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Automation Booms from Southeast Asia’s Oil and Gas Growth

Demands are evolving for the oil and gas industry in Southeast Asia, particularly in developing countries, providing new opportunities there for automation vendors.

Oil and gas resources in Southeast Asia. Source: USGS
Oil and gas resources in Southeast Asia. Source: USGS

New discoveries and methods for getting at natural resources are changing the face of energy supply around the world. In Southeast Asia, an abundance of resources such as coal and oil in is affecting automation services in the region, making oil and gas one of the biggest markets. Along with market growth, environment and safety regulations becoming more stringent, prompting more investment in automation technologies for the region.

Automation services for the oil and gas market earned revenues of $328.4 million in 2013, and that is expected to grow to an estimated $508.1 million in 2018, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan. Most of that growth is expected in developing countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, research showed.

Investors are also showing interest in chemicals and petrochemicals, and water industries, indicating considerable opportunities for automation vendors in these sectors as well. “All the major multinational automation vendors have firmly established themselves in Southeast Asia and have made significant investments in improving their services,” said Krishnan Ramanathan, industrial automation and process control research analyst for Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan expects retrofits to play a vital role in the future, as companies look to meet large-scale demand. However, automation manufacturers have several technical issues to sort out, and must be sure to understand the specific requirements of end users during deployment or system upgrades, analysts stressed.

“The installed base of automation systems is proving inadequate to meet the demand for higher control. Most end users' systems are not only outdated, but also generate substantial expense in maintenance,” Ramanathan said. “Gradually, they are realizing the importance of investing in automation systems to achieve greater resource optimization and gain a competitive edge.”

The success of concepts such as main automation contractors (MACs) has allowed automation vendors to better offer integrated services. Major vendors are opening up exclusive centers and others are likely to follow suit. End users are expected to gravitate toward vendors offering support structures for maintenance and repair.

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