An optical fibre sensor that can continuously monitor conditions at the bottom of oil wells looks set to save the oil and gas industry hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost production.
Checking well conditions as the oil or gas is extracted means production has to stop, accounting for as much as 10% of a well’s operating costs. With the high temperature resistant optical fibre sensor, continuous readings can be obtained without stopping production.
Produced by Sensa, the oil and gas data specialist, the fibre optic cables are coated in a polyemide material capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures.
The sensor and optic fibre cables are pumped down into the well using a hydraulic fluid contained within a stainless steel pipe, 6mm thick. The cables can reach for several kilometres, with the longest so far tested stretching 10.4km.
The well temperature is measured by sending a pulse of laser light down the optical fibre. The reflected signal is detected and displayed as temperatures at 1m intervals along the fibre.
Sensa has also developed pressure and acoustic sensors to detect the water and gas content of oil wells.
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