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Piana del Toppo Test site

OGS designed and realized an instrumented site for the experimental study of borehole and surface geophysics and of drilling with innovative tools. The site is an unique opportunity for the national and international scientific community.


The site (PITOP) is located in Piana di Toppo, Travesio, in the province of Pordenone, in an area suitable for geophysical measurements. It has three wells of depth respectively 300, 380 and 420 m, one of which is instrumented with an array of permanent sensors (geophones triaxial). The wells are located at a distance of about 30 - 40 m and they are jacketed with steel casing down to a depth of about 300 m; the deeper sections of two of the wells are open hole, so they can be used for direct measurements on the wall and, what is a special feature, for carrying out further experimental drilling, if required. The site area that includes the three wells is equipped with laboratories, logistics and permanent instrumentation, with auxiliary station of measurement of emission of seismic sources and noise on the surface, with holes for the use of the auxiliary source air-gun for seismic borehole measurements. An external area to the yard (owned by OGS) can easily be used for measurements with sources and receivers on the surface at the distance of over a hundred meters from the wells, and can be used to drill new wells if required by new research projects.

Use and purpose

The site PITOP has hitherto been used and developed in the context of OGS research projects with the oil and gas industry, to develop new drilling technologies, in particular with instrumentation to downhole measurements and for the study of radiation fields of non-conventional while drilling sources, with the aid of acoustic and seismic measurements from wells and surface under controlled conditions. In the area are available surface seismic sections realized by OGS, vertical seismic profiles (VSP) with source wireline from the well, the logs from wells in the two deepest wells, and the signals of the while drilling seismic surveys with the signal of the bit. In this site OGS has conducted important experiments of interferometry for the purposes of scientific research (in the sense that they have provided the signals for different studies and numerous scientific publications) and for the characterization of the properties of emission of seismic sources (study of near and far field, detection and measurement of the signal source). Three auxiliary VSP wireline instruments of OGS have also been tested and calibrated in the site. Borehole and surface seismometers were also installed.

Contact person: dott. Flavio Poletto