OptaSense, the global leader in distributed acoustic sensing (DAS), is to develop the world’s first fully marinised and qualified DAS system in a joint programme with Shell.
The OptaSense Subsea-DAS™ system, which will be deployed in water depths of up to 10,000ft, will take OptaSense’s proven onshore DAS technology to the offshore oil and gas industry, allowing highly accurate acoustic data acquisition for the first time in this sector.
The technology is expected to have a significant impact on the rapidly growing international subsea oil and gas market which is forecast to double in size in the next five years to up to $70 billion (£43 billion) a year.
The Subsea-DAS™ system will provide acoustic data for a wide range of subsea and deepwater applications including pipeline surveillance and leak detection, geo-positioning, in-well monitoring, subsea assembly condition monitoring and permanent reservoir monitoring. The multi-application device will include functional and technical parameters configurable in software, thereby avoiding different hardware for settings or functions.
The marinisation process will require the re-engineering of OptaSense’s existing DAS interrogator unit to reduce its size to fit into a pressure canister. The modified opto electronics will be tested to ensure they meet the stringent temperature, vibration, shock and electrical certifications required of subsea equipment.
The companies anticipate that the Subsea-DAS™ unit will be ready for demonstration by mid-2014. Magnus McEwen-King, Chief Executive of OptaSense, said: “In collaboration with Shell we are very pleased to be able to produce the Subsea-DAS™ system.
The search for oil and gas is taking the industry into ever deeper and more challenging environments. The global deepwater and subsea market is large and is forecast to grow rapidly. Producing a marinised version of our technology will enable OptaSense to extend the use of our already proven onshore distributed acoustic sensing capabilities into the growing subsea sector. We fully believe, given our considerable experience gained using DAS on land, that we will be able to make rapid progress in developing and commercialising our technology for this market.
I am particularly pleased that Shell has taken a leading role in helping to develop this work. “
OptaSense has achieved considerable onshore success with its leading DAS technology, which has been applied in a wide range of applications including microseismic monitoring. The company continues to innovate on all aspects from hardware performance, software and data interpretation. With commercial services available in hydraulic fracture profiling, production flow monitoring and vertical seismic profiling (VSP), OptaSense is transforming the industry’s ability to understand in real-time what is happening along the well bore and beyond.
OptaSense’s chief technology officer Dr David Hill said: “The marinisation of the OptaSense DAS technology will provide us with the capability to develop a range of applications for which DAS is particularly suited.
With these capabilities, we shall be able to extend our industry-leading pipeline monitoring and leak detection abilities to subsea pipelines, permanently monitor subsea wells for flow and micro seismic activity, provide on-demand subsea VSP measurements, continuously monitor the condition of rotating machinery in subsea assemblies and develop a low-cost solution for permanent reservoir monitoring.
The Subsea-DAS™ programme gives us the opportunity to further reduce the size and power requirements of DAS systems while increasing its reliability through the hardening of the components to temperature vibration and shock effects.”
“QinetiQ is recognised as world leaders in maritime, whether it be naval architecture, acoustic signatures, systems integration or test and evaluation at its leading edge facilities. Being able to utilise this for qualification testing has been important to our success and now means QinetiQ Group is able to provide a complete solution to the subsea market from design to qualification. The development of Subsea-DAS™ adds to the world renowned heritage of QinetiQ’s maritime business and enhance it still further.”