Submarine Telecoms Forum Issue #96

Page 1


September 2017



September 2017



Exordium By Wayne Nielsen




SubTel Forum Readership Statistics


News Now


A Recovering Market – Offshore Energy Outlook By Kieran Clark


Subsea Fiber Cables - the Enabler of Digitalization of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry By Trygve Hagevik


High Speed Data and Voice for Offshore Oil & Gas Facilities By Charles Foreman


China Cyber Rules Alert By Kent Bressie


Crossing the Cultural Divide to the Offshore Oil and Gas Sector By Greg Stoner, Steve Arsenault and Paul Kravis


Temperature Monitoring of Subsea Power Cables by Use of Optical Fibres As Sensors By Sverre Myren


The Efficiency Task Force By Digital Energy Journal


Applying Telecoms Lessons Learned to Renewable Energy and Power Markets By Andrew Lloyd


Back Reflection: Cable Factory to the Beach By José Chesnoy


From the Conference Director By Christopher Noyes


Advertiser’s Corner By Kristian Nielsen




Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc.





STF Analytics


Submarine Cable Almanac


SubTel Forum Industry Report – 2017/18 Edition


Huawei Marine


SubOptic 2019 Conference


WFN Strategies


OilComm 2017


Undersea Fiber Communication Systems, 2nd Edition


SubTel Forum Cables of the World Map – 2018 Edition



elcome to Issue 96, our Offshore Energy edition. I never much liked Houston. I grew up knowing from afar the Texan brashness of big hats and hairdos, big cars, big talk. My grandma’s sister, Aunt Betty, married a Texan and lived in Dallas, and when she would visit us in Chicago, talked with a twang using words in ways I had never heard before. When I started working various submarine projects in the town in 2002 my attitude didn’t really change all that much. Texans are an interesting bunch, and their outlook often stems from their “Republic” pedigree, when they fought alone and stood apart from the rest of us a couple of centuries ago. My attitude towards Texas changed in September 2005 when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf of Mexico into New Orleans. I was in Houston days after for project and client meetings. By then we had a growingly clear view of the devastation and how people were being shipped from NOLA to almost anywhere. While I was there something extraordinary happened - Houston selflessly opened its doors. So, I extended my stay and against the advice of a local colleague, drove over to the George Brown Convention Center to offer my help. 4

That week the Baptists oversaw relief efforts at the Center. Apparently, local authorities had determined that they would need help beyond the usual Federal, State and Local assets, and had asked Houston area churches to support. And they did so in a big Texan way. So, there I was at the Center where I am handed a yellow tee shirt with the words on front emblazoned, “Operation Compassion,” watched a quick relief video, and was then told quietly to be careful as people are tired and scared and desperate. I’m first put on a table where I organize clothes of all sizes and types. Then I am sent to the loading dock where a few of us unload quickly small trucks filled with water, diapers, whatever. A lady pulls up in her van and in the back, are twenty or so strollers that she has delivered from her store nearby. No paper, no signature. She’s off quickly. A tall, reverential man comes over and asks if I want to help him distribute the strollers, and I say yes, and we leave, me following him into the large convention hall which is packed with hundreds of cots and thousands of people. We walk the long, tight spaces handing out strollers one at a time. A woman accepts one and tells us that she has been holding her grandchild

for three days. Right off the bus, we help an older gentleman named Robert Johnson down the escalator, who then says how he awoke in the middle of the night when the flood water engulfed his bed and he nearly drowned. We do this for a couple of hours or so. The Pastor asks me where I’m from and I say, Virginia, and if I’m a Baptist, and I say no, Lutheran. He wonders why I’m there, and I say, Because…

My attitudes towards Texas and Houston changed that week. I had never seen such outpouring for so many by so many. Organizations and just people stepped up for thousands in need from NOLA. So, now the table has turned. They in Houston are those most in need. I was sending out the usual email reminders to this issue’s various authors when one responded within moments that he was in the middle

of planning an evacuation. Like an idiot I hadn’t considered that he was in Houston; he informed me a couple of days later that his home had indeed been flooded and that he and his family were now staying in a colleague’s 7th floor apartment. The state of Texas and city of Houston are reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. The impact will be felt for years. The extent of flooding has been unimaginable, which is why we ask you, our readers, to join with us and donate to Harvey relief efforts. For our part, SubTel Forum is supporting the American Red Cross, which is working around the clock to help the thousands of impacted people. There are plenty of other great charities to support – pick one. I still wear that yellow tee shirt on occasion. Not as a source of pride, but as a subtle reminder of what good people that come together can selflessly do for others. Viva Houston.


