New real-time video camera sharpens downhole analysis

EV has developed a new real-time video camera, designed to improve analysis of conditions downhole.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – EV has developed a new real-time video camera, designed to improve analysis of conditions downhole.

The Optis Electric-Line is claimed to be the world’s first fully digital down- and side-view wellbore camera system, providing high-definition and bi-directional transmission, along with surface control of resolution/refresh rate.

According to EV Chief Executive Francis Neill, “being able to actually see what is happening inside the wellbore offers a major game changer for the oil and gas industry.” It will, he adds, allow well engineers to “immediately make important decisions which not only result in significant cost and time reductions, but also improve the efficiency of operations and well performance.”

At 1 1/16-in. diameter, Optis Electric-Line is smaller than existing wellbore cameras and therefore deployable through 3 1/2-in. tubing and the 2 3/8-in. completions commonly used in North American wells. It can be run on any mono or multi-conductor cable.

Development has taken two years, and is continuing. Presently, the camera can only send back black and white pictures, and operating conditions are limited to 125° C (257° F), and 15,000 psi. However, an upgraded color version should be available within a year, rated to 175° C (350° F) and 20,000 psi.

The camera can be used in wide-ranging roles, from relaying images of dropped objects, through inspection of wellbore components, monitoring of corrosion and erosion, detection of water and gas entry, and open-hole imaging in barefoot gas completions.

According to Neill, it was trialled initially in a high temperature gas well in South Australia, where the client wanted to locate a fish at the bottom of the well. “They believed they had clay coming into the well: the camera worked perfectly, but due to the wellbore conditions it was too cloudy to see clearly what was going on.

“The camera was then tested in the North Sea, where the client was unable to get into the wellbore, and wanted to see the cause of the problem. In this case, the camera was used to provide both down and side views. Another test was performed in a well in Louisana, where again a fish was causing an obstruction.”

With Optis Electric-Line, imaging options vary from a low-resolution picture, updated five times each second, through medium-res pictures at one frame/second, to a high-res picture which takes five seconds to transmit. Deviation, high side indication and internal temperature are all transmitted to the surface.

The user can rotate the sideview camera 360 degrees, and can also control light intensity from the surface, allowing the correct exposure to be effected in reflective conditions.


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