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Stingray FosarDeep Team Receives Innovation Award

Published: 5 January 2011

The Stingray FosarDeep® Team was recently presented with the 2010 Team Innovation Award at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Awards ceremony in London.  Judged by a panel of engineering experts, the IET Innovation Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in the engineering, science and technology industries in a prestigious competition that this year attracted a record number of outstanding entries from around the globe.  Having been “exceptionally impressed” by the FosarDeep team’s performance, the judges described the overall conduct of the project, in which the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) is a partner, as “a textbook demonstration of innovative engineering".

As we approach the end of easy-to-access oil and gas worldwide, and operating companies head into ever deeper waters and produce oil at greater distances from established infrastructure, so more cost-effective, lower risk seismic imaging and enabling technologies - such as fibre-optic Permanent Reservoir Monitoring (PRM) - are being sought to increase recovery rates.

Partially funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the FosarDeep programme was established by Stingray Geophysical, a leader in seismic PRM solutions to the upstream oil and gas industry, in 2008.  Drawn from leading organisations acknowledged as technical experts in their fields, partners in the multi-disciplinary team comprise the world leading ORC at the University of Southampton, Atlas Elektronik UK, experienced fibre-optic cable and sensor manufacturers and VerdErg Connectors, providers of underwater engineering expertise. 

Working collaboratively to develop the equipment and methods required to install Stingray’s Fosar® optical sensing arrays efficiently in water depths up to 3,000m and successfully transmit signals over long distances to enable through-life monitoring of offshore oil and gas reservoirs, the team “showed exemplary teamwork in overcoming major technical challenges in a severe environment”.  By considering the product and its delivery mechanism as an integrated requirement, the interdependent elements of the deepwater PRM solution were able to leverage the small size, high strength and data quality capabilities of optical fibres to achieve technical innovation.  The resulting FosarDeep concept design is unique and, in addition to reducing cost and risk for deepwater operators, the solution will significantly reduce engineering and reservoir risk in deep and ultra-deep water reservoirs.

The ORC has played a major part in the project, having been tasked to provide the viability of remotely interrogating a seismic PRM system over distances of 500km.  This requires the use of optical amplifier and transmission fibre technology borrowed from telecommunications but adapted to distribute and collect optical signals from a remote array of interferometric sensor elements.

ORC Deputy Director, Professor David Richardson, leader of the ORC FosarDeep research team, comments: “We are delighted that the FosarDeep team been awarded the IET 2010 Innovation Award in recognition of the great technological advances and team work that has occurred within this exciting project.  This has been a highly demanding programme with many scientific and engineering challenges that we have only been able to overcome by drawing upon our collective expertise and through close collaboration.  As a result, the UK has been able to develop a new and potentially very important capability for the global oil and gas industry”.

Nigel Fine, Chief Executive of the IET, commented: “These awards clearly demonstrate how innovative developments can help to deliver a greener future and potentially save lives.  I am very proud of the Innovation Awards because they cut straight to the core vision of the IET - advancing knowledge in order to enhance people’s lives.” 

Watch the award announcement

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