During the last several years, significant progress has been made in the use of fiber-optic technology for well and reservoir surveillance. While most effort in this field appears to be concentrated on the development of fiber-optic-based meters for temperature, pressure, and flow, comparably few publications have been made to date about the use of fiber-optic technology for monitoring deformations of well tubulars and casings.
In this article, we report on recent advances in our development of a real-time fiber-optic-based casing imager. This device is designed for continuous, high-resolution monitoring of the shape of casings or well tubulars and, therefore, enables the determination of strain imposed on the well. Small-scale and full-casing-sized laboratory tests have demonstrated that the latest generation of this system is sufficiently sensitive to detect casing deformations of less than 10°/100 ft and covers compressive and tensile axial-strain ranges from less than 0.1 to 10%. We will discuss the background technology, measurement sensitivity and strain-response characterization, as well as the scaleup work that has been performed to date. Our article also includes an overview of field-test results and illustrates how real-time deformation monitoring could form a significant component of reservoir-surveillance strategies.