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Spring 2012

Where Telecoms & Energy Connect In this issue Legal Implications of the Cloud Offshore How Satellite Delivers Offshore Connectivity for Oil & Gas Companies Underground Overground Comms at the Pleasure Gap Mine Voices from Within: Captive Survey Results PLUS!

Simply the best events for quality global networking and real live working innovation OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


1 CTLD Publishing Ltd

For oil & gas companies, telecom suppliers, network managers, offshore installation managers and IT departments, OffComm News provides essential quarterly insight for the remote communications industry ~ from all around the globe.

Online Digital Edition The digital version of OffComm News is free to view, in magazine format, from our homepage. On the website you will also find choice news and extracts from articles featured within the magazine.

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OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

OffComm News explores developments in remote communications Connecting operational critical missions ~ as well as the people based in these harsh environments ~ OffComm News is a trade focussed magazine covering advancements in communications for remote energy sites worldwide. OffComm News brings you an informative selection of articles and news from around the globe every quarter, covering: communication innovation in operations and infrastructure; personal, personnel and business communications technology on board rigs, accommodation vessels & other remote energy fields.


Editor‘s Introduction

Contents Page 4

Greetings and welcome to this edition of OffComm News. If you‘re a platform manager tasked with finding the widest reaching or most cost effective way to enhance your communications systems, this issue is for you.

The Quarterly News round up from the last quarter for your easy and continual reference.

What‘s more, if you‘re considering dipping into the cloud you wont want to miss our specialist legal feature on page 18. In it Greg Mason, a partner at FRA, covers some international legal considerations that are vital not to overlook when planning a cloud based system. On page 8 you can read our interview with Robert Schena, Chairman, CEO and cofounder of Rajant Corporation, about a proposed network in the Gulf of Mexico. iDirect‘s Christian Bergan reveals how satellite is delivering offshore connectivity in the oil and gas sector on page 21; and if you turn to page 11 you will discover some thought provoking insight direct from the crews stationed on offshore rigs regarding their wants and needs for access to communications. Thank you for all the encouraging feedback on the Winter 2011 edition. Most importantly, in response to requests for OffComm News in print, you can now order the magazine to read at your desk each quarter (see page 16 for details). The digital version will, of course, remain a free resource and accessible via the homepage of our website. I hope you enjoy this issue and if you feel like getting in touch I‘d be pleased to hear from you. My email address is below.

Georgina Elrington

Satellite Space & Managed Services Offered

OffComm News magazine supports The African Children’s Book Project

Page 7 Diary Dates Quality networking for the remote comms world Page 8 Interview with Robert Schena The Chairman, CEO and cofounder of Rajant Corporation speaks about the proposed network in the Gulf of Mexico Page 11 Insight: Voices from a captive audience Rig workers tell us what‘s on their communications wish list Page 13 Comment from Inmarsat Internet connectivity is a rising priority Page 14 Case Study Worker Safety at the Pleasure Gap Mine Page 18 The Legal Maze of Cloud Computing Forensic Risk Alliance warns that if companies don‘t get serious about where their data is stored, they could be exposed to complex and costly legal cases Page 21 iDirect’s Christian Bergan tells us how satellite delivers offshore connectivity for oil and gas companies

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The Quarterly OffComm News Round Up ITC Global Acquires Broadpoint Satellite Division Uniting Broadpoint‘s industry experience and customer base with ITC‘s global coverage and resources to create VSAT communications for the oil & gas market. Broadpoint‘s customers will be able to access ITC‘s worldwide service, technology advisors and managed support. The company will retain its core cellular telecommunications business, which operates the only ubiquitous cellular voice and data network in the Gulf of Mexico. Broadpoint LLC is a provider of communications services to the oil & gas sector in the Gulf of Mexico. It manages a global VSAT network across more than 25 satellite beams and nine teleports, covering every geography in which oil & gas companies operate.

Prosafe Gets 150 Day Contract & Accommodates 450 Prosafe has been awarded a contract by A/S Norske Shell using the Regalia for accommodation support at the Draugen Topside Campaign Project offshore Norway. On site operations are planned to commence late April 2013. In addition, Prosafe has granted A/S Norske Shell a 30-day option. The total value of the contract for the firm period is about USD 55.1 million. ***

Maersk and Ericsson Take On Last White Spot In Mobile Communications Industry Until now, Maersk Line's high-tech modern container ships have been equipped with satellite connectivity primarily intended to support communication for vital shipboard functions. Ericsson's integrated maritime mobile and VSAT satellite solution will bring extended connectivity to the entire fleet, allowing for new ways of communicating and contributing to efficiency, reliability and cost reduction. It also paves the way for immediate access to remote expertise, resulting in extended access to information and, in turn, improved efficiency in the vessels' daily operations.

Mobile connectivity for the oceans "We're quite pleased to be the first fleet to be connected with mobile communication technology." said Søren Toft, Vice President Maersk Line Operations.

Prosafe also entered into a turnkey contract for the construction of a semisubmersible accommodation rig at Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd. in Singapore. The design of the GVA 3000E accommodation unit was awarded to a subsidiary of KBR. When completed it will be the most advanced and efficient harsh environment accommodation rig in the world, with the capacity for 450 persons in single man cabins.

