Skip to main content

Hazard Mitigation and Facility Monitoring Programs: Fiber-Optic Seismic Systems

Status: AWARD END DATE: 8/31/2018


In the Gulf of Mexico, there are some 25,000 miles of pipelines crisscrossing the seafloor and about 3,000 producing wells with their associated platforms (Edelstein, 2015). The Gulf currently produces approximately 20% (1.7 million barrels of oil per day – EIA, 2016) of the US oil total. The overall goal of this project is to develop vibration monitoring systems to improve the safety and cost-effectiveness of subsea petroleum monitoring and production. Anything that compromises this activity can have serious economic or environmental consequences. Wells and pipelines can be subject to untoward events or processes (e.g., corrosion, plugging, leakage, storms, seafloor instabilities).

Thus, monitoring oil and gas flow in pipelines (and risers and sub-bottom casings) is critical to assess conduit integrity and as well as optimize overall production performance. This proposal focuses on reservoir characterization, underwater communication and infrastructure integrity assurance. This work will develop a proof-of-concept marine, fiber-optic vibration sensing system – an instrumented flow loop for the lab and field. Along with associated analysis and interpretation methods, this system will provide learnings for improved subsea reservoir monitoring and production. Industry support will come in the form of collaborations with Apache Corp., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Optasense and Halliburton.