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.
OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, is featured in a new exhibition, The Future Starts Here, which opened last month at London’s prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibition focuses on technologies that are shaping the way in which we live and interact as a society.
A featured project within the V&A exhibition is San Francisco-based Stamen Design’s Big Glass Microphone, which is an interactive visualization of OptaSense’s Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) data from a system installation at Stanford University, California. OptaSense’s fiber optic sensing system is installed on five kilometers of fiber optic cable in the ducting below Stanford’s campus, as part of a research and development project for using DAS to detect seismic activity and potentially provide early warning of earthquakes.
Stamen Design’s project looks at how fiber optic infrastructure all around us can be leveraged as a sensor array. OptaSense converts fiber optic cables along pipelines, railways, roads and other assets into an array of ‘microphones’ by converting light into sound. On Stanford’s campus, the primary sensing goal is to detect seismic activity, but incidental day-to-day activity is also detected around the campus, like vehicles, students walking and cycling around, and even a fountain water feature. Big Glass Microphone is a data visualization of the distinct shapes that different kinds of surface events have on the sensing fiber optic cable. Using this information, an interactive visualization of the movements of people and vehicles within the campus was created.
The project is an offshoot of a collaborative research effort between OptaSense and the Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences for an on-campus fiber optic seismic observatory, designed to sense ambient noise and seismic energy, enabling scientists to conduct research in passive seismology. Located adjacent to a major geologic fault zone, the San Andreas Fault, the seismic array is used to image subsurface properties that provide scientists a better understanding of the complex geology in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Big Glass Microphone gives a glimpse at how this unique “listening” device can also be used to provide ‘smart’ monitoring of infrastructure assets over long distance in real time, using ubiquitous sensors that are all around us, like fiber optic cables. OptaSense provide this monitoring technology already on around 20,000 miles of pipelines, railways, roads and other infrastructure around the world. Fiber optic sensing is a technology that is revolutionizing critical infrastructure monitoring, providing many applications from a single sensing platform.
“We’re proud to have OptaSense exhibited at one of the world’s leading museums for design and innovation,” said Jamie Pollard, CEO of OptaSense. “Technology can have a massive impact on people’s quality of life, and fiber optic sensing is a prime example. This exhibit demonstrates our earthquake detection potential but we’re also monitoring infrastructure assets all around the world, making people’s drive to work, or their energy consumption safer and more efficient. This exciting technology will become more and more widely known in the coming years.”
The Future Starts Here runs until November 4, 2018, then will continue at other locations around the world. For more information in the exhibition, visit www.vam.ac.uk. To learn more about OptaSense, visit www.optasense.com.
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.
OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, and its partner Optilan, a telecommunications systems integrator, have been awarded the combined leak detection and security package from ABB, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction prime contractor for the delivery of the control infrastructure* for the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP).
The contract, in excess of $30 million split evenly with Optilan, was awarded at the start of the year and now enters the equipment delivery phase, marks a significant milestone for OptaSense, the global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and Optilan, an international communications and security systems provider. This will be the world’s largest fibre distributed sensing project, protecting and monitoring more than 1850km of pipeline, including perimeter security for all facilities.
The TANAP natural gas pipeline runs from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. The project is of strategic importance for the region, as it will enable the first Azerbaijani gas exports to Europe, while strengthening the role of Turkey as a regional energy hub. Construction of the pipeline began in 2015 and is scheduled to be completed in 2018, with expected costs in the region of $10-11 billion.
Magnus McEwen-King, Executive Director at OptaSense commented: “This project marks a significant turning point in the adoption of fibre sensing globally with delivery of security and leak detection from a single fibre system. This approach will enable us to demonstrate superior technical performance and value for money. With our partners ABB and Optilan we look forward to helping TANAP use the OptaSense technology to deliver the highest levels of pipeline availability and reduce the cost of asset ownership.”
Mr Bal Kler, Executive Director at Optilan said: “We are pleased to be partnering once again with the world’s leading fibre sensing company to deliver the world’s largest pipeline monitoring project. Implementation of this project for TANAP will deliver total security and monitoring over the entire pipeline length and follows on from other successful security projects in Turkey.”
