BP is in it for the Long Haul Shutting down and evacuating offshore oil and gas installations in the face of a coming hurricane is necessary to ensure the safety of the rig crew. But time is money, none so more true than in the oil and gas production business today, where soaring energy prices have most working at 100% capacity and interruptions quickly cost millions. Enter Tyco Telecommunication, which won a contract to connect a series of rigs in the Gulf with its 'long haul' communication technology, a system that is designed to dramatically increase the rig-to-shore communications capacity while potentially save the oil and gas majors millions. By Greg Trauthwein As offshore oil and gas drilling assets grow increasingly expensive and move farther from shore into deeper, more hostile waters, one oil major is investing in a way in which it can gain even better control over the rig via high bandwidth communication capabilities. Earlier this year Tyco Telecommunications signed a contract with Houston-based BP America to supply an undersea fiber optic system serving offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico -- reportedly the first known use of this technology for rig-to-shore communications. The system will comprise the undersea backbone of a regional communications network, providing connectivity from BP's Gulf of Mexico offshore production facilities back to its state-of-the-art regional operating center in Houston. "This $80 million investment will allow early evacuation of our offshore staff whilst keeping critical energy supplies flowing as well as improving our operating efficiency and operability year round," said Kenny Lang, BP Vice President Gulf of Mexico. "During routine opera26 MTR tions, the fiber optic network will allow each of BP's new cutting edge technology centers in Houston to remotely apply high level technical expertise to our offshore producing facilities. The large bandwidth provided by the network will enable staff in the Houston centers to monitor offshore digital operating and safety equipment which will contribute to faster problem resolution for our operations." While the system has advantages in extreme circumstances, the capabilities inherent with faster, cheaper communications could eventually lead to increased levels of remote control of offshore assets from shoreside facilities. The system will initially link seven of BP's deep water production facilities including Marlin, Horn Mountain, Na Kika, Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Holstein to the new Advanced Collaborative Environment (ACE) centers in Houston. The system is designed with an upgrade capability to support 64 platforms. The traditional form of communication offshore is May 2007
You don't have Macromedia Flash Player installed.
This content requires the Macromedia Flash Player.