Over the next two years, Maersk Line will outfit 400 of its 500 vessels with Ericsson antennas and GSM base stations, with upgrades to be made to the remaining vessels soon after.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


O3b Networks Raises US$137m O3b Networks has earmarked the funding for the construction of four additional satellites that will boost both capacity and redundancy over the emerging markets. Eight Medium Earth Orbit satellites are scheduled to be launched early 2013. The additional spacecraft ~ set to launch in 2014 ~ will almost double the capacity of O3b Networks‘ fleet. More recently, the company entered into partnerships with vendors including: General Dynamics‘ SATCOM Technologies, Comtech EF Data Corporation and Gilat Satellite Networks to provide a range of customer access systems, for use on the O3b network, capable of delivering throughputs from 1 Mbps to 1 Gbps.

Nabors Industries & Harris CapRock Provide VSAT Services to Iraq Harris CapRock Communications signed a two year contract to provide Nabors Industries with satellite communications for multiple land rigs and a base office in Iraq. Harris CapRock‘s Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services will provide Nabors personnel on remote Iraq land drilling sites the ability to interconnect with the local base office and corporate headquarters. This will allow Nabors personnel to share critical information, such as well site data, to and from the land rigs and the base office, and ultimately send data back to the Nabors corporate office in Houston, Texas. ***

Damen to launch New Platform Supply Vessel Series Damen Shipyards will unveil its new Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) at EUROPORT 2011 and will launch a complete PSV range in the next few months The PSV 3300 E3 is a dedicated supply vessel to transport supplies to oil and gas rigs and is specifically designed to perform safely in adverse weather conditions. The new range is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2012. Although the series of vessels are primarily designed as PSVs, the platforms can also serve as a basis for other offshore support services such as diving support, drilling or well stimulation, oil recovery and firefighting operations. The first two vessels will be built at Damen shipyard in Galati, Romania. Delivery is scheduled for early 2013. Safety and comfort have been given a high priority in the new vessel. Accommodation is designed to the current standards in the 24/7 offshore industry and each cabin has access to the internet, radio and television.

The company was also recently named the number one organization in an annual industry ranking of Independent Top Twenty satellite communications companies by the World Teleport Association (WTA). The WTA presents its Teleport Awards for Excellence each year to companies whose accomplishments have been recognized as outstanding by the association and its awards committees, comprised of industry members from around the world. In addition Harris CapRock also secured the seventh spot on the Global Top Twenty list.

New Forum Aims to Untangle Mobile Satellite Industry Satellite Phone Solutions has launched an integrated social media centre dedicated to help those who live and work beyond cellular coverage areas. The company provides independent advice from a team of experienced satellite industry analysts, actual satellite phone users and industry watchers. The service is available via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the company‘s blog and online forum.

For choice news updates between issues visit Seeking out the very latest in remote communications exploration for your reference

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Same Again Please Captain Major Systems Upgrade for Ports Authority

Guernsey is a challenging marine environment and has been the scene of a number of shipping tragedies over the years.

Harbour and coastguard staff on Guernsey are responsible for safety in the ports and around the island’s 48 km (30 mile) coastline. In addition to the thousands of regular to-andfro shipping movements, Guernsey lies adjacent to the busiest shipping lane in the world ~ and a major destination for cruise liners. ―Our original system helped us cope well with the workload, but technology moves on and we were aware that a current generation system would enable us to work smarter and even more efficiently.

―After 12 years with the earlier Zetron system, we had no doubts about the vendor solution we wanted,‖ says harbour master Captain Peter Gill (pictured).

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

Commissioned earlier this year the new Zetron DCS5020* Digital Console system passed the test of its first peak season with top marks. Zetron‘s partner in Guernsey, Radio & Electronic Services (RES), carried out the phased swap-over during the winter of 2010/11, integrating the new system with existing ICOM marine VHF and UHF radio, the public phone network, private phone circuits and an existing Zetron telemetry system used to control and monitor remote installations. Staff now have finger-tip control over radio, telephony and remote systems all from one place. Remote harbour lights and fog horns are also controllable in the same way; and operators can turn on remote monitoring from the touch screens so that live radio and telephone audio can be relayed over loudspeaker. *The DCS-5020 is currently not available in North America


Diary Dates

Where Technology & Energy Connect

6-7 February 2012 E&P Information and Data Management London, UK, Copthorne Tara Hotel SMi‘s flagship oil and gas conference returns for its 14th year. E&P Information and Data Management 2012 will feature international IM leaders from the Oil, Gas and Information Technology sectors and will address both the ‗how‘ and the ‗why‘ of effective E&P data management, examining the means of establishing and maintaining best practice and the value to be derived from robust and innovative IM and DM systems.

15-18 February 2012 MTB, Oil & Gas, 2012 Dubai +44(0)1276 682898 Meet the Buyer is a programme of 1-to-1 appointments between project managers, contractors, engineers, technical purchasing managers and individuals responsible for purchasing within oil and gas companies together with supplier companies who offer some of the following services: electrical syste ms, environmental testing, instrumentation, fuels & lubricants, engineering, fabricators, hydraulic systems, maintenance & repair and much more. Choose a minimum of 15 delegates you would like to see over 2 days and we will schedule 20 minute appointments for you.

