PhD Studentship: Downhole Wireless RF Communications

There is an industry desire to create and extend the usage of RF wireless technologies to develop future digital-based oil fields. In particular, this PhD project will assess current evolving aspects of wireless technology to be adapted for providing sub-surface monitoring of Oil and Gas wells. Currently most well measurement communications systems employ permanently installed electrical cables or acoustic technologies.

The intention of this project is to assess and model the physical wellbore architecture and EM environment for the application of wireless RF communications in shallow sub-surface well environments; initially identifying the potential transmission schemes and then developing a wireless RF communications system (early prototype) to prove and validate the novel concept. The prototype, once developed, is patentable and will involve the development of new antennas and RF components as well as the system modeling, design, and implementation. At least two IEEE publications are expected from this research as well as conference publications and travel. This engineering research also has the opportunity to deliver low cost well performance for monitoring well head operational efficacy and crude throughout. Applications are expected for the Global Oil & Gas market sectors. Moreover, this proposed wireless well communications modem system can benefit the Global Oil and Gas industry by reducing the high cost of well interventions ($1 million / well) and can provide a key enabler for deploying low cost well measurement technology in wells and further allow for the introduction of new wireless RF sensor technologies.

In addition to this cost savings, there are significant benefits to production optimization by measuring more wells on a continuous basis. It is expected that this PhD research project, to develop the first RF wireless modem system for wells in the Global Oil and Gas Industry, will change the conventional approach to well measurements and monitoring. This can deliver a cost effective technology solution to enable the monitoring of more wells on a continuous basis. Ultimately this RF communications technology implementation can lead to the lowering of the number of routine well interventions, and, it may be a key enabler to lowering crude costs. In addition, the proposed wireless RF sensor communication system may foster the permanent monitoring of Oil and Gas wells with enhanced efficacy.

Eligibility: Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Interested potential PhD candidates, please contact Prof. Symon K. Podilchak, for enquires. Applicants should apply through the Heriot-Watt University portal.