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Noise in completions amelioration for permenent seismic sensors (NICAPSS)


The hydrocarbon industry recognizes the need for information that will enable real-time reservoir management and optimisation of well productivity. Borehole seismic (eg crosswell, 3D-VSP) and Microearthquake (Microseismic) monitoring technology can provide continuous time-lapse information on reservoir processes that will improve reservoir knowledge and management. However, a major barrier to the permanent deployment of seismic sensors has been the problem of flow induced acoustic noise in well completions. The objective of this research project is the fundamental physical/mechanical understanding of acoustic noise generation and transmission in flowing wells, enabling the development of practical solutions to the problem of permanent seismic sensor deployment in active hydrocarbon wells. The requirement is to separate the seismic signal, either physically or digitally, from the environmental noise while ensuring good coupling to the rockmass. The physical placement of the sensors with respect to the completion is therefore vital, as is the use of materials and structures in the engineering of the sensor mounting and deployment package. This research project will measure, characterize and understand the propagation of noise through the engineering structures present in a completion and then design and test measures to minimize this in the vicinity of the seismic sensors. The key achievements of the project have been: - Construction and instrumentation of an inclined test well experimental system; - Construction of a 'test block' (smaller version of inclined test well). This allowed more rapid, but smaller scale, evaluation of acoustic responses of the various tool configurations; - Flow testing and noise characterisation to 30,000bbls/day in both the 'test block' and 'inclined borehole'; - Design & testing of a prototype seismic sensor package that has 30-40dB better noise rejection than current commercial systems; - Sound Path Diagram construction and analysis for well completion and various sensor assemblies; - FE Numerical modelling based on the waveguide approach.; The overall results of the research are proven technology/techniques that could be used in the permanent deployment of borehole seismic sensor systems. The specific results and milestones are: - Definition of the key parameters affecting acoustic noise generation/transmission; - Borehole acoustic noise waveform characterisation; - Predictive modelling tools for assessment and amelioration of acoustic noise; - Definition of noise management techniques; - Specifications for seismic sensor deployment methodology. The results of the project will enable the commercial exploitation of seismic monitoring technology in active hydrocarbon and geothermal wells. The research has provided a unique technological advantage over non-European competitors in the oil and gas industry. The partners firmly believe that this technological advantage can be turned into a competitive advantage in the supply of reservoir monitoring services to oil and gas companies around the world. It is difficult to assess the ultimate impact of the technology. However the oil company vision of the "oilfield of the future" is one where advanced reservoir monitoring (e.g. active and passive borehole seismic) is used to enhance recovery factors by a minimum of 5%. Even with a recovery factor increase of 1% on a typical field of 250Million barrels of oil the economic impact would be in excess of 250Million Euro (assuming 10Euro/barrel of oil). The Partners are now eager to establish strong involvement and support in the project from potential end-users of the technology. Now that considerable progress has been made in the project the Partners are working with end-users to identify specific targets for the implementation of the technology. These end-users are currently oil and gas companies - however there will also be possibilities to utilise the technology in geothermal applications.