Alcatel-Lucent buys seabed reservoir sensing specialist, Optoplan

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) has acquired Optoplan, provider of 4D permanent reservoir monitoring (PRM) technology used in offshore oil and gas production, from Sercel, part of the CGG Group.

Already specializing in optical fibre platform connectivity for high-speed data and voice, ASN says the Optoplan acquisition is a “key building block” of its strategy to enter what it sees as the promising seabed optical fibre sensing market.

“Optoplan will extend our capabilities in the oil and gas domain, fully supporting the industrial plan to diversify our presence and capture new segments in this highly promising market,” said ASN president Philippe Dumont.

For 30 years Optoplan, based in Trondheim, Norway, has developed optical fibre sensing applications for oil and gas. In recent years it was a subsidiary of Weatherford who, in 2007, sold it to Wavefield Inseis SA, which was in turn acquired by the CGG Group in 2009.

Optoplan is the company behind Optowave, a 4D PRM technology in which permanent seabed sensors carry out frequent 4D seismic surveys of oil or gas reservoirs, collecting data that can be used by operators to monitor how oil, water and gas move in a reservoir over time.

The data collected help operators judge where wells should be drilled and how reservoirs can be drained to recover as much fuel as possible.

ASN hopes to combine this expertise with its capabilities in submarine cable systems, manufacturing and marine installation. The market can expect a “fully-integrated 4D PRM solution”, it says, which will allow oil and gas companies to boost recovery, extend field life and improve safety.

The transaction is expected to be completed shortly.