Emerging Technologies & Market Trends in the Oilfield Communication Sector

Need for robust and reliable communication infrastructure:

The global oil demand from industrial and transport sector is rising at a high rate. The demand is mainly coming from Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Europe regions. Urbanization and growth of the consumer class in developing countries will, in turn, promote growth in demand for real estate, infrastructure, cars, hi-tech goods. Consumption of liquid hydrocarbons will increase in the developing countries where the transportation industry is undergoing rapid growth. Thus, in order to fulfill the rising oil demand, oil exploration companies are exploring for oilfields located in remote and harsh environment.

The technological advances in drilling techniques, driven by declining production from existing oil fields and strong hydrocarbon demand, have enabled increased exploitation of offshore deep-water reserves and development of unconventional reserves that require real-time data access by personnel in field and head offices to optimize performance and maintain safety standards. Thus, there is an emergence of secured real-time data collection and transfer methods for the safe and efficient coordination of remote operations.

The global market of oilfield communications is estimated to grow from $2.37 billion in 2014 to $3.18 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% during the forecast period of 2014-2019.

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Adoption of high-tech networking solutions for exploration and production:

Oil exploration companies hugely rely on secure real-time data collection and transfer methods for the safe and efficient coordination of remote oilfields. In order to facilitate real-time communication on remote fields, there is a need for fast and reliable connectivity to improve operational efficiency and better decision-making. Networking solutions such as asset monitoring, video conferencing, M2M communication, VoIP, high speed internet, and real-time data management require reliable and fast connectivity.

Evolution of digital and smart oilfields:

The evolution of digital and smarter oilfields requires robust and reliable communication infrastructure. Digital oil field technology is a combination of IT, automation and instrumentation technologies, as an improvement of the existing technologies in the oil and gas industry. This integrated operations technology embedded with efficient data management software, provides more realistic image of the reservoir and the availability of resources; this helps to optimize process required for production, and renders much safer operations with the inclusion of remote surveillance and collaborated environments.

Emergence of multiple communication technologies:

As networks become a mix of terrestrial and non-terrestrial wireless technologies to meet an expanding set of end-user demands; satellite IP communications is playing a vital role in fulfilling the ever increasing communication demands arising both from offshore and onshore fields. Satellite overcomes distance and environmental challenges, taking broadband to any location as part of an integrated network. The other types of potential communication network technologies, which can be used for connectivity, include microwave and cellular technology.

Market trend:

The adoption of advanced communication solutions in the entire value chain of oil and gas sector plays a greater role in achieving the operational and efficiency targets set by oil and gas companies. VSAT will remain highly penetrated communication network technology globally due to regulatory issues and norms for cellular technology in oil and gas communication sector. Managed VSAT, microwave, and sub-sea fiber network technology possess the highest growth potentials in the long term. Major oilfiled operators are adopting emerging technologies such as video conferencing, WiMAX, M2M communications and unified communications to increase the operational efficiency. Terrestrial penetration continues in North America and Europe; both offshore and onshore. MEA, APAC and LA markets provide the upcoming growth opportunities for the satellite and cellular communication solutions market.

Competitve ecosystem:

Major oilfield solution vendors have shifted their focus on the emerging markets, which are growing at rapid speed. Some of the major oilfield communication solution vendors include Alcatel-Lucent International, ERF Wireless, Harris CapRock Communications, Hermes Datacommunications International, Huawei Technologies, Hughes Network Systems, Inmarsat, ITC Global, Redline Communications, and RigNet, among various others.

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