OIL & GAS MONITORING » 4D Reservoir Monitoring

New oil discovery techniques are unable to keep pace with the continually increasing demand for oil. To compensate for this shortfall, the increased use of 4D seismic technology is required to produce more oil from existing fields. USSI's new fiber optic sensor systems can provide the key to fueling the widespread adoption of 4D seismic technology.

4D reservoir monitoring consists of 3D repetitive seismic images to monitor the movement of oil reservoir fluids overtime to increase the percentage of oil extracted. For 4D reservoir monitoring to be cost-effective, permanently-installed seismic sensors are needed. USSI has the only technology capable of meeting the demanding performance, cost, and reliability requirements for 4D monitoring.

All-Optical Geophone
USSI's All-Optical Geophone serves as a replacement to the traditional magnet/coil geophones that have been used by the oil industry for almost 50 years, offering superior performance in every critical operating parameter.

Geophone Features:
» Wider Useable Operating Bandwidth
» No Sensor Electronics
» High Dynamic Range
  » Lower System Cost
» Lower Noise Floor
» Higher Sensitivity

The USSI All-Optical Geophone is a small, ultra-reliable fiber optic geophone designed for oilfield seismic exploration and production with demonstrated performance that is superior to the magnet/coil geophones that have been used by the oil industry for almost 50 years.

all-optical geophone diagram

The all-optical, omni-directional sensor, which requires no in-situ electronics, copper conductors, or electrical power, is designed to meet the demanding permanent monitoring performance requirements needed for 4D seismic monitoring. It is specifically designed for permanent installations in the oilfield, downhole, buried (for surface seismic), or on the ocean bottom. The USSI system eliminates the need for electronics, electrical connectors, batteries, and heavy copper cables in the field. 

Benefits of the USSI Geophone:
» Viable method to meet increasing oil demand
» Cost-effective alternative to electronic systems
» Permanently-installed for improved reliability
      - Oilfield
      - Down hole
      - Buried (for surface seismic)
      - Ocean bottom
  » Superior performance in every critical operating parameter
» All-optical, requires no in-situ electronics
» Fully, self-contained optical interrogation units
» Translation to digital electronic signals

The USSI geophone system includes a fully self-contained optical interrogation unit with integrated laser sources, as well as the receiver electronics that demodulate the optical signals from the geophones, translating them into digital electronic signals. The optical interrogator uses an optical Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) methodology. 

A fiber optic telemetry cable provides the data path to and from the individual geophones. All of the system electronics reside in the optical interrogator. A single optical interrogator can address up to 300 individual geophones. Since the optical interrogation units are modular, multiple units can be mounted in an equipment rack to increase the number of sensors being monitored. 

security & communication

Seismic Imaging
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that worldwide oil demand will increase from the current 83 million barrels per day (bpd) to approximately 118 million bpd in 2030. To meet this need, the EIA estimates that over $20 trillion of energy related investment will be required through 2030. The National Petroleum Council (NPC) concluded in a July 2007 report that the world is not running out of energy, (there are approximately 20 trillion barrels of oil equivalent in place, roughly equivalent to 400 years at current consumption) but only 5 trillion barrels can be recovered with existing technology. Most experts agree that widespread implementation of 4D seismic techniques represents the most viable method to effect this increase in the recovery percentage. USSI’s new fiber optic sensor systems can provide the key to fuel the widespread adoption of 4D seismic technology.

Why USSI Fiber Optics? – There are two main barriers preventing widespread use of 4D (time lapse) seismic technology in the oil and gas industry, those being repeatability issues with the data and the cost of the surveys. The best way to solve the repeatability issue is to ensure that the locations of the seismic sensors remain fixed, i.e., permanently installed. However, current systems are too expensive and too unreliable to leave in the ground permanently for repeat surveys. In contrast, an equivalent permanent USSI fiber optic system costs about 90% less, and since the fiber optic sensors require no active electronics or electrical power, they are extremely reliable.

USSI fiber optics

USSI’s Role in the Market – Worldwide expenditures in oil & gas exploration and production (E&P) were approximately $400B in 2008, and 3D/4D seismic has consistently been rated as one of the most important technologies influencing the E&P business. USSI’s fiber optic sensors are designed for permanent installation in special purpose, small diameter wellbores, called microholes. According to the US Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, “microhole technology (providing inexpensive access to the subsurface) has the potential to be the most significant technology advance for the energy industry in the last 50 years. It has the potential to be a catalyst for creating a quantum leap in imaging technology, which could lead to a much clearer understanding of subsurface processes. The result is an enhanced picture of the subsurface that helps operators to reduce drilling risk and optimize oil and gas recovery”. USSI has developed its very low cost seismic imaging system to respond to this opportunity. 

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