Reprinted from: World Oil, May 2007 issue, pgs 37–44.
Right from the oil industry’s beginning, people wanted to know more about the reservoirs that they were exploiting. This included having a more sound understanding about reservoir behaviour and obtaining knowledge on how to optimize hydrocarbon recovery. As it was, and still is, impossible to look directly into a reservoir, other ways to obtain information about it needed to be investigated. Direct surface measurements were helpful and are still required today, but downhole sensing quickly became an important topic for reservoir monitoring.
The first sensors were for pressure measurements and then temperature. Nowadays, micro-sensing images a whole ground section in 3D. A lot of information can be derived from relatively easy temperature measurements along the borehole. The advances in fibre optics and packaging, and the experience gained over the last five to 10 years, has enabled the industry to deliver low-cost DTS systems. An additional factor has been further development of industry standards and electronics, enabling personnel to build an architecture that allows data flow from the well to the production technologist’s desk.