The Downhole X-Ray Platform

Game Changing Technology

The oil and gas industry is increasingly challenged by enormous financial stakes, exacting operational requirements, and concern for human safety and the environment. Many of these risks arise from an inability to accurately, efficiently, and safely visualize the downhole well environment and characterize the reservoir and its reserves.

Visuray has responded to these challenges by being the first and only company to develop a game-changing Downhole X-Ray Platform. The platform has taken over 10 years to develop, and is protected by multiple patents. It provides the foundation for a new generation of downhole tools that offers oil companies increased safety, superior environmental performance, and reduced operational risk.

How It Works

The Visuray Downhole X-Ray Platform uses X-ray scattering to produce clear images within the downhole environment. X-ray backscattering occurs primarily in the fluid, and any scattering due to an object in the fluid is negligible. This means that backscatter technology can work in any borehole fluid. X-ray foward scattering is very sensitive to the density of the material it passes through. Since the X-ray source is several orders of magnitude brighter than conventional radioisotopes, forward scatter technology can be used to precisely probe the well environment through multiple casings.

Wherever the well and whatever its condition, the Downhole X-Ray Platform’s family of services will see what’s happening and deliver quality images 100% of the time.

Challenge Convention

Five distinct technological developments and innovations lie at the heart of the Visuray platform. First is a range of custom-designed photon counting X-ray detectors which include dense, pixelated arrays derived from technology developed in the medical industry, and customized compact photomultiplier/scintillator detectors that have been in use in the oil industry. Second is a range of powerful X-ray sources that have been specially miniaturized and designed for high output. This is driven by the third Visuray innovation – a compact, ultra-high voltage power supply enabling the source to emit high-energy X-rays. Fourth, is a family of heat exchangers and active downhole coolers used to maintain the temperature of sources and/or detectors within acceptable limits. The last innovation provides patented data analysis and processing techniques that convert the acquired digital data into 2D and 3D inversions and/or reconstructions.
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Meet the Family


The first tool, known as the VR90 downhole X-ray diagnostic tool, entered commercial service in 2015 and has already demonstrated value in a variety of well inspection operations for customers in Northern Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.


Read more about the VR90


With the extensive experience and customer input gained by the VR90 service, the VR90S advanced diagnostic tool offers an expanded operating envelope in a slimmer size for hotter wells and smaller restrictions while boasting a 50% wider field of view. Additionally, the VR90s tool comprises a fully integrated downhole hydraulic positioning device which allows multiple X-ray images to be acquired with highly accurate positioning.


Read more about the VR90s


Coming next will be the VR360 diagnostic cement evaluation tool, which radiates X-ray photons radially outward from the tool axis to directly evaluate cement integrity and detect mechanical anomalies, even in double casing strings. It is designed to provide the needed step change in the evaluation of well integrity, not only in new wells with advanced cements but also in the increasingly important market for the decommissioning and abandonment of older wells.


Read more about the VR360

The Future Pipeline

Visuray has a strong IP portfolio and unparalleled expertise in the X-ray domain for deployment in both open- and cased-hole wells.
The company’s unique Downhole X-Ray Platform has initially been used for diagnostic well inspection services. Visuray has now harnessed this Platform to build a full-scale laboratory prototype of an X-ray density logging tool with a response virtually identical to the classic formation density tools using a Cesium137 nuclear source. Moreover, due to the extreme brightness of the X-ray source, Visuray has demonstrated that a 0.01 g/cc accuracy can be achieved logging at as fast as 7,200 feet per hour, significantly faster than today’s best-in-class density logging technology. 
Visuray has also harnessed its Downhole X-Ray Platform to build a laboratory equivalent of a conventional neutron porosity logging tool. The Downhole X-Ray Platform therefore promises to displace the conventional nuclear suite of measurements used in formation evaluation and dispense with all nuclear sources. When the combination of equivalent density and neutron porosity measurements is integrated with classic resistivity devices, Visuray’s Downhole X-Ray Platform will then provide a fast and safe triple-combo logging service, free of all nuclear sources, a service Visuray will market as the VRFE72.
In addition to the development of this family of wireline-conveyed tools, the packaging and integration of our Downhole X-Ray Platform is also being adapted for future use in logging-while-drilling applications.
With Visuray’s core competence in developing downhole high-voltage power supplies, high-energy radiation can now be generated electronically. This competence will result in a family of tools that will completely eliminate the use of chemical nuclear sources. This reduces the health and safety risk, improves environmental performance, and meets increasingly stringent governmental regulation arising from security concerns. 
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