28 February-1 March 2012 CabSat Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre The Middle East's largest digital media & satellite expo CABSAT is the established and respected trade platform for the digital media and satellite sectors across the Middle East, Africa, and Southern Asian regions. Together, they welcomed 10,162 visitors from 103 countries with 11 national pavilions in 2011. A total of 770 exhibitors from 55 countries participated in 2011.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

14 March 2012 EIC Connect LNG 2012 Wembley Stadium, London, UK +44 (0) 1642 379 975 Energy Industries Council Set to Be the Largest International Share Fair for UK companies in the global LNG Industry. With many LNG projects scheduled for final investment decisions over the next two years there will be a multitude of opportunities for the UK supply chain in liquefaction, shipping, re-gasification, storage, and distribution. EIC Connect LNG has become the only place where companies in the LNG sector can promote their products and services to global companies. By having the world‘s leading LNG carriers, operators and EPC contractors all outlining their project plans to suppliers in the form of workshops bordering an exhibition, stand holders and delegates won‘t have to go very far to meet the decision makers.

8-11 October 2012 Gastech 2012 ExCeL, London, UK +44 (0) 203 180 6571 Celebrating its 26th edition in London, Gastech this year has the backing of host sponsor BG Group, as well as Associate Sponsors Bechtel, CB&I, ConocoPhillips, Nigeria LNG Limited, RasGas and Yemen LNG Company. The event brings together commercial and technical industry professionals for unrivalled networking, new business opportunities, the exchange of ideas and to showcase the latest innovations, technologies and developments across the gas value chain. Gastech is the premier industry event in the global gas calendar, attracting more than 10, 000 international delegates.

24-27 October 2012 MTB Oil and Gas Americas, USA Tel: +44(0)1276 682 898 The MTB Oil & Gas forum is heading back to Dallas, Texas but this time it will be dedicated to the Americas.

Events for quality global networking & real live innovation


OffComm News interviewed Robert Schena, Chairman, CEO and cofounder of Rajant Corporation about the proposed network in the Gulf of Mexico ―Offshore communications, particularly reliable broadband networking, present multiple challenges because it typically incorporates a variety of fixed, moving, manned and unmanned asset. The GoM alone has nearly 5,000 highly vulnerable oil and gas rigs, transfer sites and drilling platforms ~ many of which are unmanned and unmonitored. Then there are the countless tankers, vessels and aircraft in the area...‖ says Robert Schena.

―The ability to reliably network these assets represents a substantial advantage in terms of safety and disaster preparedness,‖ says Schena. ―GulfMesh can provide the ability to connect these disparate assets with a resilient broadband network so that voice, video and data can securely and reliably flow between all nodes in the network. The range of applications supported by this technology is virtually unlimited – from remote monitoring of platform and equipment conditions, voice and data communications, and video security.‖

What was new for Rajant in 2011? We recently launched a powerful and portable longrange broadband solution known as RAPTR. It combines three Rajant BreadCrumb network nodes with three levels of directional antennae to provide 360-degree coverage and readily-established broadband connectivity over long distances. With throughput rates of 25 Mbps at six miles and 5 Mbps at ten miles, RAPTR offers true broadband connectivity for remote locations at distances up to 30 miles. Another recent launch is the UX-2400 BreadCrumb Portable Wireless Mesh Network Node, ideal for use in underground areas. It ensures efficiency for safety, rescue and emergency operations. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) specifically approved it for underground coal mines after extensive analysis by the Rajant team.

What is GulfMesh? Gulfmesh is a proposed broadband wireless network in the Gulf of Mexico that will cover the area from Brownsville, Texas to the Florida panhandle. It will be an IP-based network, so IP traffic can ride on the network but it would need to be controlled by an operator or consortium of operators to grant access. It will accommodate a two-fold purpose for serving the needs of a variety of fixed and moving assets across the GoM. The first purpose involves the benefit of providing secure and reliable multi-frequency wireless communications throughout the GoM. Currently, there are about 5,000 active oil platforms in the GoM and of those, only 750 are manned. What is even more staggering is that only 30 percent of the active platforms in the GoM have communications systems, and these have typically employed satellite.

Rugged Wireless Network Nodes

What can we look forward to? Regarding new development, we are looking forward to launching the ME4. It will join the BreadCrumb family of wireless devices and is a portable and rugged wireless mesh network node that forms a network through our data routing protocol, InstaMesh. It supports open standard IEEE 802.11 b/g protocols to enable data, voice and video. While similar to the BreadCrumb ME3 it offers two radios. Also look out for TRoIP (Tactical Radio over Internet Protocol), enabling push-to-talk over IP.

As a wide-area broadband network solution, GulfMesh enables offshore oil industry workers, i.e. those situated on rigs or platforms, to monitor critical infrastructure and to have access to voice and Wi-Fi capability. For example, workers can benefit from reliable ship-to-shore communications while unmanned platforms can benefit from remote monitoring with the use of sensor equipment. Cont…/

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


“Our vision for the GoM is to enable extremely high bandwidth communications across a variety of oil industry operations.“

Breadcrumbs... Rajant‘s wireless mesh networking nodes, called BreadCrumbs, can be deployed on various oil assets across the GoM. This means that while moving from node to node, commercial vessels, private ships, the U.S. coastguard, military boats and even helicopters can access the network as well. The second purpose is related to the first and it involves a commitment to improving safety and security in the GoM. In 2005, Rajant was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to aid in the relief effort following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Just about a year ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill provided us with further motivation to help offshore companies avoid and control potential disasters. What‘s more, these platforms are entirely unguarded against any threat. Apart from a rectangular sign saying ‘Keep Off‘ there seemed to be little else to deter unsavory occupation.

The Gulf of Mexico alone has nearly 5,000 highly vulnerable oil and gas rigs, transfer sites and drilling platforms, many of which are unmanned and unmonitored.

