Expert Makes the Case for Satellite Technology to Save the Oil and Gas Exploration Industry

Indonesia should let down its guard against satellite-derived data if it wants to reduce the time, cost and risk associated with exploration in this sector. It may be holding the country back from reaching its oil and gas potential, states PT Indonesia-International Energy Solution Partner director George Barber.

According to reports by the local media, Indonesia is underachieving in its oil and gas industry goals as it seems unlikely to achieve the 23 percent renewable energy target by 2025 while its oil and gas exploration target for 2017 has gone out of reach.

Among the reasons for this, according to Barber, is the lack of exploration data that has caused some risk-averse investors to avoid exploration projects. This data is urgently required but has not been available because of the amount of time, money and effort needed to obtain it. A simple solution to this, according to Barber, is to employ the use of satellite-derived data; which would not only be cheaper and easier to obtain, but also would not require companies to go through the lengthy process of acquiring exploration permits in Indonesia.

“The regulations state that you need to have licences to explore, but this is not the case if you use satellite-derived data (it is open source data that anyone can purchase), as long as the processing of the data is carried out by competent companies and proven methods that reduce the time, cost and risk of exploration,” Barber stated in an article on his Linkedin account.

Satellite-driven data is currently being used in different fields such as energy, engineering and construction, defence/security, environmental monitoring, and in industries such as agriculture and tree grading. However, this technology has been met with resistance because the industry has been “left behind in accepting technology,” he argues. Barber states that exploration today is a high-risk venture with a success rate of only around 10-20 percent.

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Ardi Wirdana is a Jakarta-based journalist covering a variety
of topics including business, policy, and news in Indonesia.


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