OptaSense’s award-winning integrated DAS solution works across multiple functions via a single fibre-optic cable that effectively “listens” to the pipeline in order to provide detailed data about its current status. Any changes to the condition of the pipe are fed back through an interrogator unit in real time, allowing users to identify and address issues early and maintain the highest level of pipeline integrity and product throughput.
Leak and intrusion detection are vital to maintaining pipeline integrity and production maximisation in the oil and gas industry. In 2015 an attack on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which exports crude from Iraq to Turkey, halted operations resulting in significant repairs and thousands of barrels per day in lost deliverables.
*Control infrastructure includes telecommunication, pipeline monitoring, security systems, control systems and integrating SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition)
QinetiQ has appointed Jamie Pollard as CEO of OptaSense, the leading Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) business and subsidiary of QinetiQ. Jamie brings over 20 years’ of experience leading and growing businesses within Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company.
Steve Wadey, CEO of QinetiQ said, “I am delighted to be making a positive investment in OptaSense by appointing Jamie Pollard as its CEO to augment the current leadership team and build on what they have already achieved. Jamie’s record of growing businesses at Schlumberger will prove invaluable as we look to take the business forward and realise its potential to change the way we monitor oil wells, transport networks and infrastructure.”
Jamie graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough University of Technology. At Schlumberger he ran and grew large global businesses and joint ventures, working across the UK, US, Continental Europe and Africa.
Jamie Pollard said, “I am really excited to be joining OptaSense, the undisputed market leader. DAS technology brings real business benefits across a range of sectors and I look forward to working with the excellent team in place at OptaSense to take it to the next level.”
Magnus McEwen-King, who built OptaSense from inception, will remain with the business as an Executive Director with a focus on strategic pursuits and industry partnerships.
Jamie Pollard brings a depth of oil and gas industry expertise that will be complemented by additional investment in an advisory board for OptaSense comprising senior specialists to provide further domain expertise in key target markets.
Mr Pollard will be joining the OptaSense leadership team at the annual Society of Petroleum Engineers – Distributed Fibre Optic Sensing Conference, which takes place 10-13 August in Napa, California, USA.
Mr Hansjorg Hess formerly Executive Board Director of DB Netze joins OptaSense Advisory Board
OptaSense, a QinetiQ company and the global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) has appointed Mr Hansjorg Hess to its Advisory Board to help develop a global rail operation. The appointment comes on the back of a successful 18-month programme with German rail operator Deutche Bahn.
Mr Hess was formerly an Executive Director of Deutsche Bahn Netze and was responsible for the daily operation of over 33,000km of railway in Germany. Prior to this Mr Hess was also Head of Siemens Rail Automation and was responsible for the design, development and delivery of rail signalling systems globally.
Commenting on his appointment Mr Hess said: “As a rail operator I saw the potential for OptaSense DAS technology to significantly reduce operational costs and am delighted to be joining to help realise these savings for operators globally. Over the past few years fibre sensing has proven its technical capabilities and I look forward to helping OptaSense to deliver on the commercial implementation with rail operators.”
Steve Wadey, QinetiQ Group CEO, said: “I am pleased Mr Hess has agreed to join to the advisory Board of OptaSense to help us on our journey to develop a fibre sensing solution for the Rail sector. Mr Hess’s experience as both a rail infrastructure owner and a signalling systems supplier will provide OptaSense with a unique insight into the technical and commercial needs of its current and future customers.”
OptaSense, a QinetiQ company and the global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), has signed an agency agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Automation Services and Oilfield Supplies (GASOS). The agreement has been registered with the UAE Ministry of Economy.
The contract marks a significant milestone in OptaSense’s Middle East business strategy and covers the Abu Dhabi oil and gas market, represented by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) group of companies, which focus on the oil and gas production cycle from exploration and production to processing and distribution.
Under the agreement with GASOS, upstream activity including well completion, production and evaluation will be covered by OptaSense’s Oil Field Services division. Downstream activity, primarily focusing on pipeline integrity monitoring, will be supported by OptaSense’s Infrastructure Security Monitoring division.