What will GulfMesh enable regarding communications for the crew? Rajant BreadCrumb nodes have the unique capability of allowing for mobility. Picture hundreds of nodes throughout the Gulf of Mexico in motion with different channels and passing IP data without the need for an administrator. This then allows hundreds of devices to connect in real time and with no interruption. If a member of the crew wants to call home, for example, or if boots-on-the-ground workers want to connect to devices such as a laptop or tablet, they can do so through standard Wi-Fi signal using 2.4GHz radios. Even while moving, these everyday devices can connect to the network via this frequency. Cont…/

Rajant‘s GulfMesh™ wireless broadband network, based on Kinetic Mesh Networking technology, can link a variety of fixed and moving assets; enhancing communications and security in remote locations. It is a proposed broadband wireless network for the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) that would cover the area from Brownsville, Texas to the Florida panhandle. Oil platforms, commercial and private ships, coast guard and military ships as well as helicopters would connect to the mesh network enabling Wi-Fi access, ship-to-shore communications and the ability to remotely view, monitor and control a full range of IP devices. The company has partners across a range of industries such as Caterpillar, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications and GRC. Rajant clients include some of the world‘s largest organizations including Peabody Energy, the Rio Tinto Group and a variety of branches in the U.S. military. OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


However, we are using many other frequencies to enable connections among nodes, making it transparent to the user. We‘re taking frequencies never intended for mobile use and granting them utility for various devices. In particular, BreadCrumb nodes allow companies to monitor various machines and equipment through a host of IP devices. In real-world deployments, we have enabled applications such as dispatch, drill management, condition monitoring to pump controls, remote sensors and switches, and general Wi-Fi networking to ride on the network. In addition to GulfMesh, we are currently working to translate this technology to global pipeline operations, natural gas installations, and even the controversial shale operations occurring in the Northern regions of United States.

What’s in store regarding communications for the oil and gas industry? The future of oil and gas can definitely support developments around video, SONAR, RADAR, voice and/or data. Take, for example, remote video technology, which can be particularly useful for defending the U.S. against drug cartels or even acts of terrorism against the country‘s infrastructure. The Coast Guard and the military can keep a better eye on what‘s happening underwater, above water or in the air for both defense and emergency response situations. This can all be done while enabling data availability for commercial ships and pleasure boaters, as well as for industrial applications that need it to manage their operations. In addition, the demand for more bandwidth will continue to be a factor in supporting communications regarding critical oil and gas infrastructures.

Crew WiFi on Schulte Ships Globecomm launched its Crew Wi-Fi service 2011 to provide a cost effective and low maintenance means of providing email and SMS access to crews. Globecomm Maritime is in the process of rolling out more than 100 Crew Wi-Fi installations. The installation for Reederei Thomas Schulte routes bandwidth from an Iridium OpenPort terminal to the se@COMM terminal and broadcasts a signal via wireless repeaters to the crew and officer mess rooms. The wireless access point allows for the connection of multiple computers without the need to run extra cable. To power the crew calling service, airtime provider Iridium will install its OpenPort system and provide two hardwired phone lines in the crew and officers mess as well as one commercial wireless phone.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

Wireless internet access and data coverage ~ in an area as wide and remote as the GoM ~ is entirely possible. Personnel engaging in day-to-day operations and/or emergency response efforts can communicate seamlessly via GulfMesh. The technology can be applied to virtually any remote or offshore critical infrastructure where a broadband data and communications capability is needed. A cluster of nodes (situated on a group of wells, pipelines or drilling platforms) could be connected via satellite transponder to satisfy a full range of voice, video and data communications needs.

Crew data and hardware are kept separate from the bridge communications equipment and it is simple for the master and crew manager to account for actual usage.

Using their own personal laptops and smartphones, crew can now connect with shore at predictable costs.

Heiko Hoefer of Globecomm German agent Nordic-IT, said: ―We believed that the Wi-Fi for crew concept was an idea that would be popular and this contract is an endorsement of the work we have done to make it a reality for ship owners and managers. This concept answers several questions at once: it is low cost to install and to use, low maintenance and simple to administer‖ Globecomm was also been selected by Ericsson as a subcontractor of the maritime GSM/VSAT managed operation for an Ericsson mobile communication network. The network will be implemented on up to 400 container vessels worldwide over the next two years, providing end-to-end 24/7 automated monitoring and real-time information control. 10

Insight Voices from a captive audience

Offshore Worker Living Communications

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Offshore Workers Want More Comms On Rigs Almost 90 percent of respondents to a survey cited that greater access to an internet connection while offshore would help them manage their lives and finances while away from home ~ as well as boost morale onboard. Platforms vary vastly regarding the provision of communication for offshore workers. Some rigs are superbly equipped and others less so. Much depends on location, accessibility and purpose of each installation. Some deciding factors, regarding available facilities, can include: the purpose of the rig, location, age, bandwidth availability, maintenance, security and costs involved for enabling recreational communications systems onboard. A section of offshore workers from around the world were surveyed to gain insight to their wants and needs regarding access to, and desired utilisation of, communications facilities on offshore oil rigs. A comment section provided more insight to what‘s on the wish list:

Rig workers were asked what they‘d like more of while working offshore Over 90% wanted wireless connectivity in their cabins

85% said that they wanted:  Internet access 24/7  Privacy when using a computer  Unlimited access to

the internet in

their free time

 More telephone access at their own convenience

76% wanted broadband comms 73%

wanted more accessible computer stations to use in relaxation areas

―For international workers, calling home causes special complications. I would like to see a way (OIM-approval) to make international calls from platforms in free time.‖

―[I want] a scheme to get allowance for laptop and headset so I can use Skype, listen to music on my computer and access Facebook as I please in my free time.‖


would like the ability to receive/view video messages (e.g. Facebook) from home


said that more internet style cafes would be welcome aboard

―Equal treatment for all offshore workers while they are offshore, regardless of whether they are core crew or ad hoc.‖

―Phone style booths for complete privacy when using Skype and msn.‖


felt they would benefit from an employer funded webconferencing option

―I‘m on a floatel right now, in Canada, with unlimited access. There is cable hook-up in the [cabins] for laptops, a phone for calling and an internet cafe. It‘s not that difficult to set up and makes life so much easier. My wife loves seeing me on the webcam while I‘m away at work.‖

On average how many times do you get the access you want/need to telephones and internet connections offshore?

