Impact of Oil Price Drop on Fiber Optic Sensors Market

The distributed fiber optic sensor market stood at $585 million in 2013. The market was projected to be $1.5 billion in 2018 with 70% associated with the oil and gas segments. The sudden and unexpected drop in oil prices will negatively impact the market with the overall forecast falling short of the $1.5 billion forecast according to an updated and revised market survey report conducted by the Photonic Sensor Consortium and offered by Electronics.ca Publications. The long term picture is still optimistic, but a short term contraction is likely.

Distributed fiber optic sensors are an enabling technology that creates smart systems in a variety of applications. The initial commercialization efforts focused on military applications. However, the need to function in harsh environments and the development of optical fiber technology that can survive in these applications has significantly impacted the oil and gas industry. These smart sensing systems provide benefits throughout the life of a well from exploration to drilling and completion, production and reservoir management. There is no other technology that can provide critical process control information spatially throughout well in real time over long periods. Without smart well technology, fracture monitoring and analysis and applications like steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) would be very difficult to effectively implement.

“A point that is under stated is that distributed fiber optic sensing systems have enabled smart well technology which has created the North American energy boom,” Dr. David Krohn, author of the 2014 Photonic Sensor Consortium Market Survey Report stressed. Krohn is Chairman of the Photonic Sensor Consortium and managing partner of Light Wave Venture LLC.

While energy is the leading market sector for this technology, it serves as a platform in many other applications shown in the accompanying figure.

Impact of Oil Price Drop Fiber Optic Sensor Applications

The forecast covers distributed fiber optic sensing systems including sensor elements, fiber optic cables, interrogators and software.

The markets covered are defined below:
* Worldwide market excluding China * Market segments covered

  • Oil & gas seismic
  • Oil & gas in-well
  • Oil & gas pipelines
  • Wind energy turbines
  • Geothermal
  • Utility power lines
  • Military – hydrophone
  • Military – security
  • Military – shipboard / avionic
  • Homeland security – intrusion / chemical
  • Infrastructure
  • Industrial process control

Most physical properties can be sensed optically with fibers. Light intensity, displacement (position), temperature, pressure, rotation, sound, strain, magnetic field, electric field, radiation, flow, liquid level, chemical analysis, and vibration are just some of the phenomena that can be sensed. Fiber optic sensors have been used successfully for many years in military gyroscopes and hydrophones. However, their use in smart oil wells has been the key to enabling North America to be on a path to energy independence.

The following companies are profiled in the report: 4DSP, Baker Hughes, CGGVeritas, Fiber SenSys, FISO Technologies, Fotech, IFOS, Intelligent Optical Systems, Halliburton, LIOS Technology, Luna, Micron Optics, Northrop Grumman, NP Photonics, Opsens, Optiphase, OZ Optics, Petrospec Engineering, PGS, QinetiQ, Schlumberger, Sensornet, Silixa, Smartec (Roctest Group), TGS, US Seismic Systems, Inc. (USSI), Weatherford, and Zeibel.

The Photonics Sensor Consortium in conjunction with Light Wave Venture was started in 2003 as an independent organization to assist in the market development and commercialization of photonic sensor technology. The primary focus has been on distributed fiber optic sensors. Over the last 10 years, the Consortium has tracked the market and provided overall projections and market analysis for active participants. This report is the first to be available to the general photonics industry. Details of the new report, table of contents and ordering information can be found on Electronics.ca Publications’ web site.  View the report2014 Photonic Sensor Consortium Market Survey Report.

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