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SPE Distinguished Lecturer: Fiber Optic Flow Profiling in Horizontal Wells

January 29, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

R. Scot Buell headshotR. Scot Buell

Principal Researcher, Chevron Energy Technology Company

Fiber optic surveillance is one of the fastest growing technologies in the oilfield today with more than 500 US patent applications every year. The use of distributed temperature sensing (DTS), distributed acoustic sensing (DAS), and distributed strain sensing (DSS) is being used for flow surveillance, structural and mechanical integrity monitoring, geomechanics, and seismic acquisition in heavy oil, unconventional resource plays, offshore developments, and waterfloods. Petroleum engineers do not typically receive academic exposure nor training on light physics and the principles used to process and analyze backscattered photons in optical fibers to derive temperature, acoustic energy, and strain. The basics of fiber optic oilfield applications will be provided.

This presentation will review SPE-181431, Horizontal Steam Injection Flow Profiling Using Fiber Optics and SPE-185667, Operational Experience with Fiber Optic Systems in Horizontal Steam Injectors. Chevron has developed a stable of 12 algorithms that use a variety of different physical principles to analyze DTS and DAS data to derive a steam injection flow profile. The physics of steam flow in horizontal well is very complex due to mass transfer between phases, prediction of heat loss rates, and a single analysis technique cannot provide reliable flow profiles in this environment. A multi-physics approach is used to development flow profiles under transient and steady state conditions using DTS and DAS to estimate steam flow profiles. Euclidian convergence and clustering theory is used to combine multiple flow profiles based upon different physical principles to develop high confidence flow profiles. The principles reviewed in these two papers have broader implications and applications for flow profiling in all horizontal wells.


Scot Buell has worked globally for 37 years as a petroleum engineer for Chevron and its legacy companies. He is currently principal researcher for thermal horizontal wells and thermal subsurface integrity management for the Chevron Energy Technology Company. He also serves as a corporate reserves auditor and waterflood expert for Chevron Corporation. He holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum engineering and an MS degree in petroleum economics, all from Colorado School of Mines. He has served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer for 2005–06 and 2017-18. He is the author of 12 SPE papers, has been an SPE technical editor for 22 years.   He has served as an SPE section chairman, Forum chairman, and Applied Technology Workshop chairman.


January 29, 2018
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Marquez Hall
1600 Arapahoe St.
Golden, CO 80401 United States


Room Number
MZ 108