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Comment Simon Curran, Business Development Manager, Inmarsat

It's no surprise that better access to an internet connection is a demand of offshore workers. It's a common refrain, and the same message that we've been hearing for some years from those working on rigs, those on ships and those in remote areas on land. In a recent conversation with offshore HR specialists, on whether the purchase of data communications is driven not by business expediency but by the issue of employee welfare and retention, I was surprised to hear that one of the first questions potential workers ask is: "What's the internet like onboard?" Increasingly companies now include 'internet onboard' in their recruitment advertising to attract the best talent. The joke among IT Managers making the case for investment in technology is that in a few years' time it could be an infringement of human rights not to have internet access for crews on rigs! One of the biggest challenges for offshore workers remains the isolation and loneliness while on a platform, and it's proven than communications technology reduces the stress of being away from family. There is no denying the fact that the web has taken over much of our lives. At sea or on land, and increasingly even in the air, the digital revolution is running our lives faster with email, apps, and streaming entertainment. Many people onboard rigs will want to run their bank accounts, friendships, and even dental appointments via the web.

Increasingly companies now include 'internet onboard' in their recruitment advertising to attract the best talent. As a new generation of senior management comes up, we can expect to see an increase in demand for bandwidth because they understand what this facility means to the workers onboard.

Social networking has revolutionised the way offshore workers communicate with friends and family, and any restriction on using Facebook, MySpace or Twitter is seen as a negative factor of platform life. With workers drawn from around the world these sites, rather than the phone, are the fabric of daily life for many; posting updates, photographs and videos to social networks is the easiest way to keep friends and family up to date. It is quicker to upload photos to Facebook than sending a batch of photos over email.

It's a trend that is common across many of Inmarsat's markets, which is why we announced a $1.2 billion investment in a new fleet of Ka-band satellites, the Inmarsat-5s. They will support a new network, Global XpressTM, that will be capable of offering up to 50Mbps to 60-100cm antennas. This kind of capability - which can use smart software to split operational from recreational use, support wireless networks on rigs, and generally make it much easier to deploy comms systems across a platform - is unprecedented.

As files get larger and larger, many believe that bandwidth will be a huge issue in 2-3 years time. For example, enthusiastic downloading and uploading of all media types (including video, internet telephone calls etc...) has led many companies to put in restrictions.

It makes business sense to invest in solutions that gain the trust and loyalty of offshore workers and prevent their skill and experience being lost to the business. From being a nice to have, it is fast becoming an essential part of any platform operation.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Case Study Above and Below SentriVoice Aids Mine Communications The latest technology is employed above ground and innovation continues below the surface too, where miners are protected by a number of advanced safety systems, including a custom designed UHF radio network and an automated voice evacuation warning solution ~ developed by Zetron.

Pleasant Gap owners Graymont (PA) Inc. needed a communications system that was totally reliable and that enabled operations above and below ground to be in constant contact. For this key function, the mine management turned to local radio frequency (RF) experts centre communications. Providing reliable RF communications underground is a familiar challenge for the mining industry, conventionally overcome by the use of leaky coaxial feeders to provide radio coverage. But Centre Communications knew it could achieve even better coverage with an underground UHF radio system incorporating its own proprietary technology. The system uses a UHF repeater network comprised of thousands of feet of RF transmission cable and an equal run of power lines serving multiple communication nodes. The nodes are in watertight enclosures that protect the internal components from moisture and mine dust. As the working face of the mine extends over time, the nodes can be relocated and additional nodes can be easily added. Each node has one or two antennas mounted high above the mine floor.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

Pleasant Gap mine runs two shifts underground with around 20 miners per shift

Inside each node are off-the-shelf components including a receiver, transmitter, antenna duplexer, power converter, and battery backup system in case of a power outage. An external blue strobe light confirms continuity of electric power. The node system is connected in turn to a UHF repeater on the surface.

An important feature of this design is that the receive signal from each node and the surface repeater is sent to a voting system on the surface. Since more than one node can receive the same signal from a miner‘s radio, the voting system selects the strongest signal automatically and sends it out over the surface repeater and back down into the mine for all nodes to repeat simultaneously. Cont.../


The Pleasant Gap limestone mine and associated processing plant in north central Pennsylvania is the most modern in the north eastern US, incorporating a highly efficient emissions scrubbing system along with electricity generated from waste heat.

