EGU2020-5584, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Tiny diameter downhole pressure monitoring

Bernd Wiese, Wolfgang Weinzierl, Peter Pilz, Tobias Raab, and Cornelia Schmidt-Hattenberger
Bernd Wiese et al.
  • German Research Centre for Geosciences, 4.8 Geoenergy, Germany (

Cheap and efficient groundwater pressure monitoring is a standard task in subsurface hydrology. We present application experience from a tube based pressure monitoring system that is applied to the Svelvik field laboratory for CO2  storage, Norway. In total 13 monitoring points were installed in depths between 51 and 89 m below ground level.

The pressure sensor is located above ground. It is temperature compensated to reduce measurement errors due to temperature variations. The pressure sensor is connected to a downhole low diameter tube that has a perforation in the respective measurement depth. The tubes are installed as smart casing installations, i.e. in the borehole annulus. This allows to keep the borehole open during installation of other monitoring devices.

Clean pumping of the well was not possible. Some filters were protected with fleece, while others were just perforated tubes. During installation, all tubes had hydraulic contact to the groundwater. After settling of the mud 3 of 4 fleece protected filters show sufficient communication, while all 9 filters that were just perforated were clogged and not usable for pressure monitoring.

The system has following advantages: (i) the downhole material is robust and cheap, allowing for multiple measurement points; (ii) has a small diameter (6 mm in the present case); (iii) since the static pressure is removed, a smaller sensor range is required; (iv) the sensors are located at the top of the borehole and can be retrieved after the campaign. Further, it can be installed without downhole metal parts.

The system has two disadvantages by design compared to submerged pressure sensors. (i) The absolute pressure can only be approximately determined, limited by the accuracy of the fluid density inside the tube. (ii) Pressure decreases can only be measured up to about 1 bar below piezometric head when the tube is filled with water.

The upper metres, that may be exposed to temperatures below 0 °C are filled with antifreeze. The choice of antifreeze allows for a certain static pressure correction. Minimum weight liquid is pure ethanol with a density of about 0.8 kg, allowing to measure pressure up to 2.8 bars below piezometric head for e.g. the 89 m deep measurement.


This work has been produced with support from the SINTEF-coordinated Pre-ACT project (Project No. 271497) funded by RCN (Norway), Gassnova (Norway), BEIS (UK), RVO (Netherlands), and BMWi (Ger-many) and co-funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, ACT Grant Agreement No 691712. We also acknowledge the industry partners for their contributions: Total, Equinor, Shell, TAQA. We thank the SINTEF-owned Svelvik CO2 Field Lab (funded by ECCSEL through RCN, with additional support from Pre-ACT and SINTEF) for assistance during installation and for financial support.

How to cite: Wiese, B., Weinzierl, W., Pilz, P., Raab, T., and Schmidt-Hattenberger, C.: Tiny diameter downhole pressure monitoring , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5584,, 2020


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