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Growing integration of ICT in South Africa’s oil and gas industry

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The growing integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in South Africa's oil and gas operations is playing an important role in transforming the sector, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan. Oil and gas companies are increasingly adopting emerging technologies in order to improve the efficiency of their operations and lower costs.

Frost & Sullivan’s ‘ICT Spend in South Africa: Oil and Gas Sector’ report finds that total ICT spend in the South African oil and gas sector was US$44.3 million in 2014. This is expected to reach US$50.6 million by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate of 2.7%. The study contextualises ICT investment within the sector across seven categories: cellular connectivity, cloud services, data centres, fixed and non-cellular connectivity, IT hardware, managed services, and systems integration.

"Changes across the oil and gas sector necessitate new approaches to managing information, analysing patterns, and optimising outcomes in both downstream and upstream operations," said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Industry Analyst Lehlohonolo Mokenela. "Cloud services, machine to machine (M2M) and customised applications that enable remote access, communications, big data and anytime anywhere collaboration, are among the main ICT trends driving operational efficiency in the sector."

Despite communication technology becoming more prevalent in the sector, services such as communication have not been commoditised in South Africa. As a result, high costs remain a restraint to wider adoption. In the long term, however, communication services are expected to become more affordable, and in turn, drive the uptake of cloud services.

"In order to make a mark, ICT service providers need to broaden their understanding of sector specific requirements along with how ICT can be used to address them," advised Mokenela. "This is particularly true of the process intensive oil and gas industry, which is looking at ICT to enhance exploration and production, improve refining and manufacturing, and optimise global operations."

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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