Conferences OilComm’17

6-7 December 2017 Houston, TX USA Website link


21–24 January 2018 Honolulu, HI, USA Website link

ICPC 2018 Plenary

10-12 April 2018 Cape Town, South Africa Website link

SubOptic 2019 8-11 April 2019 New Orleans, Louisiana USA Website link

Voice of the


Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. 21495 Ridgetop Circle, Suite 201 Sterling, Virginia 20166, USA Tel: [+1] 703.444.0845 Fax: [+1] 703.349.5562 ISSN No. 1948-3031


VICE PRESIDENT: Kristian Nielsen |

SUBOPTIC 2019 CONFERENCE DIRECTOR: Christopher Noyes | LEAD ANALYST: Kieran Clark |

JOURNALIST & COPY EDITOR: Stephen Nielsen | LAYOUT & DESIGN: Allegra Printing

FEATURE WRITERS: José Chesnoy, Kieran Clark, Kristian Nielsen, Wayne Nielsen, Christopher Noyes CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS: Steve Arsenault, Kent Bressie, Digital Energy Journal, Charles Foreman, Trygve Hagevik, Paul Kravis, Andrew Lloyd, Sverre Myren, Greg Stoner NEXT ISSUE: November 2017 – System Upgrades & New Technology Contributions are welcomed, and should be forwarded to

Submarine Telecoms Forum magazine is published bimonthly by Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc., and is an independent commercial publication, serving as a freely accessible forum for professionals in industries connected with submarine optical fiber technologies and techniques. Submarine Telecoms Forum may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publishers.

Liability: While every care is taken in preparation of this publication, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any errors which may occur in advertising or editorial content, or any consequence arising from any errors or omissions, and the editor reserves the right to edit any advertising or editorial material submitted for publication. Copyright © 2017 Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc.



5,312,776 Web Traffic

WEB TRAFFIC - UNIQUE VISITS Web Traffic Web Traffic - Hits Web Traffic - Unique Visits

Jan-17 797,319 88,566

Feb-17 405,904 87,896

Mar-17 697,859 95,269

Apr-17 689,251 85,265

Web Traffic - Hits Web Traffic - Unique Visits

May-17 Aug-17 MagazineJun-17 DownloadsJul-17 721,547 715,256 615,327 Issue 93 670,313 Mar-17 88,594 87,563 92,291 Issue 94 92,367 May-17

Magazine Downloads Issue 93 Issue 94 Issue 95

Mar-17 May-17 Jul-17

69,632 72,693 62,395

Issue 21 Issue 22 Issue 23

Feb-17 May-17 Aug-17

510,519 589,621 475,025

Almanac Downloads

Jan-17 797,319 88,566

Issue 95


Issue 21 Issue 22 Issue 23

Feb-17 May-17 Aug-17

Feb-17 405,904 87,896

Mar-17 697,859 95,269

Apr-17 689,251 85,265

69,632Web Hits Annual Total 72,693Avg Monthly 62,395

May-17 721,547 88,594

Jun-17 715,256 87,563

Jul-17 615,327 92,291

Aug-17 670,313 92,367

Web Hits Ann Avg Monthly

5,312,776 89,726

Almanac Downloads 510,519 589,621 475,025





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NEWS NOW CABLE FAULTS »» Pakistan Suffers Rs1bn Loss Due To Submarine Cable Fault – August 11, 2017 »» E-Marine Restores EASSy Connectivity – August 14, 2017

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»» Australia-to-Asia Traffic Slows As Typhoons Cut Submarine Cables – September 6, 2017 CURRENT SYSTEMS

