Communications Technologies for Digital Oilfields

Satellite, Fiber, Private Wireless, Cellular, Wi-Fi, and Mobile Devices for Upstream Oil & Gas Applications

New and emerging digital oilfield applications hold the promise of dramatically improved safety and operational efficiency in all phases of the upstream oil and gas (O&G) market. At a time when O&G prices have fallen to less than half their former levels, those improved efficiencies might mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy for some struggling exploration and production (E&P) firms. Video surveillance, remote conferencing, smart drilling, crew welfare, and automation and control functions, as well as asset management and predictive maintenance, are all possible today—as long as reliable, high bandwidth, low latency communications are available.

Historically, satellite service has filled the communications needs of O&G operators and their service providers, but today, competing and supplementary technologies can be combined and used. While satellite will continue to be a leading technology, production sites expected to be operational for several decades may now find better economics in fixed fiber or wireless technologies. Moreover, the addition of Wi-Fi hotspots to well pads and the provision of smart connected devices like phones or tablets can make field crews more efficient. According to Navigant Research, the global market for communications subscription services (satellite and cellular) and equipment (fiber, point-to-point/point-to-multipoint, Wi-Fi, and handheld radios) for the upstream O&G market is expected to reach just over $1.5 billion in 2016 and 2017.

This Navigant Research report provides a comprehensive review of the outlook for communications infrastructure and services for digital oilfield applications. The study provides forecasts of drilling and production sites for both onshore and offshore environments, as well as the number of service fleet vessels. Regional considerations are outlined, and the major communications technologies employed in digital oilfields are described. The report also examines the market sizes of both communications equipment and subscription services tied to upstream O&G sites and profiles the key vendors and service providers.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What are the biggest challenges faced by oil and gas (O&G) production companies and service providers?
  • What digital oilfield applications address these challenges and what are the communications requirements? 
  • How has the drop in fuel prices affected investments in new communications infrastructure?
  • Which communications technologies, services, and equipment are most commonly deployed for O&G sites?
  • How do digital oilfield applications affect bandwidth and latency requirements at drilling and production sites?
  • How quickly will the market for communications equipment and services in the upstream O&G vertical grow? 
Who needs this report?
  • Oil & gas (O&G) exploration and production companies
  • O&G drilling and other service providers
  • National oil companies
  • Satellite and cellular service providers
  • Private wireless, fiber, and Wi-Fi infrastructure vendors
  • Handheld radio manufacturers and resellers
  • Government agencies and standards bodies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary     

