Blockchain technology enters the oil and gas data processing system market
One notable consequence of modern mass-interconnectivity is the ability to monitor our environment in real time. Thanks largely to mobile broadband developments, today a witness is free to broadcast a newsworthy event live from the source immediately alerting all interested parties. Similarly, networked optical sensors enable the live monitoring of critical structural and operational data, preventing the catastrophes that Twitter would later have devoured.
As global infrastructure continues to expand, such structural monitoring arrays will become ubiquitous in systems such as dams, nuclear plants, pipelines and even always-on geological surveys. In fact, a market research report from 2016 states that the structural health monitoring market alone is expected to grow from USD$701.4 million in 2015 to USD$3.4 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 24.99% between 2016 and 2022.
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Augusta Industries Inc. (TSXV: AAO) (“Augusta”), via its subsidiaries Marcon International and FOX-TEK, is already providing such services to some of the largest companies in the world, but now plans to implement blockchain technology into its oil and gas data processing systems, considering it to be the next technological revolution for storing and sharing distributed data from multiple input sources.
The company’s platform will implement a distributed blockchain ledger using smart contracts, in which Augusta invites other technology companies to participate. These companies will be involved in industries serving pipeline operations, integrity, maintenance and construction, as well as federal, provincial and state regulators, and by participating, these entities will have access to critical data in cases of breaches, corrosion, leaks and cracks.
While Marcon’s principal business is the sale and distribution of industrial parts and equipment to the energy sector and a number of US Government entities, FOX-TEK provides non-intrusive monitoring solutions to various sectors including the mining, chemical, power, construction and oil and gas industries. Using fiber optic sensors and electric field mapping systems, FOX-TEK is able to accurately measure small changes that could have serious ramifications if left unchecked.
In November 2017, FOX-TEK received a request for a proof-of-concept that could verify in real time that injector ports in nuclear reactor systems remained unclogged. This was successfully achieved in January 2018 using the company’s FIBOS Fiber Bragg Grating Technology to measure strain on the injectors, minimising the risk of dangerous blockages. The client has requested that a custom solution be developed by FOX-TEK, demonstrating that there is no shortage of opportunities to append the company’s patented tech to previously untapped markets and services.
This is a market that’s really going to come into its own over the next few years, and it’s likely that the future monitoring of such data will be done, at least in part, by AI-based networks. As Skynet as this seems, a complete environmental sensory system would allow us to respond effectively to structural degradation by employing the internet-of-things. This is in its very early stages (the input side particularly so), and Augusta represents a good opportunity to gain exposure due to its considerable experience (FOX-TEK has been going since 2001).
Structural and environmental monitoring networks present some of the largest growth opportunities of the next decade, and currently, Augusta is trading at only CAD$0.03, with a market cap of CAD$7.683 million and 52 week range of 0.02-0.05.