First Installation of Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensor for Reservoir Monitoring

International Leader in fiber optic sensing systems Fotech Solutions has installed the world's first dedicated downhole distributed acoustic optical fiber system using the company's new and unique Helios monitoring solution.

The Helios distributed acoustic monitoring system was installed in a coal-bed methane well in Scotland for Composite Energy Ltd of Stirling, UK.

The easily-installed Helios system can be deployed in a range of applications in the global oil and gas industry including reservoir surveillance, production monitoring, integrity assurance, flowline movement, flow assurance and leak detection.

The system was installed in August 2009 and has already provided valuable data including:

  • Downhole pump condition monitoring,
  • Location of water level,
  • Flow profiles across the production intervals,
  • Vibrations at the wellhead,
  • Gas flow

Other potential benefits of the system include:

  • Monitoring of, and locating sand production
  • Casing/tubing integrity
  • Cross flow

The system comprises two elements -- a simple low cost telecoms grade optical fiber cable; and the Helios interrogator which is the heart of the system. Helios effectively provides acoustic or vibration information along the entire length of the installed optical fiber to provide multiple-event information, event characterization and highly accurate event location. An acoustic signal is recorded for each meter along the fiber. The system can therefore detect and position an event to an accuracy of one meter and can distinguish separate events more than two meters apart. It also has remote control capability. The fiber can be laid near a pipeline or installed in a borehole.

Don Sharples, technical manager, Composite Energy, said, "Initial results from the Fotech fibre are very encouraging. The Fotech Distributed Acoustic technology collects data which is not available from other downhole sensors and will give Composite the ability to determine which coals are producing in any given well."

Alan Piesse co founder and Executive Vice President of Fotech Services said, "Our vision for Helios was to provide sound at the speed of light and its successful deployment has really changed the game in the global monitoring sector.

"We see a strong future for the system in monitoring gas flow in Coal Bed Methane wells and other applications For the first time flow can be seen and heard entering and moving in the well and quantified in real-time. We hope to continue monitoring Composite Energy's CBM wells and look forward to a close working relationship with them."