Great chances and risks for sensor industry in shale gas exploration

August 22, 2014 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Great chances and risks for sensor industry in shale gas exploration
Consulting and market research company Frost & Sullivan sees significant potential for sensor manufacturers in the shale gas industry. However, fracking as one of the most promising branches of this industry depends to a great deal on the acceptance by the public - after all, it is considered a heavily polluting technology.

According to an analysis by Frost & Sullivan, market revenues for sensors and instrumentation in the business of shale gas exploration amounted to $63 million in 2013; the market watchers expect them to rise to $106.8 million in 2020. Currently, the key applications for flow, level, pressure and temperature sensors are wellhead, fracking and separation.

Users in this industry are investing into automation and have adopted sensor solutions to improve efficiency and process variable monitoring, explained Frost & Sullivan analyst V. Sankara Narayanan. Other investment goals in this field are lower cost for maintenance as well as total cost of ownership. "This is expected to drive the demand for sensors and instrumentation in the overall oil and gas industry and ultimately in the shale gas industry as well", he explained.

Currently the market activity in this field is focusing on North America. Frost & Sullivan believes that the knowledge and expertise gathered in this region could be leveraged to penetrate other regions. Sensor manufacturers also could position themselves as solution vendors rather than component vendors to gain greater shares of the market, Frost & Sullivan suggests. Once the legislation "uncertainty" as F&S puts it, will be resolved, the market will get a boost. What the analyst did not mention: the major reason for this uncertainty lies in the fracking technology itself; only when its eco-friendliness can be proved, governments in most parts of the world can give green light to the application of fracking methods in their respective countries.

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