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Wed 21 Feb 2007 03:25 PM

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3M identifies cable trend

US cable major explains the new trend towards fibre optics.

With oil and gas companies struggling to manage ever increasing transactional information, the industry is looking for new and powerful ways of maintaining well log data. This, says Shome Bag, 3M's Middle East and North Africa marketing specialist, is why more companies are turning to fibre optic cables to meet their demands.

"Oil and gas companies prefer to use fibre optic cables over copper cables because fibre is much more difficult to tap," said Bag. "Fibre has always been more expensive than copper to install and maintain, but now with the copper prices on the rise, there is now very little difference. Companies in this sector value data security above the extra costs involved with installing fibre optic cables.

"The trend at the moment is to opt for Cat 6 cables, which enable speeds of anything from 600 megahertz to 1 gigabyte. These cables can cope with the kind of immense volumes of data that large oil companies deal in. These are used in both upstream and downstream operations. Oil companies prefer low smoke, zero halogen cables (LSZH)."

Bag added that the oil and gas business is very liquid at the moment. Because of the rise in oil price, oil majors will only invest in manufacturers that can provide the best technologies most efficiently. He said companies are turning to other cable components due to the volatility of commodities prices.

"In 2006 we saw a 30% hike in copper prices and the industry became extremely volatile," he said. "We managed to hedge ourselves by buying up raw materials ahead of time to avoid passing on the costs to our customers.

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