A Distributed Microchip System for Subsurface Measurement
- Mengjiao Yu (The University of Tulsa) | Sufeng He (The University of Tulsa) | Yuanhang Chen (The University of Tulsa) | Nicholas Takach (The University of Tulsa) | Peter LoPresti (The University of Tulsa) | Shaohua Zhou (Saudi Aramco) | Nasser M. Al-Khanferi (Saudi Aramco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 8-10 October, San Antonio, Texas, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.12.1 Measurement While Drilling, 1.5 Drill Bits, 5.6.5 Tracers, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.7.7 Cuttings Transport, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.6.1 Drilling Operation Management, 2 Well Completion, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 5.3.3 Particle Transportation, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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A revolutionary cost-effective "Microchip" system capable of measuring temperature and pressure over the entire wellbore was developed and tested in the field. The Microchip system includes two major components: the surface devices and the "tracer." A tracer (~7.5 mm in diameter) consists of fiber optic sensors, a SoC IC (System-on-Chip, which includes micro-controller, memory, transmitter and receiver circuits) and a battery, all encapsulated in a protective chemical coating shell. The surface devices include an "initiator?? to reset the circuit of the tracer and a "data collector?? to retrieve data from the tracer using wireless communication. When used in the field, tracers will be injected together with the drilling fluid. As the tracer travels through the wellbore, it will measure the temperature and pressure through the entire wellbore and store the data in the on-chip memory. When the tracers are carried out of the borehole by the drilling fluid, a "data collector?? will communicate with the tracer to download the data stored in the on-chip memory on the tracer. Thirteen tracers were injected in an 11,050ft well and circulated with a 13ppg mud at 400-500gpm. After travelling about 6.6km in the 8-3/8 inch wellbore to a depth of 11,050 ft, seven tracers returned to the surface successfully. The first tracer returned to the surface after 57 min. Data recorded on the tracer shows a bottom hole pressure of ~7500psi and flowing bottom hole temperature of ~190 degrees Fahrenheit. Results are consistent with the static bottom hole pressure and temperature. The Microchip system can be used for subsurface measurement or as a diagnostic tool for identifying problematic zones. As an open platform, the Microchip system could also be expanded to other measurements by using different types of sensors. This Microchip system can be used in drilling and completion, pipeline monitoring and many other applications.
Modern exploration and production of oil/gas reserves require well-managed drilling operations. Acquisition of data (such as pressure and temperature) over the entire wellbore during drilling operations is critical for decision-making, reducing costs, and enhancing safety and efficiency. However, current Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) systems are very expensive and require additional personnel for operation and maintenance. In addition to the cost and manpower requirements, MWD systems are installed close to the drill bit and therefore can only measure the variables close to the drill bit, not the entire borehole. Besides that, most MWD systems use mudpulse telemetry to transfer data to the surface. Because mudpulse telemetry is very slow (about several bits per second), most MWD systems have to store the collected data in their memory and such data can be retrieved only after each bit run (significantly delayed information). Such an MWD system drastically increases the complexity of the drilling system. Therefore, a cost-effective, real-time subsurface instrument that can provide information for the entire borehole (not only information close to the drill bit) or test section is of great importance.
The primary objective of this work is to develop a revolutionary measurement-while-drilling subsurface instrumentation system capable of measuring temperature and pressure over the entire wellbore in "real-time". The concept involves the application of large-scale, low-power, low-voltage mixed-signal integrated circuit design, chemistry (chemical coating), fluid mechanics and drilling engineering knowledge. This development is a cross-disciplinary collaboration of personnel with expertise in different fields (chemistry, electrical engineering, fluid mechanics and petroleum engineering). The instrumentation system developed in this work is not only useful for field applications but also for research purposes.
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