ConocoPhillips and Statoil Petroleum have signed a joint sponsorship development agreement with Visuray Technology Ltd. to fund the development of novel downhole technology that can evaluate the integrity of cement behind multiple casing strings in oil and gas wells, a news release said.

Called the VR360 diagnostic cement evaluation tool, the technology will produce a full 3-D cement map and complement traditional ultrasonic measurements, which are sensitive to the cement bond between the cement and the inner casing wall. The tool is based on Visuray-developed technology called the downhole X-Ray platform.

According to the release, development of the tool was initially stimulated by regulatory focus on deepwater wells, although a similar focus on the abandonment of wells in old fields has opened a new and important market for the service. In both applications, the tool is capable of obtaining information.

The joint industry project, which started Dec. 18, 2017, aims to deliver downhole prototype tools with a range of external diameters. The project is expected to last three years, during which time other oil companies may consider joining the project.

The prototypes will be jointly tested in oil and gas wells by the parties in the project, the release said.