By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
The demand for oil and gas capabilities has never been greater and continues to grow. In fact, world energy needs are expected to increase by roughly 40 percent by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency, with the fast-developing China and India leading the way in energy consumption growth. The demand for oil is expected to grow by 20 percent, and gas needs should expand during this time by 50 percent. As much as dependency on fossil fuels is seen as needing to be reigned in, clearly oil and gas demand is going to go up despite greater reliance on alternatives. .
With that said, meeting energy needs is getting more complex. Hydrocarbon delivery is challenged by the fact that so much of the relatively low-hanging fruit has been plucked. The energy reserves of the future will increasingly come from deep-sea drilling, tar sands mining and other more challenging methods. Hydrocarbon delivery also will have to travel farther distances.
To effectuate cost-effective and efficient exploration and fuel deliveries in more challenging environments, it has become paramount that gas and oil communications be upgraded to next generation capabilities.
“Maximizing production in these settings has become essential, yet the greater the geological barriers to easy extraction, the greater price, security and safety risks any given project faces,” noted a recent paper by Alcatel-Lucent, DYNAMIC COMMUNICATIONS for Oil & Gas.
Alcatel-Lucent has worked with energy customers for decades and as stated in the headline has focused on three key areas to help oil and gas companies reach hydrocarbons faster, farther, and safer.
“Clearly, the need to minimize risk, ensure the safety of personnel and protect the integrity of plant, pipeline, platform and wellhead projects, plus deal with highly dynamic market factors, has increased the need for new business and operational models,” noted the company in the paper. “This is where technology serves as the cornerstone for innovative and winning solutions.”
Communications speed is needed to help connect distant sites with the energy company central offices, and to deliver real-time and highly resilient communications solutions to deal with the changing conditions on the ground.
Being able to go farther with gas and oil communications means there can be better supervision and more cost-effective operations.
“Challenges include monitoring and troubleshooting remote and hard to access wellheads, pipelines and collection points,” noted the paper. “Just as important is the ongoing comfort, and productivity of one of the most valuable assets of any company — its workforce.” Workers cut off in an oil rig far out at sea need as many creature-comforts as they can get. That means good communication with family and the outside world.
Cutting edge communications also can help with safety.
A flexible network ensures that there is end-to-end safety of physical assets, personnel and data. The network must support a wide variety of standards, work across both legacy and IP-based networks, and have good uptime to deliver on this safety need.
Alcatel-Lucent helps the industry get there with its end-to-end oil and gas solutions. It offers a converged, multiservice, mission-critical Wide Area Network (WAN) composed of: microwave; optical and IP/MPLS products; mobile/wireless networks that include WiFi, WiMAX, 3G, 4G/LTE, TETRA/P25; analogue UHF/VHF, dispatchers and applications; integrated SCADA and CCTV; and integrated navigational aids, meteorological instruments, entertainment systems and operations control center systems.
The thirst for energy resources is seemingly unquenchable, and the fact that increasingly hard to reach places need to be explored and brought online, is putting a premium on having next generation dynamic communications to assure operational excellence regardless of where location or climate.