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Toward the next fiber optic revolution and decision making in the oil and gas industry

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Author: Cheng, L.K. · Boering, M. · Braal, F.M.
Source:Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, USA, 6–9 May 2013
Identifier: 476799
Article number: OTC-23966-MS
Keywords: Electronics · High Tech Systems & Materials · Industrial Innovation · Physics & Electronics · OPT - Optics · TS - Technical Sciences


Fiber optic data transmission has caused revolutionary developments in the current information society. It was also an eye opener for the Oil & Gas industry when fiber optic-based Distributed Temperature Sensing was introduced in the nineties. Temperature profiles over the entire length of the wellbore could suddenly be monitored in real-time to deliver data that is used for troubleshooting and production optimization. Ongoing research in fiber optic sensing technology for applications with extreme operational conditions (such as aerospace or nuclear fusion) will further boost the development of fiber optic multiparameter sensing systems. Innovations like these will particularly benefit the Oil & Gas industry in situations where conventional electronic sensors are not technically feasible or cost efficient. In multi-parameter sensing systems of the future, different types of fiber optic sensors (e.g. flow, pressure, acoustic, chemical, vibration, gravity) can be manufactured and read out via one single optical fiber. Data from the different types of sensors will be merged and processed via special data-mining algorithms to generate unambiguous information for faster and better decision making. Judging on the speed of developments witnessed today, we believe there will be a second fiber optic sensing revolution in the Oil & Gas industry in the near future. In this paper, we will give some in-house examples of fiber optic innovations from both in and outside the Oil & Gas industry to demonstrate the versatility and potential of fiber optic technology.