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ICs Go Deepsea: Extreme components flourishing in oil & gas tools


With the recent opening by the Obama Administration of expanded oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) opportunities along the eastern shores of the US, the competition and the opportunities are set to increase for the critical, and extremely rugged tools in the E&P sector.

E&P tools is a market populated by well-known and long-standing companies ripe with experience and innovation that keeps the Oil & Gas sector at the cutting edge, and necessarily so.  As the hunt for more natural resources has increased in difficulty, newer, more sensitive and more automated tools and equipment have become the norm.  These innovative tools, once the realm of heavy duty hydraulic tools alone, have been housing more and more microprocessors, sensors and other ICs over the past decade.  The farther the depths away from manned stations, the greater the time delays in sending signals to these precise tools and so the greater need for microprocessors inside the tools downhole; the more complex the drilling techniques, the more important constant precision and accuracy in testing and monitoring by these tools have become, and so the greater need for control to be automated.

Just as the competition within semi's various sectors has opened up, so has the competition for building and providing components for E&P's extremely sophisticated and rugged tools.  Mostly recently in the news, The Wall Street Journal 3/30/2010 (print page B2), GE's continued expansion into the oil-services business was highlighted (cf. also The Economist "Plumbing the depths" in Technology Quarterly, Vol. 394 No. 8672). 

Smith & Associates is well familiar with these extreme components and more specifically with the extremely precise and reliable testing procedures necessary to ensure the expected performance in these hazardous and highly sensitive environments.  A day of lost work adds up in the millions, quickly.  Want to read more about the latest semiconductor technologies involved in these extreme components for E&P?  Watch for a dedicated Sector Brief in the upcoming MarketWatch Quarterly due out later this April.  Subscribe now for your free and early release copy emailed only to our valued subscribers.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Friday, 02 April 2010 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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