ready for demonstration by mid-2014. Magnus McEwen-King, Chief Executive of OptaSense, said: “In collaboration with Shell we are very pleased to be able to produce the Subsea-DAS™ system.

The search for oil and gas is taking the industry into ever deeper and more challenging environments.  The global deepwater and subsea market is large and is forecast to grow rapidly. Producing a marinised version of our technology will enable OptaSense to extend the use of our already proven onshore distributed acoustic sensing capabilities into the growing subsea sector. We fully believe, given our considerable experience gained using DAS on land, that we will be able to make rapid progress in developing and commercialising our technology for this market.

I am particularly pleased that Shell has taken a leading role in helping to develop this work. “

OptaSense has achieved considerable onshore success with its leading DAS technology, which has been applied in a wide range of applications including microseismic monitoring. The company continues to innovate on all aspects from hardware performance, software and data interpretation.  With commercial services available in hydraulic fracture profiling, production flow monitoring and vertical seismic profiling (VSP), OptaSense is transforming the industry’s ability to understand in real-time what is happening along the well bore and beyond.

OptaSense’s chief technology officer Dr David Hill said: “The marinisation of the OptaSense DAS technology will provide us with the capability to develop a range of applications for which DAS is particularly suited.

With these capabilities, we shall be able to extend our industry-leading pipeline monitoring and leak detection abilities to subsea pipelines, permanently monitor subsea wells for flow and micro seismic activity, provide on-demand subsea VSP measurements, continuously monitor the condition of rotating machinery in subsea assemblies and develop a low-cost solution for permanent reservoir monitoring.

The Subsea-DAS™ programme gives us the opportunity to further reduce the size and power requirements of DAS systems while increasing its reliability through the hardening of the components to temperature vibration and shock effects.”

“QinetiQ is recognised as world leaders in maritime, whether it be naval architecture, acoustic signatures, systems integration or test and evaluation at its leading edge facilities. Being able to utilise this for qualification testing has been important to our success and now means QinetiQ Group is able to provide a complete solution to the subsea market from design to qualification. The development of Subsea-DAS™ adds to the world renowned heritage of QinetiQ’s maritime business and enhance it still further.”


*Source for market size

For further information please contact: