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Analysis

Enabling Real-Time Applications for Shallow and Deepwater E&P

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 12:12

“When Pemex’s Cantarell project started, the company would use HF radio and other low speed communication devices for sending messages between offshore platforms and the shore,” explains Luís Tellez-Giron, Country Manager Mexico of Harris CapRock, a communications technology company. “Realtime communication was a long way off. Today, even though on average connection speeds range between one and two megabits, real-time communication between production platforms and control rooms is not only possible, but economically viable.”

In locations where conventional communication solutions are rendered impossible, such as remote offshore production platforms, very small aperture terminal (VSAT) communications are one of the only options for maintaining a connection with the shore. In the oil and gas industry, VSAT communications are used for a number of different purposes, from gaining access to batch, online and real-time reports, to voice communication and video conferencing, and real-time production monitoring.

In locations where conventional communication solutions are rendered impossible, such as remote offshore production platforms, very small aperture terminal (VSAT) communications are one of the only options for maintaining a connection with the shore. In the oil and gas industry, VSAT communications are used for a number of different purposes, from gaining access to batch, online and real-time reports, to voice communication and video conferencing, and real-time production monitoring. 

it to create custom solutions for its clients. As the energy industry is an important sector for Harris CapRock, the company has incorporated tracking satellites into its offering; more expensive than traditional fixed satellites, but with the advantage that they can follow a rig from location to location.

“Many of the largest energy players rely on Harris CapRock’s services for the design, installation and commissioning of their information and communication solutions,” says Tellez-Giron. “Today, nine out of the ten largest offshore drilling contractors rely on Harris CapRock.” In Mexico, Harris CapRock has been focused more on working with oilfield service companies than directly with Pemex, as Tellez-Giron explains: “We have been bidding for projects with Pemex, but the company’s bidding process is not really set up for a company like Harris CapRock. Instead of leasing equipment, Pemex prefers to be independent, purchasing equipment and programmes directly and then later outsourcing the service. However, for VSAT communications, this strategy has not been successful for Pemex so far, and they are currently in the process of defining what service they need, which is an actual operator committed to providing the service. We are in the process of convincing Pemex that a 100% service provider is the best option instead of partially outsourcing the service after they have already set up the equipment and the network. I think there are new people in Pemex that also believe that outsourcing the complete service is the better option.”