Category: Oil & Gas

19 Jan 2014

Fiber Optic Sensing For Improved Wellbore Production Surveillance


Since our previous publication1 significant progress has been made to further mature the application of Fiber-Optic (FO) based Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) for production and injection profiling. A considerable number of new field surveys were conducted to further improve the evaluation algorithms or workflows which convert the DAS noise recordings into flowrates from individual zones. For gas producing wells, a new graphical user-interface has been developed that allows the user to visualize and QC the data in real time. Additional flow and visualization software have been developed for single phase gas producers to enable the user to select and evaluate the data in a user-friendly manner using the most up-to-date evaluation algorithms.

There are still improvements to be made in enabling Distributed Sensing infrastructure, such as handling and evaluation of very large data volumes, seamless FO data transfer, the robustness & cost of the FO system installation, and the overall integration of FO surveillance into traditional workflows. It will take some time before all these issues are addressed but we believe that FO based applications will play a key role in future well and reservoir surveillance.

In this paper we present two recent examples of single-phase flow profiling using DAS. The first example is from a single-phase gas producer in one of the Unconventional plays in North America and the second example is from a long horizontal, smart polymer injector operated by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).


In oil and gas field development there is often a lack of high quality Well and Reservoir Surveillance (WRS) data for quality decision making; leaving significant reservoir or well performance uncertainties potentially leading to suboptimal reservoir development. The need for frequent and good quality surveillance data is highest in complex reservoir developments such as Unconventional plays, waterflooded reservoirs, Thermal and Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) projects. One of the reasons that well surveillance data is not acquired in practice is that it often causes significant production deferment. Another reason is that often the data gathering surveys are expensive or create large operational risks associated when using conventional logging methods, particularly in high rate, highly deviated or long horizontal producer wells. In some cases, the small diameter production tubing limits access to the well with conventional logging tools.

Click here to download the complete technical paper.

12 Jan 2014

Production : Fiber Optic Sensing for Improved Wellbore Production Surveillance

Oil Field Services

van der Horst, J., den Boer, H., in ‘t Panhuis, P,. Wyker, B., Kusters, R., Mustafina, D., Groen, L., Bulushi, N., Mjeni, R., Awan, K., Rajhi, S., Molenaar, M., Reynolds, A., Paleja, R., Randell, D., Bartlett, R., and Green, K., ‘Fiber Optic Sensing for Improved Wellbore Production Surveillance’, Paper 17528 presented at the IPTC, Doha, Qatar, Jan. 2014


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:

27 Sep 2013

Dual-Well 3D VSP in Deepwater Made Possible by DAS


In late 2012, we acquired a 3D Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) VSP simultaneously in two injector wells in a deepwater field. We utilized seismic shots from a concurrent OBN campaign and pre-existing fiber optic cables (installed on tubing for unrelated purposes). One of the wells was mildly deviated, while the other had a complicated deviated trajectory. We obtained DAS VSP data with clear signals. The raw gathers show not only down-going P, but also PP and PS reflections, and down-going PS conversions. We also observed a surprising azimuthal phase variation in the deviated well, and some noises that underscore the importance of proper fiber connections. We conclude that 3D DAS VSP can be acquired safely and successfully in multiple deepwater wells where fiber optic cable has been installed, including wells inaccessible to geophones.

Click here to download the complete technical paper.

23 Sep 2013

OptaSense launches an updated DAS – Vertical Seismic Profiling (VSP) capability providing real-time image analysis

September 23rd, 2013

Award winning technology will be showcased at the SEG Show, which commences in Houston, USA, this weekend

OptaSense announces this week an enhanced version of its award winning DAS-VSP™ (Distributed Acoustic Sensing – Vertical Seismic Profiling) technology at Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) show in Houston, Texas, USA, which runs from 22nd to 27th September. The OptaSense DAS-VSP™ – which recently won the 2013 Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation in the Geosciences category of the prestigious E&P awards – boasts a full well bore coverage and larger level count compared to conventional geophone arrays and can deliver live correlated and stacked virbroseis data for remote QC.

OptaSense’s DAS-VSP™ solution was released commercially this year and uses fibre-optic cable to image wells that were previously inaccessible to conventional geophone arrays. The updated version means users can benefit from real time data acquisition and analysis as opposed to the longer lead times that are usually associated with VSP measurements.

