Review of Downhole Wireless Communication Techniques

Fig. 1—Simplified representation of an openhole horizontal-well environment, having no production tubing, liner, or umbilical in the laterals (L1 and L2) and the mainbore (L0).

For openhole horizontal wells, providing power and data through an umbilical is very challenging. Wireless communication is the essential component of any downhole monitoring-and-control solution. A wireless solution can also significantly reduce the complexity and cost associated with the wired solutions. In this paper, various wireless communication techniques are classified and an extensive review of state-of-the-art downhole applications is presented.


Long-term reservoir monitoring remains one of the critical requirements for the effective development and optimization of oil and gas reservoirs. Frequent monitoring and control are equally important for both new and mature fields. Many new well completions now include sophisticated permanent monitoring systems that can transmit data to the surface through an electrical or fiber-optic cable, associated with other downhole tools such as clamps, wellhead and packer penetrations, surface power supply, and surface data-acquisition and -transmission systems. These systems require significant capital expenditure (CAPEX) in both components and rig time and are prone to premature failure. A downhole wireless communication system can help resolve many of the problems associated with wired well-monitoring and -control solutions by avoiding the difficulties, costs, and maintenance associated with the wired infrastructure. A wireless system can potentially be retrofitted on demand to avoid upfront CAPEX and operational expense (OPEX) associated with traditional wired advanced-completion monitoring-and -control systems. Any downhole wireless system, however, will require a power source or needs to generate its own power, which may limit its use and its operational life.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 171706, “Review of Downhole Wireless Communication Techniques,” by Muhammad Arsalan, Talha J. Ahmad, and Mohamed N. Noui-Mehidi, Saudi Aramco, prepared for the 2014 SPE Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, 10–13 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Review of Downhole Wireless Communication Techniques

01 March 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 3


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