If it’s September, then what has been a whirl-wind implementation season should be coming to an end. But by all accounts, the industry is still going full bore, and projects that would normally be slowing down for the end of year, are still going strong.
I have had the chance to talk recently with a number of people in the industry – capacity guys, installers and manufacturers – and all seem to agree that the current pace of activities will continue into next year. And that, no doubt, is a good thing.
It’s also surprising that with the offshore Oil & Gas market seemingly sliding into oblivion in the last year due to the price of a barrel, the traditional commercial systems are still full speed ahead. But the Oil & Gas market has not been completely quiet. Nextgen has recently activated its $139 million North West Cable System in Australia, an ambitious 2,100km fiber optic submarine cable between Darwin and Port Headland with links to multiple offshore facilities. And more offshore systems in other regions are in the offing despite the price of oil.
So what does this mean – are energy companies being driven to submarine cable for reasons besides the barrel price?
The short answer may be yes.
We have known for some time that a major driver to offshore Telecoms is the need to reduce cost, and it seems that the low barrel price may be impacting future systems in two ways: One, systems have indeed been delayed, but not necessarily canceled; meaning plans are still afoot. Two, the relatively low barrel price is now driving forward Telecom systems that can help reduce production costs in order to stay competitive in the wider market for both existing and future facilities.
So, the dirge playing for the Oil & Gas submarine cable space may be a bit premature. We’ll see.