All underground staff, and many of their colleagues above ground, are issued with hand-held radios. These are not only vital to maximising mine productivity, but also in complying with safety regulations that require a miner working underground to be in constant visual or audible contact with another person at all times. In the event of an emergency, warning modules with flashing lights and sirens are supplemented by an automatic voice message over the radio system that is generated by a Zetron SentriVoice system. ―If a miner is looking straight ahead, drilling a limestone face, he cannot see the evacuation module behind him,‖ says a Graymont spokesman. ―Plus, he‘s in an enclosed cab so he can‘t hear the siren or see the flashing light. But the miner has a radio in his cab. When an evacuation module goes off he gets a siren on the radio and a voice message saying ‗evacuate the mine, evacuate the mine‘.‖

New Senior VP at Tidewater Jeffrey Gorski has joined Tidewater as a Senior Vice President. He will be r e sponsible for the company‘s operations in the United States as well as its engineering and technical services group. Mr. Gorski has over 25 years of domestic and international experience within the oil and gas industry. Tidewater Inc. owns 354 vessels, the world's largest fleet of vessels serving the global offshore energy industry.

After the SentriVoice proved invaluable to the mine radio warning system, Graymont decided to deploy the same system to warn of equipment failure. It later added further Zetron technology in the form of a monitoring system that uses the radio network to enable above ground staff to keep a watch on water levels at remote locations. Weekly tests of the radio system and the SentriVoice are a standard operating procedure at the Pleasant Gap Mine and in every case, the radio system has performed flawlessly. When a heavy vehicle caught fire underground, the SentriVoice system was used for real. Within seconds, the SentriVoice sent out a voice alarm and the mine was quickly and safely evacuated. ―If you asked me what single thing did we do for this mine in terms of safety that stood out above the rest, it would have to be the radio system,‖ said a Graymont spokesman. ―Plus with the Zetron SentriVoice we can tie things such as our warning modules into the radio system.‖

Inmarsat XpressLink on 100 Vessels Inmarsat announced that Frontline, a company in the international seaborne transportation of crude oil, has committed to Inmarsat XpressLink for more than 100 vessels from its existing fleet and its planned new builds. "With XpressLink's internet and voice services, communications onboard the vessel will be greatly enhanced, supporting operations and improving overall efficiency. It also allows the crew to stay in touch with family and friends, and handle their personal affairs, at a very low cost, which has been an important issue for Frontline," said Kjell S. Langva of Frontline Management AS.

OffComm News is the magazine for remote communications exploration. Read the digital edition FREE online at To get it in print see page 16 Satellite Comms, Infrastructure, Security, Safety Calls, VoIP, Operational Excellence, Sub Sea Networks, Accommodation Barges, Infotainment, Supply Vessels, Wireless Connectivity, Fibre, VSAT and more... OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


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OffComm News Essential quarterly insight for the remote communications industry OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Disaster Communications Terminals Deployed in South Sudan SES S.A. and its partners in reported that the communication service has been deployed in full operational field service for the first time. has been installed in Bentiu and Maban (South Sudan) by a team comprised of Luxembourg Civil Protection, the UN WFP (World Food Programme) and the Ericsson Response Team. It is a rapid communications solution for global disaster relief and humanitarian missions, developed and implemented as a public-private partnership by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg in collaboration with a consortium of Luxembourg companies and organisations: SES TechCom, Hitec and Luxembourg Air Rescue. It is designed to help the humanitarian and civil protection community in the field to (re-) establish telecommunication

services and support effective communication and coordination of first responders. The service can be deployed anywhere in the world within hours of a natural catastrophe or man-made crisis. It consists of satellite infrastructure and capacity, communication and coordination services, and satellite ground terminals as well as transportation of equipment to disaster areas all over the world. The communication terminals deployed in South Sudan provide vital connectivity for ongoing humanitarian operations of the United Nations. In addition to the infrastructure already operational in Bentiu and Maban, another communication terminal will be deployed in the town of Renk in the coming weeks.

Southern Sudan Putting Communications on to the Map

SAT Telecom Launching in South Sudan AITCO, a subsidiary of Sat Telecom, is obtaining licenses by the government of South Sudan to provide a number of key telecommunication and information technology services: VSAT hub and services provision, an internet service provision (ISP), wireless internet service provision (WISP), data service provider and data centre services in South Sudan (Juba), according to a statement issued by the company. "We are pushing full throttle to get things up and running as quickly as possible. We want to be an effective and positive contributor to the economy and people of South Sudan," said Mohammed Al Awamleh, founder and CEO of AITCO. "We believe that South Sudan has a lot of potential to develop into a leading African economy and we would like to be a partner in this vision."

SAT Telecom's engineers are on the ground setting up AITCO's infrastructure and expect to start offering services in the first quarter of 2012. Once the hub station has been completed satellite coverage will extend to East, West and North Africa, in addition to its current footprint over the Middle East. Inside South Sudan, AITCO will provide wireless internet and data services using a mix of WiMAX and metropolitan WiFi, and provide point-to-point data connectivity over its infrastructure. Supplementing its connectivity solutions will be AITCO's data centre. AITCO Awamleh Investment and Telecom Company

OffComm News magazine is proud to support the African Children’s Book Project, a not for profit organisation set up by an offshore worker who wanted to give something back. All companies advertising in OffComm News have the option to allocate 2% of the total spend to ACBP. Simply request this when booking your space. If you feel like making a separate donation please visit Thank you OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


The Legal Maze of Cloud Computing An Introduction for Remote Platform Operators and the Oil & Gas Industry by Greg Mason

Cloud computing is being touted by many IT and industry experts as the new smart way to reduce costs, streamline operations and manage systems. In fact, the global Cloud market is currently estimated to be worth around $68 billion – and, in the UK, the market is projected to double between now and 2014 (Columbus 2011). For suppliers it's a dynamic and fast growth sector where it is vital to win mindshare and identify new opportunities. That enthusiasm is often contagious and, potentially dangerous; leading companies to adopt the technology without considering all the potential IT and legal consequences of their decision.

