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Title ImagePublic Abstract


DE-SC0021366: Quantum Enhanced Fiber Sensing for Oil and Gas Applications

Award Status: Active
  • Institution: Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
  • DUNS: 848348348
  • Most Recent Award Date: 07/08/2021
  • Number of Support Periods: 2
  • PM: Fitzsimmons, Timothy
  • Current Budget Period: 09/01/2021 - 08/31/2022
  • Current Project Period: 09/01/2020 - 08/31/2023
  • PI: Marino Valle, Alberto
  • Supplement Budget Period: N/A

Public Abstract

A major area of concern in the oil and gas industry is preventing environmental contamination caused by subsurface leaks due to well integrity issues and spillage through the millions of miles of surface, underground and subsea pipelines, that accrue over years to cause ecological damage, human casualties, and economic loss. Current commercial techniques for leakage detection are limited by environmental and background noise and do not offer enough sensitivity to detect small leaks (<1% flow volume). In order to overcome current limitations, we will leverage recent developments in quantum information science that can lead to a paradigm shift in the field with the potential for a large impact for oil and gas applications through improvements in monitoring technology for earlier identification and warning.

The objective of this project is to develop a quantum sensing approach that is compatible with current infrastructure in the oil and gas industry. We will achieve this goal through the convergence of well-established sensing techniques in the oil and gas industry with novel and disruptive techniques that are emerging from the field of quantum technologies. More specifically, we will use quantum states of light to enhance the sensitivity of fiber optic sensors beyond the classical limit. This approach will enable the detection of very small signals that are currently lost in the noise. We will use entangled states of light, known as twin beam, that exhibit squeezing to achieve the quantum-based enhancement. Furthermore, from a fundamental perspective, we will perform a theoretical study to identify optimal quantum states for the proposed application and test novel sensing modalities that can better take advantage of quantum resources. This research will enable enhanced leak detection approaches at a level that outperforms the current state-of-the-art by at least one to two orders of magnitude under real-life environmental conditions in wellbore.

The research program is an interdisciplinary collaborative effort between the University of Oklahoma (Physics Department), Louisiana State University (Petroleum Engineering), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Quantum Information Science and Energy Systems Development Groups). We will leverage test facilities available at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to perform initial tests of the system. We will then test the developed quantum techniques under real-life conditions at the 5,000 ft deep high pressure test-well, instrumented with fiber optic sensors, at Louisiana State University.

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