WISP (Waterfront Imaging using Self-Potential) is a novel technology developed by the NORMS group to detect water flowing in oil or gas reservoirs using measurements of self-potential at instrumented production or monitoring wells.  Our WISP technology can help to prevent or reduce water production by providing real-time information on moving water in the reservoir.

We use the specialist facilities in the Norms Laboratory to measure and determine the link between changes in self-potential and water saturation when water is injected into oil saturated rock samples.  The measured data are used in our bespoke simulation software (SP-SIM) to model the self-potential in oil and gas reservoirs during production.  We have shown that WISP can image moving waterfronts while they are several tens- to hundreds of metres away from an instrumented well.  The monitoring data can be used to control inflow to the well using downhole valves, to prevent or reduce water production.  We work with providers of downhole technology to deliver the hardware required for WISP.  The WISP technology has been developed with support from a wide range of oil and gas companies, including Shell, BP and Nexen. 


The self-potential (SP) occurs naturally in response to pressure or concentration gradients in water in the reservoir.  As water approaches an instrumented production well, the change in SP measured at the well provides advance warning and can be used to determine the geometry of the waterfront.

Selected References

Zhang J, Vinogradov J, Leinov E, Jackson MD, et al., 2017, Streaming potential during drainage and imbibition, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SOLID EARTH, Vol: 122, Pages: 4413-4435, ISSN: 2169-9313

Al Mahrouqi D, Vinogradov J, Jackson MD, 2016, Temperature dependence of the zeta potential in intact natural carbonates, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, Vol: 43, Pages: 11578-11587, ISSN: 0094-8276

Dilib FA, Jackson MD, Zadeh AM, Aasheim R, Arland K, Gyllensten AJ, Erlandsen SM, et al., 2015, Closed-Loop Feedback Control in Intelligent Wells: Application to a Heterogeneous, Thin Oil-Rim Reservoir in the North Sea, SPE RESERVOIR EVALUATION & ENGINEERING, Vol: 18, Pages: 69-83, ISSN: 1094-6470

Jackson MD, 2015, Tools and Techniques: Self-Potential Methods, Treatise on Geophysics: Second Edition, Pages: 261-293, ISBN: 9780444538031

Vinogradov J, Jackson MD, 2015, Zeta potential in intact natural sandstones at elevated temperatures, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, Vol: 42, Pages: 6287-6294, ISSN: 0094-8276

Leinov E, Jackson MD, 2014, Experimental measurements of the SP response to concentration and temperature gradients in sandstones with application to subsurface geophysical monitoring, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SOLID EARTH, Vol: 119, Pages: 6855-6876, ISSN: 2169-9313

Dilib FA, Jackson MD, 2013, Closed-Loop Feedback Control for Production Optimization of Intelligent Wells Under Uncertainty, SPE PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS, Vol: 28, Pages: 345-357, ISSN: 1930-1855

Jackson MD, Gulamali MY, Leinov E, Saunders JH, Vinogradov J, et al., 2012, Spontaneous Potentials in Hydrocarbon Reservoirs During Waterflooding: Application to Water-Front Monitoring, SPE JOURNAL, Vol: 17, Pages: 53-69, ISSN: 1086-055X

Saunders JH, Jackson MD, Gulamali MY, Vinogradov J, Pain CC, et al., 2012, Streaming potentials at hydrocarbon reservoir conditions, GEOPHYSICS, Vol: 77, Pages: E77-E90, ISSN: 0016-8033

Gulamali MY, Leinov E, Jackson MD, 2011, Self-potential anomalies induced by water injection into hydrocarbon reservoirs, Geophysics, Vol: 76, Pages: F283-F292, ISSN: 1942-2156

Jackson MD, Vinogradov J, Saunders JH, Jaafar MZ, et al., 2011, Laboratory Measurements and Numerical Modeling of Streaming Potential for Downhole Monitoring in Intelligent Wells, SPE JOURNAL, Vol: 16, Pages: 625-636, ISSN: 1086-055X

Vinogradov J, Jackson MD, 2011, Multiphase streaming potential in sandstones saturated with gas/brine and oil/brine during drainage and imbibition, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, Vol: 38, ISSN: 0094-8276

Glover PWJ, Jackson MD, 2010, Borehole electrokinetics, Leading Edge (Tulsa, OK), Vol: 29, Pages: 724-728, ISSN: 1070-485X

Saunders JH, Jackson MD, Pain CC, 2008, Fluid flow monitoring in oilfields using downhole measurements of electrokinetic potential, Geophysics, Vol: 73, ISSN: 0016-8033