»» Infinera Deploys XTS-3300 Meshponders on Seabras-1 Cable – September 12, 2017 »» Huawei, BTL Complete New Belize System – July 21, 2017

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»» Hawaiian Telcom Announces Completion of SEAUS Cable – August 11, 2017 »» SEA-ME-WE 5 Goes Live In Bangladesh on Sunday – September 7, 2017

»» Seabras-1 Ready For Service – September 8, 2017


Submit Press Release

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»» Equinix to Expand Into Spain and Portugal Through Acquisition of Itconic – September 11, 2017

»» Megaport Expands Multicloud Capabilities In Singapore – September 12, 2017 FUTURE SYSTEMS

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»» Australia ‘Tells Solomons To Drop Cable Project’ After Huawei Gets Deal – July 26, 2017

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY »» Submarine Internet Reduces Unemployment Across Africa – July 26, 2017

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»» Abu Dhabi Investment Group To Acquire Fiber Prime Telecommunications – August 11, 2017

»» Southern Cross NEXT Will Be Fastest Cable Between US And APAC – August 14, 2017

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»» Solomons Government ‘Committed’ To Huawei Cable Despite ‘Concerns’ – August 11, 2017 »» Midgardsormen Urges Public Funding – August 14, 2017

»» Antel Inaugurates Uruguay Section of Monet – August 22, 2017

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»» Ireland-France Subsea Cable Announces Fergus Innes as Managing Director – August 31, 2017 SUBOPTIC

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»» Almanac Issue 23 Available Now – August 25, 2017

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»» Hengtong Marine Completes Repeatered Sea Trials With Huawei Marine – July 21, 2017

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»» Xtera Awarded $43 Million Guantánamo Bay Cable 2 Project – August 29, 2017 »» IOX Cable Announces Plans To Connect La Reunion – September 7, 2017 HURRICANE HARVEY


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»» Hengtong Marine Completes Un-Repeatered Sea Trials With SBSS – July 21, 2017

»» Spark Completes Cook Strait Inter-Island Cable Link – July 27, 2017 »» Telefonica Upgrades SAM-1 – August 14, 2017 »» AT&T Completes 400 Gb Ethernet Testing – September 12, 2017

»» Vodafone New Zealand First To Deploy 400G System – September 12, 2017




ince last year’s Offshore Energy issue, there has been a 5 percent increase in planned systems for 2017-2020. This is an improvement compared to last year’s 10 percent drop in planned systems. Oil prices have stabilized since the last major crash, and are continuing to improve — a sign of recovery for the offshore energy industry. Overall, the industry is still working to recover from the massive depression of oil prices since their last peak in 2014. While traditional offshore oil and gas platforms have struggled to find


their footing again, there is potential growth for fiber systems in the renewables market — specifically offshore wind farms. While demand in this arena is still not at the level of even a muted oil and gas industry, any new opportunities for submarine fiber systems should be welcomed with open arms. Welcome to SubTel Forum’s annual Offshore Energy issue. This month, we’ll take a look at the market for submarine fiber in the world of offshore energy platforms. The data used in this article is ob-

tained from the public domain and is tracked by the ever evolving STF Analytics database, where products like the Almanac, Cable Map, Online Cable Map and Industry Report find their roots.


For last year’s Offshore Energy issue, 3 systems were planned to be ready for service here in 2017. There were 4 more systems were planned for 2018, 10 systems planned for 2019 and no systems planned yet for 2020. After a year’s time, these numbers have shuffled

slightly. The change in planned systems count has resulted in 2 systems being implemented this year, 4 systems planned for 2018, 9 systems planned for 2019 and 3 systems planned for 2020. There are even a handful of systems planned for 2021-2022, though they are currently in the extremely early development stages. With new systems ultimately being tied to the price of oil, these numbers are subject to change based on the whim of the markets. If oil prices remain low, expect more systems to be delayed or die out. However, if the recent price increases indicate a new trend, system builds can be expected to increase.


