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

vr90-01

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

vr90-s-03

With the extensive experience and customer input gained by the VR90 service, the imminent introduction of 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 anchor-stroker which allows multiple X-ray images to be acquired with highly accurate positioning.

 

Read more about the VR90s

vr360-03

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, and the power of the Visuray Downhole X-Ray Platform is not limited to diagnostic well inspection services. Orienting the X-ray source and detectors into the formation can be used to estimate hydrocarbon reserves. Due to the extreme brightness of the X-ray source, this service can be run in half the time of the best-in-class logging technology of today. Besides being deployed in a growing family of wireline-conveyed tools, the packaging and integration of the Downhole X-Ray Platform is being adapted for future use in logging-while-drilling equipment.

In today's world with increasing access to lost, stolen, or stored radioisotopes, it is only a matter of time before a catastrophic event involving the use of these dangerous isotopes occurs. With Visuray’s core competence in developing downhole compact high voltage power supplies, other forms of radiation can be electronically generated. This competence will result in a new family of tools that will completely eliminate the use of nuclear sources in formation evaluation, thereby reducing health and safety risk, improving environmental performance, and meeting increasingly severe governmental pressure stemming from security concerns. 
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