3/2014

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From Finland with love: Oulu’s ICT companies look to boost the oil & gas industry in Alberta

Now that North America is strongly expanding its shale gas and oil mining using hydraulic fracturing, the need for advanced pressure and seismic measurement in wells has increased. BusinessOulu has seen the opportunities for Oulu-based ICT companies in offering the oil and gas industry several methods based on advanced technologies in the radio technology field. Collaboration between Alberta Innovates and BusinessOulu has set off at an impressive speed, and now the companies will get to meet their Canadian colleagues in person in Alberta.

The four companies participating in the trip – Navicron, Creowave and Haltian – get a first-hand opportunity to sell their services to the oil and gas industry and the constantly increasing service industry surrounding it. The location itself is good news for the Finns: vast areas of sparsely populated land offer excellent opportunities in terms of Finnish know-how regarding the ICT industry, especially wireless technologies, mobile end devices and sensory technologies.

Pressure in the pipes

Creowave, one of the companies participating in the Alberta trip, specializes in the oil and gas industry. Creowave builds sensory equipment for deep sea, offshore and land drilling, including the necessary technology to transport the measurement data safely wherever the client wants it to be sent. As CEO Jyrki Koski explains: “Some of the gas fields are in places where people don’t want to spend time. If the field contains H2S, it’s noxious when you smell it, poisonous when you don’t and heavier than air, which means if someone loses consciousness because of the gas, they’re only going to fall down in a denser cloud of it. So, energy-consciousness, automatization and the guarantee of long-term functioning is essential.”

But that’s only the beginning. Koski explains that not only is their equipment extremely easy to set up, meaning less personnel required and savings for the drilling company, it has to be extremely durable. The pressure in the pipe can be over 700 bar, which means the measurement device attached to the valve has to endure it for a long time – 30 years is not out of the ordinary. And this is one of Creowave’s fortes. “We haven’t had a malfunctioning unit in ten years. Of course, this means that we’re constantly fighting the statistics, but so far so good – we’re the best of the best in that area, and we intend to stay that way.”

Future in Canada

With hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas industry expects a 50% increase in exploiting already established fuel beds. With the size of Alberta’s oil and gas deposits, there’s plenty of work to be done. The companies to visit the area are presenting their top-level expertise within mobile networks, wireless technologies and efficiency in designing complete client solutions within both hardware and software, making the progress in the industry and the services surrounding it easier, better automated and more cost-efficient.

With the track record these companies possess and with BusinessOulu’s continuing effort to further enhance the ICT sector in Oulu, the story won’t end there. “Although we expect good results with the drilling companies alone, it is important to make new connections from the service industry focused on the fuel industries. BusinessOulu has done a fantastic job in presenting opportunities to expand our business,” concludes Koski.