A colleague alerted me to a great story of technological longevity. In our world of process automation, it’s not uncommon for product lives to be measured in decades. And, some of these control systems, safety systems, and field instrumentation operate in harsh conditions. How about something that is still transmitting pressure and temperature data from an offshore oil & gas well deep downhole for more than two decades?
This longevity story appears in Subsea UK, in an article, Roxar Downhole Gauge Racks up 21 Years of Uninterrupted Use. The pressure and temperature transmitter was:
…permanently installed downhole in the [Statoil] Gullfaks C reservoir in 1990 and has been transmitting data uninterrupted for over 20 years.
It has remained in the reservoir without maintenance or replacement since installation.
That’s quite a remarkable run. Despite the pressures and temperatures under which it’s been operating, it has likely aged better than I have!
In the article, Emerson’s Svenn Haugen noted:
The North Sea’s inhospitable climate and great depths requires innovative and cost-effective offshore technology. The longevity of our permanent downhole monitoring system in one of the most challenging environments is an incredible success story for Roxar, Statoil and the industry.
With regard to the technologies, they continue to advance. Svenn also shares:
We are continually developing our topside and subsea systems to push the boundaries of well monitoring and control. The next generation of systems are wireless and designed specifically to measure pressure, temperature and multiphase flow from every zone in the well.
I’ll have to leave it to the next generation of bloggers to report on the 20-year anniversaries of these wireless downhole transmitters.