LONDON -- Distributed fibre optic sensing (DFOS) represents an opportunity for the oil and gas industry to manage and optimise its resources more effectively going forward. Visiongain has forecast that expenditure on DFOS by the oil and gas industry worldwide will be $341.2m in 2014. The rise of expensive multi- lateral hydraulic fracturing, an ever- greater focus on improving oil recovery (IOR) and the continued strength of capital expenditure on thermal enhanced oil recovery techniques (EOR) provide the main markets for uptake of DFOS over the next 10 years.
During the past five years distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) - one type of DFOS - has proven itself as a pipeline surveillance and monitoring system. Furthermore, DAS as a technology looks set to add value to DFOS monitoring solutions of wells and reservoirs - the primary market going forward. DTS (distributed temperature sensing) is already established as a well monitoring technique and the complementary application of a DAS interrogation enhances the future business case for DFOS.
The last main type of DFOS equipment - distributed temperature and strain sensing (DTSS) - is also vying for market share as well as being able to market itself as a solution that can anticipate structural problems with oil & gas infrastructure before they occur.
The application opportunities within the oil and gas industry for DFOS are poised to enable a substantive growth in spending on DFOS equipment. After well monitoring, permanent reservoir monitoring (PRM) and seismic acquisition is an especially exciting venture market for DFOS, as is the use of fibre optics to monitor offshore infrastructure and downstream process integrity. The use of DFOS as part of a 4D solution and VSP (vertical seismic profiling) are the most noteworthy market space growth opportunities for DFOS equipment expenditure over the coming 10 years.
For emphasis: an oil price of $100 per barrel continues to enable exploration and production expenditure on unconventional oil and gas development, thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and ever more IOR (Improved Oil Recovery) activity. Distributed fibre optic sensing is a part of this story: a tool to better the industry's understanding of how to optimise recovery and improve development techniques.
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