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Seismic Systems ships ‘largest’ downhole array

10 Jul 2012

Parent company invests an additional $5 million in related optical technologies.

US Seismic Systems, Chatsworth, CA, has built and shipped the world’s largest commercial high temperature down-hole fiber-optic seismic array. The 40-level array is designed for monitoring wells that use the latest unconventional oil and gas extraction technique known as “hydrofracking”.

”We believe that our fiber-optic technology, which provides substantially higher performance with an 80-90 per cent reduction in cost as compared to the legacy monitoring systems, will enable operators to cost effectively monitor 100% of their frac jobs, leading to significant reductions in environmental impact as well as improvements in extraction efficiency,” stated Jim Andersen, CEO of US Seismic Systems.

“In addition, our system is designed to operate in the higher temperature shale plays such as Eagleford and Haynesville where the legacy digital electronic systems have been known to have problems.”

The system, valued at over $700,000, will be used by a large oilfield service company to monitor stimulations in a high temperature unconventional oil and gas field in Texas. “We are extremely pleased that Jim and his team have achieved the important milestone of shipping their first commercial system by the end of the first half of 2012, as per their plan.”

”We are very impressed by the quality of innovation at the company as well as the pipeline of customer interest in US Seismic’s products. Acorn’s Board has agreed to invest an additional $5 million for working capital and to support manufacturing scale-up and inventory build to assure quick turnaround for anticipated new and follow on orders. This latest capital will increase our total investment in US Seismic to over $16 million,” stated John Moore, CEO of Acorn Energy.

USSI’s all-optical seismic sensor systems meet the demanding performance, cost and reliability requirements of permanent 4d oilfield monitoring. Designed to replace the expensive, failure-prone legacy magnet and coil geophone sensors used for oilfield exploration and production the last 50 years, the USSI fiber optic geophone provides superior precision in every key category: sensitivity, noise floor, distortion, bandwidth, and dynamic range- all a lower cost.

All electronics can be separated from the light-powered sensor and its hostile sensing environment, whether down-hole, buried, or at the ocean bottom. Preamplifiers, filters, ADC, and multiplexing electronics can then reside in a benign, easily accessible, and controlled environment. USSI says its geophone can reduce the cost of the permanently-installed equipment by a factor of 15-20, making it, the company claims, “a true game changer” for the 4D seismic market.

US Seismic Systems utilizes all-optical sensing technology for its state-of-the-art sensing systems. The optical fiber itself is the sensor and it is designed to replace the legacy electronic-based sensor systems that are more costly and less reliable. The fiber optic sensing technology employs Fiber Bragg Gratings embedded into the core of the fiber. The fiber is packaged into rugged cables specifically designed for the various operating environments, be it down hole in an oil well, on the ocean bottom, or buried around the perimeter of a secure facility.

Previous deal

At the end of June , US Seismic Systems announced that it had shipped an “ultra high sensitivity” fiber-optic based marine seismic array for oil & gas exploration. The system was purchased by an international service provider and is intended for use as a marine array to aid in the collection and interpretation of data in the hostile environment of deep sea oil and gas operations.

"Taking this cutting edge technology from R&D to order fulfillment is an exciting series of events for any company and Acorn Energy has given us all the tools necessary to make this happen," said Jim Andersen, President of USSI. "The oil & gas industry continues to adopt new technology to meet the world's increasing demand for energy and by deploying our cutting edge technology they now have one more arrow in their quiver."

The contract, valued at over $800,000, is the first completion of a cycle that starts with testing, evaluating and finally sales and shipment. USSI is moving forward upon this identical cycle with a number of its customers.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org

Bristol Instruments, Inc.Ocean InsightLouwersHaniqueEKSMA OPTICSNanoscribe GmbHSynopsys, Optical Solutions GroupPhotonTec Berlin GmbH
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