Shell’s game is changing with bewildering speed. Its latest technological innovation hails from UK defense contractor QinetiQ in a ‘swords-to-ploughshares’ deal that is to convert Qinetiq’s ‘OptaSense’ perimeter security technology for downhole use.
OptaSense uses standard telecom fiber-optic cable to detect, discriminate and locate acoustic events during wellbore operations ‘far beyond what is currently available.’ OptaSense turns a standard fiber strand into an array of ‘virtual microphones’ spaced between 1m and 15m and up to 50km in length. From one location OptaSense can monitor 100km of asset creating 10,000 sensors instantaneously without the need to conduct any in-field operations. The technology has been tested in an 18 month field trial in Canada and is now being used in onshore field development and exploration—especially in acoustic monitoring of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reservoirs.
Qinetiq’s OptaSense is already used in onshore pipeline intrusion monitoring. Shell VP R&D Jeroen Regtien said, ‘Given that most of this technology is in existence today in the defense and security industries, we anticipate a relatively low development risk and expect to deploy the first system soon.’ More from www.qinetiq.com.