Offshore telecom operators and O&G companies untap hidden business potential with Ceragon’s PointLink Access

By Yana Persky 5 min read

Are you servicing or operating in the offshore oil and gas (O&G) industry? Are your personnel working in remote and harsh environments with temperatures down to -30°C, drift ice, seabed depths of 1,000m or more, the blackest of nights, limited visibility, or severe storms with high winds and wave heights reaching up to 30m? Indeed, the conditions in which offshore networks need to be deployed and run present many challenges to network planners in the O&G industry.

In general, fixed or floating oil platforms are hugely impressive in scale and can surpass even the tallest skyscrapers. They have everything needed to drill, extract, process and store hydrocarbons. But is that enough for staying productive, competitive and profitable in the era of digital technology advancement?

Digital oilfield technologies are already making inroads and changing the way energy companies locate, drill for and process oil. These technologies involve a powerful combination of operations technology (OT), information technology (IT) and internet of things (IoT) including network sensors, ubiquitous mobile connectivity, cloud computing, advanced big data analytics and artificial intelligence. This challenging digital transformation in the O&G industry – with its many supply ships transporting goods, tools, equipment and personnel between onshore and offshore locations – entirely restructures a company's network architecture and requires reliable and robust high-capacity networks with mission-critical availability.

According to IHS Markit, modern offshore drilling platforms have approximately 80,000 sensors, which are expected to generate 15PB of data during the life of the asset. Upstream oil and gas production requires round-the-clock monitoring of numerous types and pieces of equipment (pipes, valves, wellheads, tanks, drilling recorders, etc.) and parameters (temperature, vibration, solids circulation, 3D seismic data, down-hole pressure, flow rates, corrosion, gas leaks, rock formations, maintenance schedules, etc.).

Monitoring, sensing and sending all this data back with real-time visual, voice, and data communications to onshore offices and supply ships requires a high-bandwidth, low-latency network. This allows offshore service providers and O&G companies to:

  • Optimize drilling and improve performance
  • Reduce costs for drilling and other on-site operations
  • Improve fleet and vessel operations
  • Reduce unplanned shutdowns
  • Perform on-time maintenance for key equipment
  • Improve crew morale and retention
  • Increase safety at high-risk sites (geography/security/weather)
  • Minimize environmental concerns

There is no question about wireless technology’s benefits or its impact upon many areas in digital oilfields. To provide 24/7 high-throughput, low-latency and uninterrupted stabilized connections to offshore over long distances, it is of paramount importance to embrace a technology-agnostic approach to fit any network scenario.

 Are your oil rigs and supply vessels located at the edge of commercial 4G/LTE networks? Do you need to connect your offshore vessels and rigs to 4G/LTE, private LTE, Wi-Fi or microwave networks? Are you challenged with the dynamic location of vessels across varied LTE coverage? Are you considering replacing VSAT infrastructure?

 Ceragon’s PointLink Access solution for offshore connectivity, designed with a technology-agnostic approach, can carry a variety of radio units ranging from microwave systems, point-to-multipoint (PtMP) systems and LTE backhaul.

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PointLink Access provides high-throughput communications within 40-70km of onshore base stations. By leveraging PointLink Access’ stabilized antenna, and benefiting from the agnostic radio feature allowing high-capacity radios and antennas, offshore service providers and O&G companies can now:

  • Provide higher capacity and more reliable coverage compared to an omni or fixed antenna solution, providing the infrastructure to deliver increased capacity of up to 8 times more (versus non-stabilized, limited omni antenna solutions)
  • Reliably monitor drilling activity, track production and extend the office to offshore oil platforms to deliver improved operational effectiveness
  • Provide reliable connectivity and performance by minimizing interference to zero; the stabilized nature of LTE/4G /Wi-Fi/MW antennas, with the base station as the focal point, ensures that interference coming from various directions (including other network users, signals and even onshore) has little-to-no impact on the intended service experience of offshore sites
  • Maintain communications regardless of movements/motions (location, heave, yaw, pitch and roll) and ensure that service is not affected by environmental factors
  • Avoid costly, often submarine fiber deployments and changes in the terrestrial network
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by replacing expensive satellite connectivity

 

O&G companies and offshore service providers are facing increased operational demands for applications and systems to improve remote and autonomous operations of their offshore sites. Existing solutions, such as VSAT, often suffer from limited bandwidth and high latency. This is holding back their digital transformation progress and leading to excessive costs due to lost efficiencies and expensive remote solutions.

By teaming up with Ceragon, offshore service providers and O&G companies are enjoying secure, reliable and high-capacity communications at a much more favorable cost-per-bit. They are extending their business by increasing offshore service reach and quality. Better offshore broadband is helping to maintain safety and security requirements by introducing more remote operations. Last but not least, crew members are enjoying online entertainment during non-work hours and staying in better touch with family/friends/colleagues, significantly reducing social isolation and improving crew morale and retention.

 

Download PointLink Platform Oil & Gas brochure to learn more:

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