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A weekly podcast on the impacts of digital technologies on the oil and gas sector

Dec 14, 2023

To break free of the limitations of yesterday’s technologies, the oil and gas industry is accelerating its adoption of private 5G networks.

Some time ago, I helped an oil field logistics company respond to customer feedback that its services were “in the Stone Age”. Its systems were entirely manual, inaccurate, slow, and error prone. Virtually every invoice was disputed, causing cash flow problems. Worse, its multi-year contracts were coming up for renegotiation, and there was a real risk that the contracts would not be renewed, stranding an enormous fleet of 750 vehicles.

We decided to create a fundamentally new business model that would upend the prevailing customer service standards in the industry, dramatically improve the utilization of the fleet of assets, staff, and facilities, and transform for the better its overall competitive position.

Market-leading companies in oil and gas recognize that the status quo industrial network (SCADA) and public networks are simply not fit for the purposes of responding to the pressures. Private 5G networks offer a highly appealing alternative.

As private networks, they eliminate the problem of contention for third party access or bandwidth. Solutions are free to run as designed delivering continuous near real time service. 5G networks run at much lower levels of latency compared to other network technologies such as 4G, and private 5G networks lower the latency further. Private 5G networks offer dramatically improved bandwidth compared to 4G, operating at gigabits per second, versus megabits per second. Private networks are far more secure as network access is under much tighter control. 5G networks can be deployed far more quickly than wired networks, and offer improved future-proofing for assets intended to run for years.