ADNOC, e& plan energy industry’s largest private 5G wireless network

Last year witnessed a key geographic trend in the world of networking, namely the increasing importance of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the introduction of cutting-edge technologies and service. In the latest example of the trend, UAE telco e& has entered into a strategic project with energy and petrochemicals group ADNOC to build what is claimed to be the energy industry’s largest private 5G wireless network.

Wholly owned by Abu Dhabi, ADNOC’s stated objective is to maximise the value of the Emirate’s hydrocarbon reserves through what it describes as “responsible and sustainable” exploration and production to support the UAE’s programme of economic growth and diversification.

In all, the network will span an area measuring 11,000 square km, and is designed to deliver high-bandwidth 5G connectivity across ADNOC’s onshore and offshore operations.

Once completed, the 5G network will relay information from sensors embedded in more than 12,000 wells and pipelines to autonomous control rooms, to help make real-time recommendations to increase the lifespan of these assets and ensure safety in the field. The network will also allow for the digitisation of wellheads and provide end-to-end visibility over operations, thereby driving productivity across the company’s entire value chain.

All of this, said e&, will enable ADNOC to further integrate its advanced artificial intelligence (AI) offerings at its most remote facilities, and reduce costs through automation, improve efficiency, minimise emissions and enhance the safety of its people.

The project is due to be completed in 2025, and is expected to generate $1.5bn (AED 5.5bn) in value during its first five years of operation by facilitating autonomous operations, optimising production and reducing emissions.

The operator said the strategic partnership will ensure a secure and reliable digital infrastructure as ADNOC aims to become the world’s most artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled energy company.

Jassem Mohamed Bu Ataba Alzaabi, e& chairman, said: “e&’s collaboration with ADNOC will enable the creation of a cutting-edge private 5G network underscoring our dedication to harnessing technology and powering sustainable and intelligent transformation in the energy sector.

“With connectivity being the backbone of technological advancements, we’re leveraging our expertise as a pioneer in network and AI innovations to drive breakthroughs in the energy sector, and spur progress and success across industries. Beyond this partnership, we continue to work with ADNOC and other major players across multiple sectors to set new industry standards and redefine what’s possible.”

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE minister of industry and advanced technology, ADNOC managing director, and group CEO, said: “This landmark project with e& is a milestone step in ADNOC’s journey to become the world’s most AI-enabled energy company. Global demand is rising for both energy and AI, so by investing in cutting-edge connectivity across our operations, we can ensure that we continue providing secure, reliable and responsible energy to our customers.

“As we grow our diversified energy portfolio, this strategic partnership will generate value and enable us to make faster, smarter decisions – from the control room to the boardroom – future-proof our business, and keep our people and the environment safe.”

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