This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 209540, “Real-Time Fiber Optics: A Door Opener for the Wellbore Environment,” by Håkon S. Bakka, SPE, Stefan Dümmong, and Kjetil E. Haavik, SPE, Equinor, et al. The paper has not been peer reviewed.


For the Johan Sverdrup asset, Equinor has developed a data-streaming solution that allows for real-time processing and interpretation of fiber-optic (FO) data. In its current state, it processes approximately 500 TB of data each week, with insights made accessible to the end user through a web-based front-end platform. In the complete paper, the authors illustrate the benefits of this system and how it can provide improved understanding of well conditions and processes.

The FO System

The FO system consists of three main components. The first is the FO-acquisition system, which is delivered by the distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) and distributed temperature sensing (DTS) vendors. These FO interrogators deliver data in a streaming format, allowing for continuous data transfer to the second component, the high-performance processing cluster. This cluster transforms the high-bandwidth FO data into lower-bandwidth FO feature data. The lower-bandwidth data then is transferred to the operator’s cloud solution, which makes data available for analysis. In its current state, the system experiences delays of only 2–3 seconds from data acquisition to FO features being made available for analysis in the cloud platform.

One of the novelties of the system design is its flexibility. Because the components are distinct and only interact through application programming interfaces, they can be interchanged based on different use cases. DAS and DTS interrogators have different qualities, so, for example, these can be swapped based on needs; because processing requirements will be based on incoming data specifications, these also can be adapted. This result is a system that can be tailored to the requirements of specific monitoring applications.

Examples of Real-Time Analysis

The complete paper presents examples that show the varied applicability of real-time FO data to tasks including the following:

- Wellbore cleanup and fluid tracking

- Well-intervention-tool tracking and monitoring

- Gas-lift-valve (GLV) leak detection

- Fluid-phase distinction

- Overburden monitoring

This synopsis will include discussions of the first three of these applications.

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