OptaSense’s industry-leading DAS solution provides enhanced data acquisition, monitoring and visualisation systems which retrieve detailed information across multiple functions via a single fibre-optic cable. Any changes to conditions in a well or pipeline are fed back through an interrogator unit in real time, allowing users to identify and address issues early and maintain the highest level of integrity and product throughput.
James Pollard, the CEO of OptaSense, explained the benefits of the newly formed relationship. “We are extremely proud to announce our association with GASOS, which has been a prominent company in the local oil and gas market for many years. Its business belongs to one of the most respected and successful families in the country,” he said.
“We have high optimism and expectations that our combined technical capabilities and award-winning DAS solutions, with the in-depth market expertise of GASOS, will yield great benefits and efficiency gains for our clients in the UAE, particularly given the current low oil price.”
Samir Al Gharbi, General Manager of GASOS Ltd, added: “We at GASOS are delighted to be associated with and represent a well-established high-tech company who has an impressive and proven track record. We are excited and look forward to a mutually beneficial, fruitful and long term relationship with OptaSense.”
Farnborough, 22 August 2014: QinetiQ Group plc has completed the acquisition of Redfern Integrated Optics (“RIO”), based in San Francisco, California, following receipt of US regulatory approvals. The acquisition accelerates the development of OptaSense, a QinetiQ subsidiary, providing the business with secure access to the technical team developing the current and future generations of highly coherent, low noise semi-conductor lasers, one of the key enabling technologies for distributed acoustic sensing.
Leo Quinn, QinetiQ Chief Executive Officer said: “Concluding the acquisition of RIO is a further important step in our strategy to deliver the full potential of OptaSense as the global leader in distributed fibre sensing. We are committed to supporting and accelerating the business growth and development as appropriate with acquisitions and partnerships as needed. RIO has natural synergies with OptaSense and secures its access to a key supplier in the market.”
Magnus McEwen-King, OptaSense Managing Director said: “Having RIO within the group enables us to make the necessary investments in the next generation of OptaSense equipment, especially within the subsea and seismic survey segments of the oil & gas sector where high performance and high reliability in harsh environments are essential.”
3rd July 2014: OptaSense, a subsidiary of QinetiQ Group plc and the global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), has said it is honoured to be shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious engineering accolade, the MacRobert Award, after the awards ceremony last night.
Synonymous with spotting the ‘next big thing’ in the technology sector, the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert award is the UK’s longest running national prize for engineering. It identifies outstanding innovation with proven commercial promise and tangible societal benefit.
The awards ceremony, which took place last night (Wednesday 2 July) at the Royal Opera House in London, recognised OptaSense’s ground breaking technology which converts pre-existing fibre optic cable into a condition monitoring sensor for long infrastructure assets like oil wells, pipelines, railways and roads. The winner was Cobalt Light Systems.
OptaSense provides revenue assurance to these infrastructure asset owners by improving safety and security, increasing their throughput and yield as well as reducing the costs associated with operating these long linear assts. By creating a sensor from the fibre optic cable next to these arteries of global commerce, OptaSense is building The Earth’s Nervous System™. For the first time these assets can be monitored over their entire length which will mean the world’s energy and transport networks can function more safely and efficiently than they do today.
OptaSense is a platform technology that has applications in multiple vertical markets including oil and gas, subsea, pipeline security, border security, rail and road. In oil and gas, the DAS technology has been successfully deployed in a wide range of onshore applications including microseismic monitoring, production flow monitoring, vertical seismic profiling (VSP) and hydraulic fracture profiling (fracking), and is transforming the industry’s ability to understand in real-time what is happening along the well bore and beyond.
Magnus McEwen-King, OptaSense Managing Director, said: “It is an honour to have been shortlisted for one of the most prestigious engineering awards in the UK. This reflects all of our technical teams’ hard work and reinforces that we are recognised as world leaders in the development of distributed fibre optic acoustic sensing.
