Oil & Gas satcom mood tied to price of oil

The mood in oil & gas satcom today depends on the current price of oil.

Last week’s Oilcomm show in Houston had a strange feel to it. In addition to no lines at the afternoon beer stands, the sound of silence echoing through the oil & gas satcom tradeshow seemed to be driven by the price of oil.

At least three different visitors to the Uplogix booth referenced the current price of oil on their smart phone during conversations about the industry, their applications, and how Uplogix provides unique functionality especially relevant to the O&G satcom market. But more on that later.

Our observations from the Uplogix booth were backed up in a recent article in Via Satellite magazine:

“We certainly see oil prices hampering technology investments and tracking this spending, we’ve seen a sharp decline from 2014 to 2015. Both the oilfield service companies and oil companies are spending 15 to 20 percent less on formal research and development. Many companies are cash-stretched right now and are emphasizing the investments that can deliver near-term value. That being 12 to 18 months.” – Judson Jacobs, senior director of upstream exploration and production at IHS energy consulting

Potential market disrupting technology like High-Throughput Satellites (HTS) promising more affordable bandwidth and new cost models like cost-per-bit pricing, and Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellations offering attractive speeds are becoming mainstream. Add to that cheaper costs of fiber installation and wireless connectivity over LTE and even the most remote sites are becoming well-connected. And the industry is becoming reliant on that significant bandwidth.

This is way more than crew welfare improvements through email and Skype. O&G operations looking to increase operational efficiency are using live video monitoring and telemetry data to centralize control of remote sites in Integrated Operation (IO) centers. With sophisticated and connected tools and systems deployed on rigs and connected to the IO center, experts can run multiple rigs, with fewer people deployed remotely.

Of course, this makes the network more important than ever. Oil & gas satcom combined with automated solutions like Uplogix are the infrastructure for new applications that drive significant bottom line savings.

Uplogix in Oil & Gas Satcom

Some of the key features Uplogix brings to O&G satcom include:

  • Secure and persistent out-of-band access to remote devices | When the network is up and running, admins access devices through Uplogix over the network. If that connection is broken or not yet established, an out-of-band connection is established providing a two-way, secure management link independent of the primary network. Often in satellite networks, the out-of-band link is over an Iridium connection that can be made anywhere on the planet.
  • Automated device control and recovery | Uplogix monitors devices 24×7 over the console port and takes recovery steps when issues are detected. Uplogix can automate management and recovery of routine network issues plus challenges unique to maritime satellite networks like blockage zone remediation.

We’re signed up for Oilcomm 2017, which will the tenth year in a row for Uplogix exhibiting at the show. It will be interesting to see what the mood is. Predicting the price of oil one year out is nearly impossible, with a new US president, a post-sanction Iran continuing to come online, and who knows what other impacts of war and peace in the Middle East. What you can count on is that the oil & gas industry will continue to be hungry for bandwidth and looking to control the costs of providing it through products like Uplogix.



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