Illuminating insights into well and reservoir optimisation using fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic SensingIn these times of low oil and gas prices, the drive to provide 'more for less' has never been greater. One key component in achieving this is the ability to accurately monitor the production rates along a wellbore and across a reservoir. Ideally a range of different measurements should be available on-demand from all points in all wells. Clearly conventional sensors such as downhole pressure and temperature gauges, flow meters, geophone arrays and production logging tools can provide part of the solution but the cost of all these different sensors limits their widespread deployment. Fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing, or DAS for short, is changing that. Using an optical fibre deployed in a cable from surface to the toe of a well DAS, often in combination with fibre-optic Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS), provides a means of acquiring high resolution seismic, acoustic and temperature data at all points in real-time. Since the first downhole demonstrations of DAS technology in 2009 there has been rapid progress in developing the technology and applications, to the point where today it is being used to monitor the efficiency of hydraulic fracture treatments, provides continuous flow profiling across the entire wellbore and is used as a uniquely capable tool for borehole seismic acquisition. With optical fibre installed in your wells and DAS acquiring data, there is now the ability to cost effectively and continuously monitor wells and reservoirs to manage them in real-time in order to optimise production.
David Hill is the Chief Technology Officer at OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, based in the UK. He has over 30 years of research and development experience in the field of acoustic sensing, 20 years of which have been spent developing fibre-optic based sensors. He holds a PhD in Physics, specializing in fibre-optic sensing, from the University of Kent in the UK and has filed over 30 patents and authored numerous papers. Since jointly founding OptaSense he has led the development and exploitation of fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) in the oil and gas industry. In 2009 he was the first person to use fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) to acquire signals on a downhole fibre. Since then he has continued to develop a range of downhole applications for the technology.