“Following the success of our technology onshore, we are currently developing the world’s first fully marinised and qualified DAS system for offshore use in a joint programme with Shell. The system, for the first time, will provide the offshore industry with highly accurate acoustic data acquisition, and will be deployed in water depths of up to 10,000ft. This again highlights our desire to continually develop this innovative technology.”
Leo Quinn, QinetiQ Group Chief Executive Officer, added: “To be shortlisted for this prestigious Award from the Royal Academy is a further confirmation of QinetiQ’s strategy to build on our technical heritage and drive forward our portfolio of high growth businesses. OptaSense is genuine game-changing technology which I am proud is built in Britain, contributing to both the UK’s export capability and its science and engineering skill base.”
OptaSense operates in 40 countries globally with operations across multiple industries including oil and gas, defence and security, transport and utilities. The DAS specialist was shortlisted against two other candidates from the UK’s thriving engineering sector: Cobalt Light Systems, an SME using cutting-edge materials science to fight terrorism, and Rolls Royce, the engineering giant behind the world’s first vertical take-off system for a supersonic fighter jet.
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About the MacRobert Award
First presented in 1969, the MacRobert Award is widely regarded as the most coveted in the industry. Founded by the MacRobert Trusts, the Award is now presented by the Royal Academy of Engineering supported by the Worshipful Company of Engineers. The prize fund was originally established with donations from the MacRobert Trusts, the Academy and British industry. For more information, visit: www.raeng.org.uk/prizes/macrobert
Previous winners include EMI Ltd, who in 1972 developed the CT Scanner, a vital medical device that can now be found in almost every hospital in the developed world. In 2002 Cambridge Display Technologies won the MacRobert Award for its light emitting polymer displays for televisions and smart phones. Last year’s winner was software company RealVNC, which judges predicted could be a billion dollar company within five years.
About the Royal Academy of Engineering
As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.
Farnborough, 22 May 2014: QinetiQ Group plc today announces that it has acquired Redfern Integrated Optics (“RIO”), a market leading supplier of low noise semi-conductor lasers, with a turnover of $5m in 2013. The acquisition accelerates the development of OptaSense, a QinetiQ subsidiary, providing the business with secure access to the engineering team developing the current and future generations of highly coherent, low noise semi-conductor lasers.
Based in San Francisco, California, RIO is a leading supplier to the sensing industry with over ten years’ experience of delivering world class products to the fibre geophone, LiDAR and Distributed Acoustic Sensing (“DAS”) markets. Backed by a consortium of venture capital funds led by Southern Cross Ventures and Jolimont Capital, RIO was the first company to develop a commercially viable semi-conductor laser with sufficient stability for DAS applications.
Leo Quinn, QinetiQ Chief Executive Officer said: “This acquisition of RIO is an important step in ensuring that OptaSense realises its full potential as the global leader in distributed acoustic sensing. We are committed to supporting the high-growth businesses in our portfolio, accelerating their development as appropriate with acquisitions and partnerships. This acquisition has natural synergies with OptaSense and secures its access to a key supplier in the market.”
Magnus McEwen-King, OptaSense Managing Director said: “We have been working with RIO for many years and are impressed with the technical capabilities of the team. Their products are ideally suited to the distributed fibre sensing market especially within the oil & gas sector where high performance and high reliability in harsh environments are essential. We see demand for RIO’s laser products continuing to grow across the whole fibre sensing market and look forward to supporting their existing customer base. Through this acquisition we also gain the ability to shape the future developments of their products to further improve the technical performance of our DAS offerings especially in the seismic monitoring market. ”
Dr Larry Marshall, Chairman of RIO and Managing Director of Southern Cross Ventures commented: “OptaSense has made an excellent strategic acquisition and will greatly enhance RIO’s ability to scale their unique technology across a broader range of markets and customers than would normally be accessible to a small start-up. Our team and investors are pleased that RIO secured such an exceptional partner who will support our customers.”
RIO will be integrated with OptaSense but will continue to use the RIO brand name. The transaction is expected to complete within the first half of QinetiQ’s financial year and is subject to normal regulatory approvals.