Over the last few years, the oil and gas industry had observed a rapid increase in deployment of fiber optic sensing for downhole monitoring. In Field B, 7 wells have been permanently completed with Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) fibers that extend through the reservoirs section 2009 and 2015 respectively. After more than 40 years of production history, this was the first permanent installation of fiber-optic in SX Region. Undeniably the DTS provides a new surveillance experience for Field B; multiple conventional monitoring system can be replaced with permanent fiber monitoring while also effectively minimize production deferments.
This paper presents the real-life challenges of fiber optic applications in Field B, offshore Malaysia. DTS wells are located in satellite platforms which are not accessible on daily basis. While the focus is always on downhole monitoring deliverables, a large proportion of upfront deployment is to invest on the surface equipment that can be complex and costly for data acquisition continuity. As such, biggest challenges faced by Field B are essentially surface-related. Challenges encountered post DTS fiber installations in Field B includes digital oil field set-up, surface hardware replacement and maintenance, local electric room (LER) power-supply stability, data transfer protocol, continuous streaming of DTS data from offshore to onshore, reduced data resolutions, software and capability development. Over the life of the well, these challenges possess significant cost impact and most of time are not captured during the project planning and development stages.
In Field B, throughout 5 years post fiber-optics installation, multiple challenges have been overcome in order to maximize value of information from the downhole monitoring. Knowing that these challenges might impact the downhole monitoring deliverables, the plan for future permanent fiber optic installation in any asset should incorporate all the possible challenges with its mitigation plans identified and set in-place. The lesson-learnt highlighted are turned into future project best practices.