Looking at the average quarterly price of a barrel of oil — via the West Texas Intermediate benchmark — oil prices reached their peak between 2013 and the first half of 2014. Prices soared to over $105 per barrel during this time. After that, prices sharply declined and finally bottomed out at just over $33 per barrel in Q1 2016. This steep decline — which started in the latter half of 2014 — is the primary reason 2015 saw no new systems implemented. Many systems either died outright or were pushed back to 2019 and beyond. The offshore energy industry is still reeling from this rapid price decline, and growth has continued at a muted pace as a result. While 2019 is currently predicted to have a huge spike in system activity, it is unclear whether oil prices and energy demand have recovered enough to support such an optimistic outlook. On the other hand, offshore renewables — specifically offshore wind farms — continue to increase in popularity across the globe, particularly in Europe. According to an article in YaleEnvironment360 the European Union saw an investment of $15.5 billion for offshore renewables investment in the first half


of 2016 alone. This section of the offshore energy industry is still nowhere near the established oil and gas market, but it is worth keeping an eye on for the future as more and more countries around the globe look to shift away from fossil fuels.


With a cautious outlook for the next 4 years, the length of cable added annually follows a similar trend

compared to last year’s data, including the massive uptick in 2019. A 2,500-kilometer spike is observed in 2016 thanks to a single 2,000-kilometer system in the AustralAsia region while 2017 and 2018 show more moderate growth. An addition of 700 kilometers is projected for 2017, 450 kilometers for 2018, and a large jump of nearly 4,000 kilometers for 2019. So far, 2020 shows no increase as all the proposed projects have yet to announce a system

length. If the price of oil continues current trends, expect these numbers to remain steady or slightly increase. From a regional perspective, the Gulf of Mexico and AustralAsia regions will be the busiest over the next several years. The two regions combined are set to account for 56 percent of all planned system activity for 2017-2020. West Africa will see a total of 2 new systems, with most of the remaining regions of the world seeing only a single new system in their future. These numbers closely parallel those of a year ago, and follow trends in the general oil and gas industry. While the offshore energy industry at large has slowed down in recent years, the Gulf of Mexico and AustralAsia regions continue to see high levels of expansion. It is this growth that drives these regions to the top of the pile with regards to new system activity, and should continue to do so over the next few years.

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This time last year, the total estimated cost of systems planned for 2017-2020 was just over $1 billion. One year later that number has increased to $1.27 billion. Over $600 million of this planned investment is in 2019 alone. This is largely the result of multiple system delays pushing systems planned for 2016-2018 into 2019 — especially the large and expensive systems in Africa. Despite the number of systems planned per region, the Gulf of Mexico and AustralAsia regions make up only a small portion of that $1.27 billion investment. They account for 11.5 percent and 12 percent of total investment, respectively. The West African region — which will see only 2 new systems over the next 4 years — will end up accounting for 42 percent of total system investment at a value of $533 million. This is a sizeable increase from last year’s estimate of $383 million. While the number of proposed systems in the region is low, West Africa is expected to see 3,500 kilometers of cable added in 2019. This number

accounts for over 40 percent of all planned cable and is one of the primary reasons for such a large dollar investment in the region, the other being political instability known to plague the region. Most of the other regions that only have a single system planned naturally have much lower projections, but combine for a total of $437 million. Notably, the Mediterranean and North American regions show no activity planned through

2020, though there is talk of a North American system beyond 2020.


Dedicated systems are those built primarily by 1 or more Oil & Gas companies to serve their specific offshore facility’s needs. Managed systems are those built by a Telecom service provider to 1 or more Oil & Gas companies’ offshore facilities. A year ago, 71 percent of systems planned for 2016-2019 were ded-

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icated, with 29 percent being managed. This year, that split has moved even more in favor of dedicated systems. As of now, 81 percent of all planned systems for 2017-2020 will be dedicated. This trend towards dedicated systems should continue to increase, as all systems planned so far for 2020 and beyond will be dedicated systems. As companies push further out and explore new areas for drilling, they can rely less and less on existing systems managed by telecom providers. With most of the heavy growth in offshore energy happening in previously untapped areas, expect the prevalence of dedicated systems to continue. In addition, similar to the trend of Over the Top service providers in the general submarine fiber market moving towards cable ownership, offshore energy companies are looking to outright own their telecoms infrastructure. This can potentially provide much better flexibility and much better control of overhead costs.


