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Editorial comment

In recent issues of Hydrocarbon Engineering, I have written about the virtues of digitalisation in the downstream oil and gas sector (as well as the problems posed by cyber attacks). A recent market report from Future Market Insights emphasises the essential role that automation is set to play in the oil and gas storage industry in the decade ahead.1

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The report forecasts that the global oil and gas terminal automation market will register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1% in terms of value between 2016 and 2026. Projected growth in the automation market over the forecast period has been attributed to the current supply-demand scenario, low oil price environment, and increasing demand for natural gas, which will result in increased investment in oil and gas storage terminals.

Digging a little deeper, the report suggests that the software segment accounted for approximately 37.8% of the overall oil and gas terminal automation market last year. This sector is expected to continue to dominate in the decade ahead, recording a CAGR of 7.2% between 2016 and 2026. The report also notes that inventory management is likely to experience particularly fast growth over the forecast period.

Unsurprisingly, the report suggests that there are two main concerns threatening growth in the automation market: cost and security. While cyber attacks and data security breaches are real threats that require immediate and ongoing attention (turn to p. 29 for more on this topic), terminal operators should not underestimate the potential that automation has to improve the very two factors that are causing them the most anxiety.

As discussed in this issue’s cover story from Honeywell Process Solutions (p. 32), the latest generation of terminal automation solutions (including integrated management solutions that can control multiple sites) can help to significantly cut costs. They can also improve business efficiency and regulatory compliance, as well as temper market volatility.

Also in this issue, Oreco A/S (p. 27) outlines how automated oil tank cleaning technologies can substantially improve operational safety and reliability; Emerson Automation Solutions (p. 42) looks at how inventory management software platforms are helping to improve tank gauging; and Eddyfi Technologies (p. 37) explains why software advances are the future of efficient storage tank inspection data management.

This issue covers a range of other interesting topics too, from insulation and corrosion control, to decommissioning of redundant or unsafe facilities. Meanwhile, our regional report from Ng Weng Hoong (p. 10) shines a light on the storage industry in Asia.

1. ‘Oil and Gas Terminal Automation Market: Software Segment Anticipated to Dominate the Global Market Throughout the Forecast Period: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment, 2016 - 2026', Future Market Insights, global-oil-gas-terminal-automation-market

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