Despite the challenges of low prices, oil and gas companies continue to invest substantially in Big Data technology and communications to optimize their operations. Frost & Sullivan estimates that the offshore oil and gas communications market spend will exceed $460 million per year by 2020, up 28% since 2014, when oil prices first began to plunge.
The Big Data revolution rests on a foundation of communications, and the realities of oil and gas exploration, production and transport mean that satellite plays a major role. For production rigs moored conveniently close to coastlines, it can make economic sense to run fiber-optic cable under the water, because that rig is likely to be in place for years. Point-to-point microwave is also suitable for rigs located within line of sight of each other and the land. But in deep water as well as the kind of remote land where most petrochemicals are found, only satellite can move the digital bits.