5 Minutes With: Osama Oulabi

Oil & Gas Middle East delves beneath the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the industry's leaders tick

Osama Oulabi is the regional director of SpeedCast, a network and satellite communication services provider.
Osama Oulabi is the regional director of SpeedCast, a network and satellite communication services provider.

0.00 Tell us about SpeedCast's scope of work within the oil and gas sector.

SpeedCast provides fully managed telecoms services. One of the largest oilfield service companies recently selected SpeedCast’s satellite network for the Sub-Saharan Africa portion of a global oil drilling project. Using the SpeedCast satellite network, which offers pan-African coverage, key technical data is backhauled to the client's datacentre, so experts can analyse the data and make decisions about the well, in real time. These decisions can save the oil company tens of millions of dollars, in some cases. 

1.10 What are some of the latest innovations in satellite technology, and what impact have they had on the oil and gas sector?

Cost of connectivity via satellite is decreasing, thanks to the development of high-throughput satellites and the introduction of Ka band satellites. In addition, the introduction of Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellation, namely O3b, means that enterprise customers can enjoy latency as low as 150 milliseconds, as well as increased Internet speeds and, as a result, improved application, voice and video quality.

2.15 Why is this region important for SpeedCast?

The Middle East is of strategic importance to SpeedCast as we like to be present where our customers expect us, and most of our global clients have offices here. In spite of the sluggish economic climate, the region has some major investment plans in the sector. In fact, recent estimates are that $900bn is expected to be invested in the industry over the next five years, so the region is still attractive. With our wealth of experience, strong local presence and wide portfolio of solutions, SpeedCast is well positioned for further growth within the region.

3.05 What are the implications of your licence win in Iraq?

The licence not only allows us to operate and sell our services in Iraq, but it also allows us to apply for end-user licensing that our clients will need to operate wireless devices. SpeedCast became one of the first to obtain this licence. It reassures our clients that we have a formal relationship with the authorities, and that SpeedCast can look after their licensing requirements, which in a country like Iraq, can be difficult yet exceptionally important.

4.20 What are your mid-term growth plans in the Middle East?

SpeedCast has seen increased demand for O3b MEO technology in the region, particularly where there is need for high throughput and low latency, and traditional fibre is unreachable or unreliable. Last year, we helped connect some of our energy customers, GSM providers and NGOs with O3b, giving them services of 100Mbps per site. I anticipate the demand for O3b and high-throughput services to continue to grow over the coming months.

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