New technology critical for oil and gas industry to manage well integrity

April 26, 2021

LONDON — The oil and gas (O&G) industry must look to new, acoustic data-based methodologies to improve the diagnosis of well integrity issues and inform successful remediation and plug and abandonment (P&A) strategies.

This is according to a paper from LYTT, “Well Integrity Flow Detection Using Novel Acoustic Pattern Recognition Algorithms,” which showcases the core role of LYTT’s innovative well integrity methodology in delivering an effective P&A remediation strategy for a bp-owned and operated field in the Americas.

Properly addressing leak and flow issues requires a complete overview of the source of the fluid, its flow path, and its potential to cause an issue for well integrity. Traditional methodologies for tracking leaks and flow have limitations that may prevent operators from consistently achieving full visibility of the health of the well. The dynamic nature of leak and flow events require constant monitoring to capture their intermittency, whereas traditional methods allow monitoring of only one point in depth and time - potentially bypassing the location of the naturally dynamic leaks within hundreds and thousands of meters of the well length. This can hamper the operator’s ability to swiftly and effectively understand and resolve well integrity issues such as tubing leaks, casing leaks, flow behind casing and overburden integrity.

In response, LYTT developed a technology that identifies and differentiates multiple downhole well integrity events by using unique algorithmic pattern recognition capabilities that build on acoustic measurements from Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) data. This allows for a highly targeted intervention that can have a greater chance of success than interventions based on the current standard of surface observation or traditional wireline monitoring techniques.

While the industry has been aware of DAS for over a decade, its full potential has gone unleveraged owing to the difficulty of quickly drawing insights from the enormous volume of acoustic data generated. LYTT solves this downhole “big data” challenge by extracting only the data that informs operational decision-making and analyzing this data in the context of LYTT’s library of acoustic patterns. This results in a significant reduction in DAS data volume at site, and the ability to provide engineers with actionable insights in seconds, not weeks.

“Well integrity is an issue for O&G companies across the globe, but most traditional methods only give a snapshot of the problem – if they find them at all – while the true, dynamic nature of flow events can be missed,” LYTT Technical Product Owner Lilia Noble said. “We think it’s about time that the guesswork around leak detection and remediation is addressed with real-time data that enables informed decision making.”

One exciting thing about DAS is that, with LYTT’s analysis, operators can use the wealth of data this technology generates to find, identify, and predict the source of leaks – even before they occur - in a way that was previously thought impossible, Noble said.

First shared at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, this paper outlines LYTT’s capability and presents a case study of its deployment in the field. The paper outlines how DAS-based pattern recognition algorithms allow operators to identify sources of flow and capture events as they occur, supporting informed decision making and customized remediation strategy planning. The paper is now available to download here.

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