The adoption rate of optical sensing technology for in-well permanent monitoring has accelerated dramatically since first introduced more than 10 years ago and a number of optical sensor types, including pressure, temperature, distributed temperature, seismic, and flowmeters have been commercialized. Although optical sensing technology has a demonstrated track record and gained industry acceptance, large-scale, field-wide commercial deployment has been slow.

This paper describes a recent example of field-wide optical sensing deployment with a planned scope of 27 wells. Multiple in-well sensors were installed in the newly developed Buzzard Field, operated by Nexen Petroleum U.K. Limited in the North Sea. This paper explores the initial results after the first 13 well completions. An assessment of the major project phases from definition, planning, and system selection to project execution, site integration testing, installation, and early life operation of the optical technology is included. A number of lessons in equipment and system design, execution, and data management have been learned and are also discussed in the paper. Whilst field development is ongoing, the initial success rates show that satisfactory performance has been obtained in all key areas including data availability, delivery, and post-processing.

This case study demonstrates that innovative optical sensing technology and downhole flow measurement is ready for large-scale adoption with minimal risk. This is an important and timely finding as the industry is introducing optical monitoring into large subsea fields.

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