1.1  Communications for Upstream Oil & Gas Applications

1.1.1  Key Trends and Market Drivers

1.1.2  Market Outlook

2. Market Issues

2.1  Introduction to Communications for the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry

2.2  O&G Industry Basics

2.2.1  O&G Phases

2.2.1.1  Exploration

2.2.1.2  Drilling/Well Development

2.2.1.2.1.  Horizontal Drilling

2.2.1.2.2.  Multilateral Drilling

2.2.1.2.3.  Extended Reach Drilling

2.2.1.2.4.  Complex Path Drilling

2.2.1.3  Production

2.2.1.4  Abandonment

2.2.2  Offshore versus Onshore

2.2.2.1  Onshore Drilling

2.2.2.2  Offshore Drilling

2.2.2.2.1.  Jack-up Rigs

2.2.2.2.2.  Semisubmersibles

2.2.2.2.3.  Drillships

2.2.2.3  Drilling Fleet Bifurcation

2.2.2.4  Onshore and Offshore Production

2.2.2.5  Service Fleets

2.2.3  O&G Economics

2.2.4  Major Global O&G Production and Reserves by Regions

2.2.4.1  Venezuela

2.2.4.2  Saudi Arabia

2.2.4.3  Canada

2.2.4.4  Iran

2.2.4.5  Iraq

2.2.4.6  Kuwait

 2.2.4.7  United Arab Emirates

2.2.4.8  Russia

2.2.4.9  Libya

2.2.4.10  Nigeria

2.3  Market Participants

2.3.1  Major Global E&P Operators

2.4  Market Trends and Key Drivers

2.4.1  Remote Collaboration and Inspection

2.4.2  Smaller Workforce and Cost Reductions via Automation

2.4.3  Safety and Minimization of Downtime

2.4.4  Environmental/Regulatory Requirements Increasing

2.4.5  Maximizing Production and Exploiting Harder-to-Find Sites

2.4.6  SCADA and Analytics

2.5  Market Barriers

2.5.1  Bankruptcies and Reduced Access to Credit

2.6  Communications Needs and Digital Oilfield Applications

3. Technology Issues  

3.1  Introduction to Upstream Communications Technologies

3.2  O&G Communications Requirements

3.2.1  Growing Bandwidth Needs and Edge Computing

3.3  Leading Upstream O&G Communications Technologies

3.3.1  Satellite

3.3.2  Fiber Optics

3.3.3  Pt2Pt and Pt2Mpt

3.3.4  Wi-Fi

3.3.5  Cellular

3.4  Ruggedization, Safety, and Security Standards

3.4.1  Ruggedization

3.4.2  Explosive Ratings

3.4.2.1  Class 1 Division 1 (C1D1)

3.4.2.2  Class 1 Division 2 (C1D2)

3.4.2.3  ATEX

3.4.3  Cyber Security

4. Key Industry Players

4.1  Communications Technology and Services Providers for Upstream O&G

4.1.1  ABB Wireless

4.1.2  Alcatel-Lucent

4.1.3  AT&T

4.1.4  Belden, Inc.

4.1.5  Ceragon Networks Ltd.

4.1.6  Cisco

4.1.7  Data Technology Services

4.1.8  GE Digital Energy

4.1.9  Harris CapRock Communications Inc.

4.1.10  iDirect

4.1.11  InfoSat

4.1.12  Infrastructure Networks

4.1.13  ITC Global

4.1.14  Redline Communications

4.1.15  RigNet Inc.

4.1.16  Schneider Electric

4.1.17  Verizon Communications

5. Market Forecasts

5.1  Global Outlook for Communications Technologies inDigital Oilfields

5.1.1  Projected Drilling Rigs, Service Vessels, and Production Sites

5.1.2  Global Forecasts for Digital Oilfield Communications Services and Equipment

5.2  Conclusions and Recommendations

5.2.1  Recommendations for Communications Service Providers

5.2.2  Recommendations for Communications Equipment Providers

5.2.3  Recommendations for E&P Companies and O&G Service Providers

6. Company Directory
7. Acronym and Abbreviation List
8. Table of Contents
9. Table of Charts and Figures
10. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Monthly Oil Prices: December 2013-September 2015
  • Monthly Natural Gas Prices: December 2013-September 2015
  • Top Nations by Proven Oil Reserves: 2012 (Billions of Barrels)
  • Projected Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Service Fleet Ships by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, North America: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Europe: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Asia Pacific: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Latin America: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Middle East: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Africa: 2016-2025
  • Selected Market Participants Involved in O&G Communications Procurement
  • Upstream Operational Domains and Communications Technologies
  • Communications and Digital Oilfield Applications

List of Tables     

  • Major Global E&P Operators
  • Communications-Based Applications in the O&G Vertical
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Quarterly Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2014-2015
  • North American Drilling Rig Counts, Offshore vs. Onshore: October 2015 vs. October 2014
  • International Drilling Rig Counts, Offshore vs. Onshore: September 2015 vs. September 2014
  • North American Drilling Rig Counts, Oil vs. Gas: October 2015 vs. October 2014
  • International Drilling Rig Counts, Oil vs. Gas: September 2015 vs. September 2014
  • Projected Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Onshore Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Offshore Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Onshore Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Offshore Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • Projected Service Fleet Ships by Region, World Markets: 2015-2025
  • New Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • New Onshore Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • New Offshore Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Onshore Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Offshore Oil & Gas Drilling Rig Counts by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • New Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • New Onshore Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • New Offshore Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Onshore Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Offshore Oil & Gas Production Sites by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • New Service Fleet Ships by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Service Fleet Ships by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • New Oil & Gas Sites by Category, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Equipment Revenue for New Onshore Sites, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Equipment Revenue for New Offshore Sites, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Equipment Revenue for New Service Ships, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Total New Communications Equipment Revenue for O&G, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Equipment ASP for New Onshore Installations, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Equipment ASP for New Offshore Installations, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Equipment ASP for New Service Ships, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Average Oil & Gas Sites by Category, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Subscription Revenue for Onshore Sites, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Subscription Revenue for Offshore Sites World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Communications Subscription Revenue for Service Ships, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Total Communications Subscription Revenue for Upstream O&G, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Monthly Communications Subscription ASP for Onshore Installations, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Monthly Communications Subscription ASP for Offshore Installations, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Monthly Communications Subscription ASP for Service Ships, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, North America: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Europe: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Asia Pacific: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Latin America: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Middle East: 2016-2025
  • Total Upstream O&G Communications Revenue by Technology, Africa: 2016-2025

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