MarketsandMarkets estimates the global distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) market size to grow from USD 462 million in 2020 to USD 792 million by 2025; growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.4% during the forecast period. DAS systems are primarily used for downhole and pipeline monitoring in the oil & gas industry. Given the critical nature of monitoring operations and increased digitization in the oil & gas industry over the years, DAS systems continue to hold significant importance in this field. Their successful use in this industry has led to the deployment of DAS systems in other industries such as military, infrastructure, and transportation, which is helping toward the growth of the market. With more companies designing flexible interrogator units that can monitor a wide variety of applications, this is expected to drive the market for DAS systems.
DAS systems are constantly being developed for improved performance and precise event detection. Most of the hardware developments take place for interrogator units. Research is currently being performed on phase-sensitive optical time-domain reflectometry technique. This development aims at reducing measurement noise, enhancing measurement spatial resolution, and increasing dynamic measurement capacity. A research paper titled Recent Advances in Distributed Acoustic Sensing Based on Phase-Sensitive Optical Time Domain Reflectometry discusses these advancements to improve the performance of DAS systems. The paper has discussed the use of high ER pulses to reduce coherence noise. Improvement in spatial resolution was observed by tweaking the conventional setup to reduce the optical noise when using short laser pulses with chirped pulse amplification techniques. This can prove to be a cost-effective solution for the improvement of existing interrogator units available in the market at present.
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The DAS market for visualization software is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. Visualization software is often specific to the DAS application that visualizes the data gathered by the interrogator unit. The software often shows the path of the optic fiber cable routing against a site map and highlights the location where an event is taking place (for instance, a leak in an oil pipeline). For perimeter security, the DAS software is often interfaced with existing third-party SCADA control or security software, which highlights an event. For wellbore applications, a DAS visualization software can be used for the real-time monitoring of injection fluid, assessing fluid entry points, and fluid distribution along the well. Visualization software for DAS systems are continuously being updated and optimized, and these updated software are provided as a part of the maintenance package provided by the DAS vendors. Hence, the continuous development of visualization software is expected to create a significant growth opportunity for the market.
DAS systems with multimode fibers are expected to witness a faster rate during the forecast period. Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems are often used along with DAS systems for redundancy with regard to verifying an event through both systems, as well as gathering information on the surrounding temperature. For instance, in the oil & gas industry, both DAS and DTS systems are leveraged for the placement of fluids in the wellbore for injection flow profiling. The combination of DAS and DTS systems are also utilized for detecting leaks in pipeline monitoring. They provide redundancy, for instance, when both DAS and DTS systems report leakage, it reduces the probability of false alarms. Hence, the two different sensing methodologies can be combined into a single cable. Also, the existing multimode fibers can be repurposed for the deployment of DTS systems if required, which can result in significant cost savings as the existing infrastructure can be easily leveraged and the redeployment of optical fibers can be cost prohibitive. Hence, multimode fibers are expected to create a significant growth opportunity for the market.
With many oilfield activities and new projects being delayed or put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DAS manufacturers can utilize this opportunity to deploy their existing DAS technology and know-how to market their systems for monitoring abandoned oil & gas wells. Abandoned oil wells are more prone to damage from landslides and earthquakes. These unforeseen events can compromise the structural integrity of well sealing and as a result, the resulting leakages can have a catastrophic effect on the surrounding ecosystem. Through DAS systems, abandoned wells can be monitored to determine the dynamic movement of fluid migration caused due to failures in casings, seals, and control valves from equipment failure or unforeseen natural events. Hence, DAS systems can provide a more economical solution for monitoring abandoned oil & gas wells compared to other monitoring solutions and could also provide an opportunity for many companies to sell their existing inventory of hardware after various countries worldwide come out from the lockdown owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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