Providing the captured SEG-Y/D data in real-time via the internet enables geophysicists to remotely perform checks on the data and if necessary modify the acquisition programme to optimise the quality of the measurements being recorded. This also reduces the lead times to process images.

Further efficiency savings are afforded due to the full wellbore coverage provided by OptaSense® DAS-VSP™, which eliminates the need for repeat shoots as a conventional geophone array is moved up the well.  Also since no well intervention is required multiple DAS-VSP™ measurement in separate wells on a pad can be performed providing a more detailed image of the reservoir.

Thanks to the simplicity of deployment, full well bore coverage and real-time remote QC capabilities, DAS-VSP has the potential to dramatically improve the cost, efficiency and safety of borehole seismic imaging.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense, commented: “Our updated DAS-VSP™ service means operators can significantly improve the quality of data collection and reduce the cost and risks of data acquisition compared of conventional geophone VSP operations. The benefits of real time delivery of data straight to the experts in the right format enable them to verify the quality of the data and modify the acquisition as needed. The new feature enables operators to maximise the effectiveness of their data acquisition programmes.”

OptaSense DAS-VSP™ uses permanently installed optical fibre to make measurements in producer or injector wells which are not possible to measure with geophone arrays, either because they are too hot, highly deviated or difficult to access.

Dr David Hill, Chief Technology Officer of OptaSense explains “OptaSense enables gapless coverage along the entire length of the wellbore with many hundreds of channels and we able to take measurements in places and on a scale not seen before. For example High temperature wells, in excess of 300 Degrees Celsius and over 10,000 PSI, such as those used for steam injection, can now be imaged for the first time. In a recent technical first, OptaSense DAS-VSP™ was used to perform a 3D VSP in a 50,000 shot offshore programme lasting 6 weeks. The data was simultaneously collected on two wells and resulted in over 70 million seismic records and should lead to an unprecedented understanding of the reservoir.”

12 Sep 2013

DAS 3D VSP in Deepwater

Oil Field Services

Mateeva, A., Mestayer, J., Yang, Z., Lopez, J., Wills, P., Roy, J. and Bown, T., ‘Dual-Well Massive 3D VSP in Deepwater made possible by DAS’, Pages 5062-5066, SEG Annual Meeting, Houston, September 2013


01 Jul 2013

Optasense signs Kazakhstan partnership agreement

July 1st, 2013

Contract Signed With Avencom On Prime Minister Trade Mission to Kazakhstan

Optasense, a QinetiQ company, has signed a partnership agreement with Avencom, leading technology supplier to Kazakhstan Oil and Gas companies, to provide its world leading Distributed Acoustic Sensing services. The partnership was signed during the UK Government’s trade mission, led by the Prime Minister, accompanied by leading British oil and gas businesses.

Over the last four years OptaSense has worked with Avencom to implement pipeline security monitoring systems on over 1000km of pipeline in Kazakhstan. The new partnership will bring Optasense’s new Four-Mode leak detection system to potential customers in the region. Having already successfully worked with regional businesses such as KTO, KPO and KCP OptaSense already has a proven track record in the region preventing incidents along pipelines.

Magnus McEwen-King, OptaSense MD said, “We are pleased to be able to extend and formalize our on-going relationship with Avencom. As a British company partnerships like this are vital for us and having the support of the Government is important to our future growth. Our unique technology helps companies reduce operating costs and minimize environmental issues. Avencom have been able to develop and train highly skilled technical operators who can install, operate and maintain our fibre sensing technology.”

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said, “Kazakhstan is emerging as the dominant economy in central Asia and offers many opportunities for British businesses small and large across a wide variety of sectors. This first ever visit by a UK Prime Minister demonstrates our commitment to strengthen the trade and investment links between our two countries.  I am delighted that OptaSense has secured new business in Kazakhstan and I wish them every success.”

Optasense deployed Distributed Acoustic Sensing, converts standard fibre optic cable into thousands of virtual microphones along its length – enabling operators to effectively “listen” for third party intrusion (pipelines) and detect or even prevent leaks in pipelines before they occur. The new Four-Mode leak detection software allows customers to monitor for – negative pressure wave monitoring for rupture events; acoustic signature recognition of high pressure leaks; fast Distributed Temperature Gradient Sensing (DTGS); and ground heave strain monitoring – into a single platform, providing a comprehensive leak detection system.