Abstract

Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) system using optical fiber has been deployed for downhole monitoring over two-decades. Several technological advancements led to a wide acceptance of this technology as a reliable surveillance technique. This paper presents a comprehensive technical review of all the applications of the DTS, with focus on oil and gas industrial deployments.

The paper starts with the advantages of the DTS over other methods and an overview of the DTS basics, including theory, the DTS components, deployment types, fiber types, design and limitations. Then, it is followed by the oil and gas applications of the DTS including hydraulic fracturing (during and after fracturing), well treatment/stimulation (acid injection, fluid distribution, diversion monitoring), inorganic (scaling) and organic (wax/asphaltene/hydrate) deposition detection, leak detection (in well and pipeline), flow monitoring (rate monitoring, water/steam injection and SAGD monitoring, CO2 storage monitoring, zonal contribution determination, gas lift optimization) and reservoir/fluid characterization (facies, porosity, permeability and fluid composition determination).

This study reviews the historical development, applications and limitations of the DTS systems. The paper mainly focusses on deployment techniques, the application of the DTS for the prediction and surveillance of the non-thermal and thermal producer/injector wells, hydraulically fractured wells and those wells with treatments. The paper provides a concise review using several field cases from over two hundred published papers of Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) and journal databases.

The application of the DTS in downhole monitoring can be divided into the qualitative and quantitative applications. In quantitative approaches, numerical models should be combined with the DTS data. This study discusses case by case worldwide field applications of DTS along with proposed modeling methods and interpretations. It also summarizes main challenges, including the fiber reliability, longevity, and operational limitations such as the installation and the complexity of quantitative approaches.

This study is the foundation for an ongoing study on wellbore and reservoir surveillance through real-time distributed fiber optic sensing recordings along the wellbore. It summarizes the historical development and limitations to identify the existing gaps and reviews the lessons learned through the two decades of the application of the DTS in production performance.

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