Category: Oil & Gas

17 Apr 2013

OptaSense wins award for its game-changing Vertical Seismic Profiling (VSP) Technology

April 17th, 2013

OptaSense wins E&P – Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation in Geosciences

OptaSense has today announced it has won the 2013 Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation, in the Geosciences category of the prestigious E&P awards. OptaSense was selected for the award for its game-changing Vertical Seismic Profiling tool (VSP). The VSP tool was judged to have the potential to improve efficiency and safety, as well as improving profitability of the oilfield.

OptaSense’s ground-breaking VSP solution was released commercially this year and uses fibre-optic cable to image wells that were previously inaccessible to conventional geophone arrays.

Magnus McEwen-King, CEO of OptaSense, commented: “I am particularly pleased that our technical development teams have been recognised as delivering world class technical innovation. I would specifically like to recognise the input of Shell in working together to develop, test and commercially deliver the OptaSense VSP service and their commitment to innovation through collaboration.

“The OptaSense VSP service delivers outstanding business value in not only the data collected, by enabling the entire wellbore to be imaged simultaneously, but also in the real-time delivery of VSP data from the field.”

OptaSense 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, CTO 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 DegC and over 40,000 PSI, such as those used for steam injection, can now be imaged for the first time. In a recent technical first, OptaSense VSP was used to perform a 3D VSP in a 50,000 shot offshore programme lasting 6 weeks. The data was collected on two wells and resulted in over 70 million seismic records and should lead to an unprecedented understanding of the reservoir.”

Dr David Hill will also be co-presenting with Shell the latest DAS and VSP research at the EAGE Borehole Geophysics workshop being held in Malta from 21 April to 24 April. The session will explain how DAS works, and demonstrate its usability for typical VSP applications such as checkshots, imaging, and time-lapse monitoring.

26 Mar 2013

Fiber Optic Sensing for Improved Wellbore Surveillance


Fiber Optic (FO) sensing technology is an exciting and novel technique offering many advantages over traditional wellbore surveillance methods1-3. Multiple FO cables can be installed that can be designed for sensitivity to a wide variety of signals such as temperature, pressure4-5, strain6-7, sound8, and the presence of specific chemical compounds. Permanently installed FO cables enable a cost effective surveillance policy where data acquisition surveys can be conducted without well interventions, in real-time, at any time, and continuous along the entire well bore. The avoidance of well intervention eliminates production deferment and operational risks of conventional surveys. Frequent, time-lapse FO based surveys can provide critical reservoir surveillance data for production and recovery optimization.

One instance of fiber-optic surveillance is Distributed Sensing, which uses the entire fiber as a sensing element. Recently, very good progress has been made in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) for hydraulic fracturing monitoring9, production profiling for commingled oil and gas producers, injection profiling for water injectors10, gas lift monitoring and the acquisition of wellbore seismic data such as Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP) surveys11-12. These applications are also seen to benefit from integration with other methods such as Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) and Distributed Pressure Sensing (DPS).  In terms of wellbore surveillance, the possibility to monitor flow along the entire wellbore from FO sensing provides useful insights in the complex flow behavior in a well which can be used to optimize well performance.

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

In this paper some examples of using DAS for Production Allocation are discussed.

Click here to download the complete technical paper.

21 Mar 2013

OptaSense signs follow-on contracts with Shell to extend footprint in downhole oil and gas market

March 21st, 2013

QinetiQ Group plc today announced that its OptaSense® distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) business has signed follow-on contracts with Shell which set a clear roadmap for the provision of services over the next three years.

The new contracts include:

  • Customer-funded product development, worth £10m, which will focus on new tools for flow monitoring, as well as enhancements to proven tools for hydraulic fracture monitoring and vertical seismic profiling (VSP);
  • The addition of VSP to the global commercial framework agreement, which gives any Shell business worldwide access to OptaSense services under a standard set of terms and conditions;
  • Access for other companies across the oil and gas industry to OptaSense services that were previously exclusive to Shell.

Leo Quinn, QinetiQ CEO said: “We are delighted that our relationship with Shell is continuing with the further development of OptaSense applications for the downhole oil and gas market. This is a key step in realising the potential of OptaSense, by deploying its technology within a services model throughout Shell, as well as to other oil and gas companies.”

