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Brief history of fiber optic sensing in the oil field industry
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Paper Abstract

The use of fiber optic sensing in the oil and gas industry has greatly expanded over the past two decades. Since the first optical fiber-based pressure sensor was installed in a well in 1993, the industry has sought to use fiber sensing technology to monitor in-well parameters. Through the years, optical fiber sensing has been used in an increasing number of applications as technical advances have opened the door for new measurements. Today, fiber optic sensors are used routinely to measure temperature throughout the wellbore. Optical sensors also provide pressure measurements at key locations within the well. These measurements are used to verify the integrity of the well, provide feedback during well completion operations, including the actuation of downhole valves, and to monitor the production or injection process. Other sensors, such as seismic monitors and flowmeters, use fiber sensing technology to make in-well measurements. Various optical sensing techniques are used to make these measurements, including Bragg grating, Raman scattering, and coherent Rayleigh scattering. These measurements are made in harsh environments, which require rugged designs for optical cable systems and instrumentation systems. Some of these applications have operating temperatures of 572°F (300°C), and other applications can have pressures in excess of 20,000 psi (1,379 bar). This paper provides a historical perspective on the use of fiber optic sensing in the oil and gas industry from industry firsts to current applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 June 2014
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9098, Fiber Optic Sensors and Applications XI, 909803 (18 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2050550
Show Author Affiliations
Christopher S. Baldwin, Weatherford International Ltd. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9098:
Fiber Optic Sensors and Applications XI
Henry H. Du; Gary Pickrell; Eric Udd; Christopher S. Baldwin; Jerry J. Benterou; Anbo Wang, Editor(s)

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