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Italy leads Europe in investment in underground gas storage (UGS) projects and is continually seeking technological advancements that render the fields safer and more reliable for the long term. One new technology recently investigated was a hybrid optical-electrical system to increase reservoir monitoring and facilitate higher-capacity UGS in one of the earliest UGS fields in Italy. As part of a strategic energy plan to increase the volume of UGS within the available reservoirs, an operator initiated field studies to determine how to efficiently increase the redundancy of the permanent monitoring in use. Current Italian legislation required certified downhole data, and environmental legislation required constant monitoring of downhole pressure.
The system that was installed combines hybrid cable and connectors to join a premium quartz electrical gauge to a fiber-optic pressure gauge. As a result, one cable provided access to both gauges. By using two gauges with totally different modes of functionality yet similar metrology, the operator could greatly increase confidence about what pressure existed in the reservoir and how the reservoir was behaving over time. This information ensured that the gas storage facility was run safely and within its prescribed pressure limits. The hybrid permanent monitoring solution successfully demonstrated that combining multiple measurement techniques and principles into one cable can provide an alternative method of introducing measurement redundancy. This alternative has great potential value for operators that must reliably demonstrate their reservoir integrity with limited budgets.
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