While oil prices are still significantly below those of the last 2014 peak, they have recovered significantly from the bottom out point in


Q1 2016. The market has seemingly adjusted to this new normal, with prices having remained within the $40-$50 range for some time now. Unfortunately, there still seems to be some concern over a continued supply glut as several countries have indicated a desire to increase production. Additionally, OPEC members have been unable to agree on production caps, or have at least had problems adhering to such agreements. Moreover, weak global economies have led to a further reduction in energy demand. There seems to be little indication the supply erosion that market analysts have insisted is coming will start any time soon. Ultimately, outlook for this aspect of the submarine fiber industry remains almost entirely unchanged from a year ago. The rapid decline of oil prices since 2014 is still affecting the industry at large. There has been little change in total planned investment, however more of that money has continued to be pushed to later timeframes than initially expected. This part of the submarine fiber industry lives and dies by the price of oil, and as long as it remains at this new normal the growth will continue to be muted.

However, there is potentially a light at the end of the tunnel in that new systems for 2021-2022 are already being talked about. This time last year, there was not even a hint of new systems past 2019, so these more forward-looking plans are encouraging. Additionally, as in the general submarine fiber market, traditional dynamics are being up-ended. The rise in popularity of offshore wind farms could provide new avenues for growth alongside those of the traditional offshore energy platforms. So, while the offshore energy industry may not return to the peak of 2013-2014 in the near future there are plenty of potential opportunities for growth.

Kieran Clark is an Analyst for Submarine Telecoms Forum. He joined the company in 2013 as a Broadcast Technician to provide support for live event video streaming. In 2014, Kieran was promoted to Analyst and is currently responsible for the research and maintenance that supports the SubTel Forum International Submarine Cable Database; his analysis is featured in almost the entire array of SubTel Forum publications. He has 4+ years of live production experience and has worked alongside some of the premier organizations in video web streaming.

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any industry experts will argue that the offshore industry is lagging behind many comparable shorebased industries in terms of adoption of new technologies, implementation of Internet of Things applications and general digitalization processes. Whereas some may argue that this is mainly due to a conservative industry and a prevalent “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” type of attitude, one cannot ignore the IT and telecommunication challenges faced by the offshore players as a consequence of the remoteness and harshness of the environment in which they operate. Telecommunication is challenging for the offshore installations, and the prolonged period of high oil prices

up until three years ago has not been conducive to focusing on cost reductions and finding new and smarter ways of working. The offshore industry’s digital transformation is seemingly going to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It is a conservative business where the adoption of new technologies and ways of working requires a certain fruition period – often prolonged by the necessary and stringent quality and safety policies. This is especially true if telecommunications is seen as a supporting function rather than an essential enabler for better ways of working. That said, developments in technologies such as cloud services, social media and

big data and analytics are driving trends that have tremendous potential for Oil and Gas. Cloud computing can improve business agility by breaking down silos of corporate business functions. Big data and analytics can help with innovation by supporting companies in gathering and interpreting large quantities of data from a variety of sources, enabling real-time decision making. Mobile technology enables new business scenarios, while various types of collaboration applications and even social media enhance relationships between various departments, suppliers and contractors - by making these connections quick, di-

