An Overview of Acoustic Telemetry

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Acoustic telemetry has been a dream of the drilling industry for the past 50 years. It offers the promise of data rates which are one-hundred times greater than existing technology. Such a system would open the door to true logging-while-drilling technology and bring enormous profits to its developers. The oil and gas industry has led in most of the attempts to develop this type of telemetry system; however, very substantial efforts have also been made through government sponsored work in the geothermal industry. None of these previous attempts have lead to a commercial telemetry system. Conceptually, the problem looks easy. ... continued below

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73-79

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Drumheller, D.S. March 24, 1992.

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Description

Acoustic telemetry has been a dream of the drilling industry for the past 50 years. It offers the promise of data rates which are one-hundred times greater than existing technology. Such a system would open the door to true logging-while-drilling technology and bring enormous profits to its developers. The oil and gas industry has led in most of the attempts to develop this type of telemetry system; however, very substantial efforts have also been made through government sponsored work in the geothermal industry. None of these previous attempts have lead to a commercial telemetry system. Conceptually, the problem looks easy. The basic idea is to produce an encoded sound wave at the bottom of the well, let it propagate up the steel drillpipe, and extract the data from the signal at the surface. Unfortunately, substantial difficulties arise. The first difficult problem is to produce the sound wave. Since the most promising transmission wavelengths are about 20 feet, normal transducer efficiencies are quite low. Compounding this problem is the structural complexity of the bottomhole assembly and drillstring. For example, the acoustic impedance of the drillstring changes every 30 feet and produces an unusual scattering pattern in the acoustic transmission. This scattering pattern causes distortion of the signal and is often confused with signal attenuation. These problems are not intractable. Recent work has demonstrated that broad frequency bands exist which are capable of transmitting data at rates up to 100 bits per second. Our work has also identified the mechanism which is responsible for the observed anomalies in the patterns of signal attenuation. Furthermore in the past few years a body of experience has been developed in designing more efficient transducers for application to metal Waveguides. The direction of future work is clear. New transducer designs which are more efficient and compatible with existing downhole power supplies need to be built and tested; existing field test data need to be analyzed for transmission bandwidth and attenuation; and the new and less expensive methods of collecting data on transmission path quality need to be incorporated into this effort.

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73-79

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  • Proceedings, Geothermal Energy and the Utility Market - The Opportunities and Challenges for Expanding Geothermal Energy in a Competitive Supply Market; San Francisco, CA, March 24-26, 1992, Geothermal Program Review X

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  • Report No.: CONF-920378--13
  • Grant Number: None
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 891889
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc882694

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  • March 24, 1992

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 3:30 p.m.

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Drumheller, D.S. An Overview of Acoustic Telemetry, article, March 24, 1992; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882694/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.