Companies need to stop seeing cloud computing as a panacea. While it can solve many pressing IT and cost issues that companies face today, it can also create a whole new set of issues to deal with.

Defining Cloud Computing Before making these decisions, perhaps we should actually define what cloud computing is. Cloud computing is a collective name for services, software and applications that are provided over the internet, usually by third parties. Any individual or organisation with an internet connection can access cloud based services and can use it to share information across multiple locations. Chances are you‘ll use a cloud based application today without even realising it.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

Examples of cloud computing include online data backup services, remote storage facilities, social network sites and some of the most commonly used applications in today‘s digital office including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software such as Google Docs. Companies can also run much higher-end software suites, such as Microsoft Office, Exchange, SAP and Oracle databases from the cloud. Cont.../


For oil rig managers, and more specifically the oil and gas companies they work for, cloud computing potentially brings cost-saving benefits that are particularly important at a time of economic uncertainty. This is because it lets companies manage data and run applications without the large amount of investment traditionally required in hardware, software and IT staff. At its best, cloud computing can also provide guarantees of data and application availability – allowing companies to focus on their core competencies and not put so much time and effort into maintaining their IT infrastructure. In this economic climate, and with oil and gas companies looking to maintain margins, that‘s got to be a good thing.

Top Tips For Successful Cloud Computing For cloud computing to work in the oil and gas sector, it ideally needs to be implemented at a corporate level, rather than by the managers of individual platforms and locations. This is because most of the major benefits of cloud based computing come from the ability to centralise applications and software within a pool of centrally located ‗smart‘ servers and allowing access to them from any remote location, provided you have the correct user privileges. If each oil rig or remote platform had an independent cloud based computing system, it would negate many of the cost saving advantages that have been previously outlined.

However, it is still vital that platform managers, and any of their staff with an IT role, understand the potential legal problems that can occur so that they can monitor, supervise and advise on the cloud computing usage that takes place in their location – and provide intelligent, informed feedback to their CIOs or CTOs. It‘s also worth taking the time to understand some of these issues as, in some territories, individuals can be held personally responsible for data protection breaches (which can carry hefty fines) and, worse, potentially be found criminally liable. Ignorance is not, unfortunately, a defence.

Location, Location, Location Data storage location is often the last thing a company looks at when considering a cloud service provider. But it should be one of the first. Cloud based working often necessitates placing company data on third party servers in data warehouses that could be located anywhere in the world. This is the main area in which oil and gas companies can potentially come into conflict with local laws – even if data is generated on remote platforms in international waters or in countries with little or no data protection law enforcement. Companies do need to think about the different jurisdictions in which their oil and gas platforms are located and operate – but have to remember that data protection laws and rights are applied in the territory in which the data is stored, rather than where it‘s generated or modified. Cont.../

Considerations that can help decide if using cloud based services is the right decision

What is the originating jurisdiction of the data? What type of data will be stored on the cloud?  What is the location of the provider‘s data centre?  Does the customer have any control over where that data will be stored? Are the provider‘s systems and processes documented? Who is running the critical infrastructure and from where?  What are the details of the Service Level Agreement, in particular regarding backups, possible replication and average availability of data?

Does the provider cover any losses?  Are there migration assistance measures in place if, for example, you need to move your data to another provider or back to your own systems?

Can you regain control of your data without leaving behind copies or metadata? What are the provider‘s data retention and destruction policies? OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Ignorance is not a defence

Calling It Off

For example, if a French oil and gas company (which is subject to French data protection laws) takes out a service contract with a cloud provider that centrally stores its email data in the US, the company makes itself vulnerable to breaking both French and US laws in the event of US litigation or investigation – even if that data was created or modified offshore or outside the US or France. The company may wish to comply with a US discovery request, or government subpoena, but will need to resolve the conflict that creates with stringent French data protection and other laws which preclude the transmittal of data outside of France. And the penalties on both sides can be very high – data protection breaches carry fines in the millions as well as criminal sanctions in some countries, and the failure or inability to respond to US discovery risks penalties or even spoliation fines which can be significantly higher.

Companies should also find out how easy it is to stop their cloud service provider from backing up data, and how quickly this process can be initiated – this is essential in some instances, when companies have been subpoenaed by a government body to limit exposure to follow on litigation and possible future civil cases.

FRA recommends centralising cloud based applications and associated data in the same location as your HQ to keep everything as simple as possible – or in a country with data protection laws that you are most comfortable with.

Maintaining Control Of Your Data Check, before you sign any agreements with your cloud service provider, where your data will be stored and if you can request for it to be housed in specified locations. You should also find out where your provider backs up copies of your data (they all make copies of client data to maintain 24/7 access and to offer service level guarantees). Again, ask for the backups they make of your data to be stored in the same location you specified for your original data and applications. FRA strongly recommends that high-risk data – such as financial, corporate and personnel related data is always housed in its jurisdiction of origin or one that carries similar protections.

In addition, those signing up for cloud computing applications on behalf of their companies should ask their provider how quickly they can get their data back and how easy is it to switch back to accessing that data using a traditional computing model, without causing disruption to the businesses. There may be unforeseen legal, corporate and IT issues in the future that make a quick change back to a traditional computing model an urgent priority. Companies need to stop seeing cloud computing as a panacea – it can solve many pressing IT and cost issues that companies face today, but it can also create a whole new set of issues to deal with. Being wise at the start of the cloud computing adoption process is key, as is knowing which questions to ask, and which considerations to act on. Questioning data storage location and the potential for legal conflicts is an eminently sensible place to start and will definitely save companies a great deal of pain in the long term.

