Vallourec's Intelligent Pipes Become Your "Eyes Inside the Well"

Source: 10/26/2020, Location: North America

After two years of co-development with OpenField Technology, a startup specializing in micro-sensors, Vallourec is launching its Intelligent Pipe technology, a highly performing solution for well monitoring. Simple and easy to use, it will become your eyes inside the well. Thanks to the data collected via this technology, intelligent pipes are contributing to protect our planet by preventing environmental issues.

Vallourec & OpenField Technology: an Open Innovation success story
In 2017, Vallourec launched its first Open Innovation challenge. Dedicated to all things "smart tubes", this challenge saw more than 40 start-ups and companies from around the world submit ideas. Preselected among these companies, OpenField Technology was invited to pitch its proposal, “OpenField measurements in pipes“, in front of an international judging panel and was selected as the winner of the challenge.

Since 2018, Vallourec and OpenField Technology teams have been collaborating together in order to co-develop an innovative monitoring solution involving sensors directly embedded in the pipes which monitor the entire wellbore of customers’ wells. After testing different concepts and design simulation loops, Vallourec is now launching a qualified solution, compatible with any well design.

Openfield Technology provided to this project all its expertise in the fields of sensors and transmission-telemetry methods. They were in charge of developing the sensors and monitoring system and reducing its size to be able to fit it depending on the customers’ dimensional well constraints. The startup also managed the communication between the different modules.

Securing well integrity, optimizing production and monitoring potential impact
The intelligent pipe solution anticipates well integrity issues that customers can encounter during the life of their wells, from running to production and up to decommissioning. By providing in real time the pressure and temperature of all zones of a well, even of – so far – inaccessible areas, the solution helps operators to anticipate any abnormal situation presenting a risk for the integrity of the well, thus guaranteeing the safety of both the teams on-site and of the environment.

Moreover, our technology combined with the Vallourec tubular database1 brings to our customers a new lever to optimize their operations. Indeed, by comparing the real pressure and temperature in the well to the actual pipe resistance, customers will be able to adjust their production parameters and optimize the well operations.

Last but not least, our solution gives access to data related to geological formations beyond the casing, which facilitates impact management. By opening a window on the casing, Vallourec’s Intelligent Pipes provide direct information on the well environment, such as characterizing moving salt formations or determining the efficiency of the injection process.

A technology that is not just for oil and gas wells
Many oil & gas customers have already shown great interest in this solution which has the potential to grow significantly. A first field trial is planned early 2021. However, Vallourec’s Intelligent Pipe solution is not only applicable to oil & gas industry. It can be used for monitoring of CO2 storage wells, where the integrity and absence of leaks for decades are of prime importance. It can also be applied to hydrogen wells to facilitate storage integrity monitoring.

Thanks to our partnership with OpenField Technology, initiated as part of our Open Innovation Challenge, Vallourec is able to offer to customers its Intelligent Pipe service including a visionary well monitoring, with sensors directly embedded in the pipes. The in-situ data, associated to the real tubular dataset will help reinforce and characterize wells’ integrity and performance, contributes to the protection of our environment. Didier Hornet Senior Vice President Development & Innovation at Vallourec

The collaboration with Vallourec is a perfect match. We design and build the unique technology enabling multi-annular monitoring while Vallourec brings in all its expertise on well architecture and tubular deployments. Meeting the challenges of tomorrow would not be possible on a global scale without such a partnership. Emmanuel Tavernier R&D Manager at OpenField Technology

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