Formation and Reservoir Evaluation Device – partnership with Badger Explorer


Professor Margaret Lucas, Professor of Ultrasonics in the School of Engineering has collaborated with Badger Explorer ASA (now Hunter Group ASA) on a development project supported by the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC).

The Badger Explorer is a new formation and reservoir evaluation device that drills into the subsurface without the economic and environmental risks, costs, and complexity of using a rig.

The device penetrates the subsurface and buries itself, relaying information about encountered formations to the surface. It features an electrically powered drilling system and carries sensors, which continuously record data and produce logs. The device also provides continuous, long-term data in surveillance mode.

A successful first project phase was undertaken in collaboration with both Badger Explorer ASA (now Hunter Group ASA), and ETREMA Products, Inc., who fabricated ultrasonic horns designed at the University of Glasgow for integration with their magnetostrictive transducers.

This project consisted of the design and testing of an ultrasonic piezoelectric transducer suitable for operation in high-pressure, high-temperature environments, consistent with the down-hole conditions experienced by the tool developed by the industrial partner Badger Explorer.

The transducer was designed to drive an ultrasonic compaction horn, designed by the ultrasonics research group at the University of Glasgow. Badger and the University of Glasgow also worked with lonix and researchers at the University of Leeds to test new piezoelectric materials that are capable of operating under these conditions.

Once the Badger Explorer concept has been field proven and adopted by the industry, the benefits to Scotland are primarily 3-fold; increased skills and employment in the NE of Scotland, economic improvements through improved extraction efficiency, and improved HSE performance during exploration.

The outcome of this project has been the design and fabrication of high power, high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) piezoelectric ultrasonic transducers to specifications agreed with Badger Explorer, the successful operation of a transducer and materials under high temperature conditions, and a significantly greater understanding of the effect of ultrasonics on the compaction of a range of granular materials in down-hole environmental conditions.