By Daniel Canty
A consensus is growing that wireless monitoring solutions for plants and rigs are set to soar in the region over the year.
There is a growing consensus in the oil and gas industry that wireless monitoring solutions for plants and rigs are set to soar in the Middle East over the coming year.
Some estimates put worldwide sales of wireless monitoring solutions in the US$ 2 billion range by 2010, up from only US$300 million in 2005. However, with investment in the sector where it is today, I think a figure in excess of US$3 billion more likely.
It seems that whilst the Middle East may not have been at the helm with technology roll outs (most system trials were in the US and Europe), the region is certainly pioneering large-scale installations and full technical applications.
In an industry widely regarded as ‘conservative' in its attitude to new technology, major wireless solutions providers are finding the Middle Eastern appetite for wireless sensing, monitoring and control solutions voracious.
Big hitters Emerson, Cisco and Honeywell have all recently been making a splash with regional customers extolling the major benefits of their tried and tested wireless solutions at glitzy launch events.
The buzz surrounding the technology is gaining ground with plant managers and operations controllers from rigs, refineries and tank farms right across the Gulf. What seems to mark the regional market apart from its European, Asian and American counterparts is that firms in the Middle East aren't starting small with trial systems, rather they are looking dive right in with entire systems based on wireless technology right from the go.
With ‘tester' kits of several sensors and a gateway available from the big providers at around US$7500 it was expected that these would enable a softly-softly approach to overhauling or pioneering the regional petrochemical industry's adoption of wire free applications. However, with investment and newbuilding of plants, refineries and rigs in the region booming, local players have displayed an eager willingness to embrace wireless solutions that may see the Middle East take the lead share of new business over the next couple of years.
To cut through some of the misgivings and to get to the core issues surrounding the applications of this exciting technology, the May issue of Oil & Gas Middle East comes complete with a dedicated Wireless World technical supplement.
Featuring interviews with the leading technology providers, users and a comprehensive product review section from the principal process solutions equipment companies, the special report will keep you up to speed on the cutting edge equipment.
Daniel Canty is the editor of Oil & Gas Middle East.