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All-Digital Sensor System for Distributed Downhole Pressure Monitoring in Unconventional Fields
Project Number
Last Reviewed Dated

The goal of this project is to develop and validate (through field tests) a new low-cost all-digital pressure sensing technology for in situ distributed downhole pressure monitoring in UOG fields. The key innovation of the all-digital sensor concept is the built-in nonelectric ADC, which eliminate the need for downhole electronics for signal conditioning and telemetry.


Clemson University - Clemson, SC 29634
University of Oklahoma – Norman, OK 73019


on node DigitizerDespite the growing supply from alternative energy sources, we will still rely on fossil fuels for most of our energy needs in 2050. Over the past decade, UOG development has dramatically increased US production of oil and natural gas. Based on the EIA’s 2018 Annual Energy Outlook, these trends are expected to continue through 2050 when UOG resources are projected to contribute 70.1% of total U.S. oil production and 76.1% of total U.S. natural gas production. UOG development became possible and profitable due to technological advancements in extended-lateral horizontal drilling and multistage high-volume hydraulic fracturing. However, UOG developments are extremely cost sensitive and marginally economical in many instances. The recovery efficiency of UOG is despairingly low, perhaps 20% in gas-rich shale reservoirs and less than 10% in liquid-rich plays. The reasons for the lack of economics in many UOG resources are due to the heterogeneity of the reservoir rock, petroleum fluids characteristics, cost of well construction, and how hydraulic fracturing is performed. Due to the lack of knowledge, information, technological and economical limitations, the full potential of US UOG resources has yet to be realized. Technology advancements to recover UOG resources are critical in maintaining future US oil and gas production levels.


Summary ImageThe all-digital sensors eliminate the needs for downhole electronics. The aforementioned all-digital sensors eliminate the needs for downhole electronics making the new sensors more robust, cost efficient and minimizing drift in comparison to existing sensors. Because the sensor outputs are digital in nature, the new sensors can be remotely logged over long distances, and numerous sensors can be digitally multiplexed for distributed sensing using a single surface interrogation instrument to significantly reduce cost.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • The Technical Advisory Team has been established.
  • Modeling of Design Elements has commenced
  • Several parts of a prototype have been created.
Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution


Contact Information

NETL – David Cercone ( or 412-386-6571)
Clemson – Hai Xiao ( or 864-656-5912)

Additional Information

Clemson University Project Review Presentation [PDF] [Video] October 2020 
Project Landing Page
Kick-off Meeting Presentation [PDF] October, 2019