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WAND, an innovative wireless autonomous monitoring solution for the Oil & Gas industry

Employees Award - Best Innovators 2020

A project presented by Jean-Grégoire Boero-Rollo, John-Richard Ordóñez-Varela, Frédéric Risler, Didier Caillon and Cédric Mouanga

A world first in the Oil & Gas industry, the Wireless Advanced Nanosensor Device (WAND) solution is revolutionizing wireless well monitoring operations using sensors pumped directly into the well. This project is a vital building block in the acquisition of data needed to achieve the digital transition of our Exploration & Production operations.

The WAND wireless sensor is revolutionizing well monitoring

The regular monitoring of bottom-hole conditions is vital when operating a field. Access to data such as temperatures and pressures helps not only to improve operating efficiency but also to justify the drilling of new wells.

Conventional monitoring methods use gauges lowered into wells on cables. Wells are becoming increasingly deep and convoluted, which multiplies the risk of the cable or gauges snagging. The resulting operating costs can amount to tens of millions of dollars. This does not take into account the significant logistical challenge of transferring specialized teams and equipment to offshore facilities.

The WAND autonomous nanosensor is a game-changer. This system comprises new generation pressure and temperature sensors - miniaturized and wireless - with an accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth communication and battery. The unit is inserted into an HP/HT-resistant nacelle and can be held in the palm of the hand.

This autonomous sensor can be adapted to any environment and reduces operating risks and monitoring costs during interventions in wells and dispenses with the need for specialized equipment. Operational logistics are also significantly reduced, helping to minimize our impact on the environment.

WAND Project - Best Innovators 2020 - Exploration & Production - Total

A solution with many technical advantages

  • The sensor is reusable and can be pumped into a well then recovered on the surface due to its diameter of less than 35 mm.
  • The unit does not require an umbilical wire for its configuration, data transfer or battery. The onboard battery has a charge life of five days.
  • WAND can measure pressures of up to 345 bars and temperatures of up to 150°C, and is resistant to an H2S concentration of 2,000 ppm.
  • Data is transferred to a computer via Bluetooth. A Unix-based software solution has been developed to program the sensors, access the data collected, process it in 10 minutes and provide simplified access to the results.
  • The technology is highly affordable: each system costs less than €40, enabling its widespread use.
Projet WAND - Best Innovators 2020 - Exploration & Production - Total

A world first in Congo

The project was launched at the beginning of 2019 to resolve monitoring problems being experienced by TotalEnergies Exploration & Production Congo in the latest wells drilled from the Tension-Leg Platform in the Moho Nord field.

The drilling and R&D teams developed the solution in collaboration with the University of Michigan. Its feasibility was validated under laboratory conditions in under 11 months and the first prototype was tested under real production conditions in the Yanga offshore field (Congo) only one month later, an outstanding achievement.

More than 500 Dry Tree wells may eventually benefit from this innovation at TotalEnergies. Pipeline monitoring technology is also currently under development.

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