Baker Hughes, Shell Unveil New Real-Time Compaction Imaging System

Baker Hughes; Shell

Baker Hughes Incorporated and Shell International Exploration and Production have developed a Real-Time Compaction Imaging (RTCI) system that can lead to significant savings in well completions by using fiber optics to monitor sand screen deformations and casing shape in real time.

After a successful trial of the RTCI technology on casing at Shell's Pinedale, Wyoming, operations in 2008, Shell and Baker Hughes jointly conducted a successful test of the world's first sand control completion integrated with the fiber-optic RTCI system at the Baker Hughes BETA test rig near Tulsa, Oklahoma. Baker Hughes will commercialize the RTCI technology on behalf of both companies. The RTCI system will be available for sale in Q4 2009.

Undetected deformation of completions can lead to costly workovers, loss of production, or even the potential loss of a well. The RTCI system uses thousands of Bragg grating sensors incorporated within a sand screen instrumented with optical fibers to monitor strain and acquire a three-dimensional high-resolution deformation image of the screen in real time.

An innovative fiber-optic wet connect was designed to link the strain-sensing fiber optics into the upper completion. "The successful RTCI test is the culmination of a focused collaboration effort between Shell and Baker Hughes to commercialize breakthrough technology in the area of fiber optics," said Derek Mathieson, Baker Hughes Vice President and Chief Technology & Marketing Officer. "We look forward to working with Shell to deploy the sand screen compaction monitoring system and to continue pushing the boundaries for next-generation exploration and production technologies."

"This is truly an outstanding achievement," said Vianney Koelman, Manager of In-Well Monitoring Technology for Shell International Exploration and Production. "The RTCI technologies mark a major step forward in monitoring well integrity and geomechanical effects of production. The rapid development of this exciting technology underpins its expected value for the industry."