Monitoring the subsurface has never been easier

Article written byHouda Gharbi, pour Evolen Magazine n°2, pages 12-13

SpotLight is revolutionizing the subsurface monitoring sector by offering a practical, innovative, and competitive solution. It caters not only to the Oil & Gas industry but also to other subsurface domains such as geothermal energy, gas/CO2 storage, and volcanology. Co-founders Élodie Morgan and Habib Al Khatib provide explanations of the technology’s capabilities and advantages.

For the past 3 years, SpotLight has been developing a subsurface monitoring tool. Unlike other available solutions on the market, the technology developed by the young start-up allows for surface-level monitoring of all geomechanical changes that may occur in key underground areas. “The goal of our monitoring system is to issue real-time alerts when an event occurs in the subsurface, whether it’s a few meters or several kilometers beneath the ground,” explains Élodie Morgan. SpotLight enables the detection of changes in the subsurface, such as pressure effects, saturation changes, fluid injection or transit, compression or release, fractures, and temperature. This monitoring, which can be performed on an hourly or daily basis, optimizes decision-making processes to deploy corrective actions if necessary at the right time. “SpotLight only focuses on identifying the areas to place the sensors and on processing and exploiting the collected data acquired in real-time. As for the necessary equipment, it consists of standard devices that can be deployed by the company itself or a service provider,” emphasizes Élodie Morgan.

SpotLighters, January 2020

A proven innovative solution

“SpotLight is an innovative and complementary tool to oil and gas field monitoring technologies,” emphasizes Habib Al Khatib. The young company already has several use cases under its belt. “For our first demonstrator, we conducted steam injection monitoring in North America. We detected a leak in an injection well. The hazardous nature of the affected area had been highlighted in a prior assessment, and our intervention confirmed this,” notes Habib Al Khatib. SpotLight has also been used to detect variations in a gas storage facility operated by OMV in the Vienna Basin. The solution has been employed for hydraulic fracturing monitoring to assess its uniformity and extent. “We have also worked on verifying the compartmentalization of an oil field. The goal was to determine if the existing compartments were interconnected, thus avoiding the need for drilling a new well. And indeed, that was the case. It resulted in significant cost savings amounting to tens of thousands of dollars,” explains Habib Al Khatib. He further adds, “Today, we are involved in all these use cases and, with the capital raised, we will explore new applications to demonstrate the industrial viability and scalability of our solution.”

Driving the Energy Transition

The French deep tech startup firmly believes that the subsurface has a crucial role to play in the Energy Transition, including the storage of CO2 underground to meet the COP21’s 2-degree target. “SpotLight can contribute its expertise in this area. Additionally, we also aim to support the Oil & Gas industry in optimizing the production of existing reserves to ensure a steady oil supply during the Energy Transition, without the need to explore and develop sensitive areas such as the Arctic, Alaska, or the Amazon,” concludes Habib Al Khatib.

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