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Silixa - advanced fibre optics

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Silixa Ltd of Hertfordshire, UK, a company which develops advanced fibre optic technology, reports that it has grown the company from 6 employees to 35 in the past 2 years with an initial investment from Chevron Technology Ventures and Lime Rock Partners.

The company has recently opened a facility in Houston and anticipates growing employee numbers to 40-50 during 2012.

Silixa's fibre optic technology provides "an order of magnitude" better response in terms of the resolution, the measurement time, the distance, and the sensitivity,' claims CEO Mahmoud Farhadiroushan.

The company's technology, 'Intelligent Distributed Acoustic Sensor', or IDAS, can measure the acoustic field at every metre along tens of kilometres of optical fibre, capturing the amplitude, frequency and phase of the incident acoustic signal with a dynamic range of over 120dB.

Fibre optic technology can be used for many applications including cement evaluation, fracture analysis, integrity monitoring, flow profiling, artificial-lift optimisation, monitoring casing leaks as well as wellbore seismic imaging without the need to shutdown the wells.

The company has demonstrated the benefits of its high performance monitoring systems both in flow and seismic imaging, working working with Chevron, Statoil and Saudi Aramco.

The company has developed a wide range of installation methods for in-well surveillance applications.

It has completed a multiple logging operation in high temperature deviated gas wells using its micro-coil tubing fibre optic sensor.

The company is currently working on a permanent in-well installation of combined distributed temperature and acoustic sensors to monitor the well life-cycle performances.

Silixa has developed a number of signal processing techniques for handling and processing the distributed acoustic data. One of the key applications is distributed downhole flowmeter. The acoustic noise generated and propagated through the fluid can be characterised at every meter along the wellbore.

Using an array processing technique, the speed of sound can be determined at different intervals along the wellbore.

The speed of sound can be used to evaluate the fluid composition which can be then determined from the Doppler shift induced between the speed of sounds propagating in the same and opposite directions with respect to the moving fluid at different intervals.

This means you can see which fluids are flowing into the well at different places, or understand the fluid composition in different places.

It can also be used in enhanced oil recovery to monitor the flow of injection fluids (such as steam) entering the production wells.

The system's ability to stack repetitive seismic signals together with its beamforming ability to accurately determine distance of an acoustic event from the sensing fibre also enables the IDAS to be used as a massive acoustic camera, making it suitable for land-based and seafloor seismic applications.

People have asked about using it to monitor CO2 sequestration. "Every day we get a new enquiry with new applications," Mr Farhadiroushan says. "Some of them are very intriguing."

A lot of the work can be done with existing fibre cable installations, but cleverer processing, he says.



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