For further information please contact:

  • QinetiQ Press Office – / +44 (0) 1252 39 3500
  • Rebecca Mitchell, Maitland – +44 (0)207 379 5151

Notes for Editors

OptaSense is the world leader in distributed fibre sensing and operates in 40 countries globally. It is managed as an autonomous 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 10,000kms of assets, principally providing leak detection and third party intrusion detection for oil and gas pipelines.

A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its domain knowledge to provide technical support and know-how to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ’s unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments, intelligence services and security agencies.

14 Dec 2012

Optasense inaugurates global Frac Monitoring Operation Centres

December 14th, 2012

OptaSense Expands Global Hydraulic Fracturing Offering

OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, has opened a network of Real Time Operations Centres (RTOC) to deliver advanced frac monitoring services. The new centres are based in Houston, US; Calgary, CA; and Winfrith, UK; will provide second by second information to assist oil and gas companies in optimising their fracing operations.

The service comprises the world’s first bespoke Fibre Optic Data Acquisition Units capable of monitoring multiple wells simultaneously. The service combines Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) and pump data to provide a holistic image of performance throughout the fracing process, giving operators a unique view into the frac processes happening deep underground.

Information is also fed live into customer’ operation centres, with OptaSense experts advising on data analysis and interpretation, providing stage by stage reports on fluid placement volumes throughout the well completion process. The data is also used to help design the frac process for future well completions.

The Calgary facility, opened by Leo Quinn QinetiQ CEO, will be the global centre of excellence for OptaSense’s frac monitoring services and will incorporate a dedicated downhole fibre training facility as well as being the engineering control centre for operations throughout North America.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense commented that: “The investment builds on our global services framework agreement with Shell announced earlier in the year and is testimony to our confidence in providing services to the global shale market, where monitoring operations is so important to operators.

“These new operational facilities enable us to put a wide range of data into our customers’ hands immediately. Our fleet of state-of-the-art fibre optic data acquisition units enable us to provide our customers with a full service with respect to all fibre sensing requirements. We are committed to putting data in our customer’s hands to enable them to increase yields, improve safety and reduce operational costs.”

The OptaSense DAS system is providing a new window on in-well treatments. The hydraulic fracture monitoring service provides real-time monitoring of fracture fluid injection locations and provides an estimate of the volume of water and propellant uptake at these locations. With real-time monitoring of the operation at the treatment zone, operators are able to improve and streamline the hydraulic fracturing process in a safe and reliable way.

For further information please contact:

  • QinetiQ Press Office – / +44 (0) 1252 39 3500
  • Rebecca Mitchell, Maitland – +44 (0)207 379 5151

Notes for Editors

  • Conventional monitoring technologies are unable to survive the fracturing process whereas OptaSense is a breakthrough technology that has been developed in collaboration with Shell and can monitor the fracturing process by listening to a fibre optic cable attached to the well itself.
  • OptaSense provides wells with their own nervous system enabling operators to react to events as and when they occur.
  • OptaSense can monitor that the propant fluid that is injected into the borehole gets to the right place, and if not, modify the process straight away.
16 Nov 2012

Advances in Distributed Acoustic Sensing for VSP

Oil Field Services

Mateeva, A., Mestayer, J., Cox, B., Kiyashchenko D., Wills, P., Lopez, J., Grandi, S., Hornman, K., Lumens, P., Franzen A., Hill, D., Roy J.,  ‘Advances in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) for VSP’, SEG Expanded Abstracts Vol. 30, 4253 – 4257, SEG Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, November. 2012


10 Nov 2012

Advances in DAS for VSP

Last year we introduced Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) as a new method for VSP acquisition. In DAS, an optical fiber along the borehole serves as a seismic receiver array. The fiber is interrogated by a special device at the surface, sometimes referred to as lightbox. Improvements to the interrogator unit over the past year helped DAS data to approach the utility of conventional VSP data. We show results from various field trials that demonstrate the usability of DAS for typical VSP applications such as checkshots, imaging and time-lapse monitoring. We conclude that DAS would enable VSP, and cost-effective time-lapse VSP, in a broad variety of wells, particularly those inaccessible by geophones.

Click here to download the complete technical paper.