About the Author Greg Mason is a partner at FRA. His expertise lies in database architecture, database programming and software design, mass data analysis and data mining for the purposes of disputes and litigation.

Emails are often highly sensitive in EU jurisdictions and carry strong data privacy rights which makes transmitting or producing them outside of their jurisdiction of origin, not just risky, but potentially illegal. So, if you can‘t get a location-based guarantee from your cloud provider then think very carefully about that data and applications you put into a cloud computing environment—and carry out a full risk assessment.

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Satellite Comms, Infrastructure, Security, Safety Calls, VoIP, Operational Excellence, Sub Sea Networks, Accommodation Barges, Infotainment, Supply Vessels, Wireless Connectivity, Fibre, VSAT and more... OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


More Remote Locations and Deeper Waters How Satellite Delivers Offshore Connectivity for Oil & Gas Companies by Christian Bergan Oil companies are utilizing a number of advanced applications which require far greater data services to support the information coming from offshore rigs, support vessels and field exploration activities. As these efforts push into more remote locations and deeper waters they move well beyond the reach of existing communications infrastructure.

The connectivity requirements at oil and gas sites are growing and will continue to expand over the next five years. In addition to basic voice and data communications access, oil and gas companies demand more bandwidth to support real-time applications that improve productivity, security and crew welfare.

Integrated Exploration and Production Operations

Many oil and gas companies are turning to satellite communications to keep offshore sites connected and advance core operations. Recent improvements in IPbased broadband satellite communications allow these companies to extend the reach of corporate networks seamlessly to offshore rigs and support two-way communications.

To stay connected to their operations around the globe, oil and gas companies require greater integration between remote exploration and production sites and corporate offices. By providing reliable voice, data, and video access, VSAT networks support real-time information exchange between infield operations and experts back at headquarters.

Increasingly, oil and gas companies also rely on satellite to support a variety of new applications. Here, we take a look at just some of the ways that satellite technology is keeping oil and gas companies connected.

Whether its 3D geospacial modeling or collecting seismic or geologic data, the result is faster, more accurate analysis of exploration and drilling data that optimizes production and contains costs.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

Cont‌/ 21

With exploration and production activities in the oil and gas industry reaching an all time high, companies have expanded their operations. Improved Productivity and Collaboration IP-based broadband satellite enables oil and gas companies to affordably run a variety of bandwidthintensive applications that enhance productivity and improve collaboration – whether that is sending live video feeds from an oil rig or streaming it from the ocean floor (through a remotely operated vehicle); or equipping exploration vessels, workboats, tankers, OSVs, production platforms and remote drilling sites with full corporate network access. Further, satellite connectivity has opened up new opportunities to automate operations and manage them more efficiently from afar.

Enhanced Safety and Security Oil and gas companies can rely on always-on, highspeed broadband to enable real-time access to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) information while simultaneously supporting higher bandwidth applications such as video surveillance at remote locations to monitor operations and assess damage to critical assets when it occurs. In addition, advanced data encryption keeps SCADA and other information sent over the network secure.

Enriched crew Welfare Beyond rig operations, the demand for increased bandwidth can also be seen in a new generation of crew. These individuals are accustomed to instant and ubiquitous connectivity. Web surfing, emails and texts are part of their daily life and even more necessary during long stretches away from home. Satellite networks can also be used for telemedicine, providing a link to medical staff from any location.

Satellite networks have become an indispensable part of how energy companies explore and produce the minerals, oil & gas that keep the world running. The Future of Satellite With their ability to support multiple diverse applications and improve connectivity and productivity, satellite networks have become an indispensable part of how oil and gas companies explore and produce the minerals, oil, and gas that keep the world running. Moving forward, as oil and gas companies continue to invest in new and groundbreaking methods of excavation and energy production, satellite IP communications will be there to meet the communications and connectivity requirements of this market. About the author Christian Bergan is director of the energy and utility markets at iDirect. He is responsible for market strategy, working closely with iDirect’s global network of service providers to promote the value of VSAT technology throughout the industry.

Siem Offshore 3 Year Satellite Contract for Brazil Fleet

Harris Caprock will deliver turnkey Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) communications to five of Siem Offshore‘s supply vessels located offshore in Brazil. Harris CapRock‘s SeaAccess solution will enable Siem to extend its corporate IT network and applications to its vessels. Siem Offshore Inc. is an owner and operator of modern support vessels for the global oil and gas service industry. End-to-end VSAT communications will enable corporate networking, internet access, Voice over IP, real-time monitoring and reporting ~ and crew morale services.

OffComm News ~ Spring 2012

Harris CapRock‘s SeaAccess Communications™ solution, is designed for the commercial maritime market

Turnkey communications solution to be managed onboard five vessels

Contract will deliver corporate networking, internet access, Voice over IP, real-time monitoring and reporting, as well as crew morale services


OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Satellite Communications Sub sea fibre networks The Connectivity Challenge


Operational Excellence

Remote Communications Exploration VoIP

OffComm News Accommodation Barges


Supply & Support Vessels


Wireless Connectivity

Infotainment Systems OffComm News ~ Spring 2012


Spring 2012  

The magazine about remote communciations exploration