The major benefits of this integration include workflow improvements from better group communication, increased worker productivity and better recording of field data. Mobile technology also allows for realtime data monitoring via specialized software on smartphones, and can have a positive impact on health, safety and the environment (HSE). rect and cost effective. The falling cost of sensors and the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will vastly increase the volumes of data that companies generate and are able to access. Combining these technologies in innovative ways could magnify their capabilities exponentially, far beyond their effectiveness if deployed separately. Cheap sensors, new wireless technologies and growing computing power are driving the increase in data collected by Oil and Gas companies. Modern offshore drilling platforms have thousands of sensors that generate huge amounts of data during the lifetime of an asset. In order to make full use of the data from these sensors, data has to be harnessed, collected and brought to decision makers and analysts spread across the globe for further analysis to form the basis of informed and improved decision making. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has broken down the barri-

ers between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT). This means data generated by machines can be analyzed for knowledge that can drive improvements in design and execution, and lead to smarter, faster decision-making. IIoT also enables machine-to-machine communications, enabling autonomy and artificial intelligence applications. For the upstream category, IIoT can help with optimization by providing new operational insights from analysis of diverse sets of operational data (such as drilling parameters) and cross-disciplinary data (such as geological models). Where possible, Oil and gas companies have invested heavily in fully integrating mobile devices into everyday operations onshore. The major benefits of this integration include workflow improvements from better group communication, increased worker productivity and better recording of field data. Mobile technology also allows for re-

al-time data monitoring via specialized software on smartphones, and can have a positive impact on health, safety and the environment (HSE). Companies have improved employee safety by using smartphone GPS coordinates to track workers in hazardous situations. Deploying mobile applications in combination with radio-frequency identification tags is making assets smart and their movements visible.


The offshore industry has somewhat unfairly been labelled as laggards in digitalization compared to other industries. However, before passing judgment one has to look at the environment where the communication, collaboration, data collection and digitalization has to take place and what forms of communication that have been available in these areas and environments.

Tampnet North Sea Infrastructure 17

subsea optical fibre network in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The network reliably serves over 240 offshore assets such as production platforms, FPSOs, exploration rigs and vessels. Reliable, highspeed, low latency network services are the primary goals of their network, which includes 2,500km of submarine fiber optic cables. In the Gulf of Mexico Tampnet has entered into an exclusive contract with BP for access and utilization of their 1200km for subsea fiber through the Deepwater region of the Gulf, stretching from Freeport, Texas to Pascagoula in Mississippi. On its way, it passes through 14 fully

The introduction of subsea fiber optic telecommunication infrastructure to offshore platforms, in regions such as the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Deepwater region of the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Thailand, Brazil, Newfoundland and the Northwest Shelf of Australia has been a tremendous and crucial step towards providing high-capacity, low-latency and very reliable telecommunications infrastructure and services for fields in remote and harsh areas. Offshore typically means far away from the beach – ie where what is regarded as normal and readily available IT and telecommunication infrastructure to on-shore industry has been non-existent. The majority of offshore platforms, rigs and vessels still rely on VSAT connectivity for their communication needs. Although the use of VSAT has increased and improved over the last 10-15-year period, users are still faced with the inevitable limitations of VSAT; high latency, sensitivity to weather phenomenon, limitations of bandwidth and relatively large cost and footprint of equipment. The introduction of low-orbit satellite services in certain geographic regions offers ways of reducing latency, and increasing bandwidth, but the other limitations remain the same – if not greater. Low orbit VSATs typically use frequency bands not compatible with heavy rain, for


example, and need expensive and fault-prone multiple tracking antenna systems to work. The introduction of subsea fiber optic telecommunication infrastructure to offshore platforms, in regions such as the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Deepwater region of the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Thailand, Brazil, Newfoundland and the Northwest Shelf of Australia has been a tremendous and crucial step towards providing high-capacity, low-latency and very reliable telecommunications infrastructure and services for fields in remote and harsh areas. Also, subsea fiber infrastructure to offshore oil and gas platforms is possibly the first and most important building block on the path towards digitalization of the offshore industry. Tampnet, established in 2001, currently operates the largest offshore multi-terabit, low latency

operational production assets with another three soon to be connected.


In its 16-year history, the Tampnet fiber optic infrastructure has made a tremendous difference to the offshore assets that have been connected in terms of operational efficiency, safety, environmental control and welfare. The fiber infrastructure has meant offshore assets have been able to benefit from the same advances in telecommunications, information technology and applications as any industrial plant or corporate office on-shore. The perceived distance and remoteness has simply become smaller – particularly as daily meetings have been held on high-end video conference solutions and offshore op-

Tampnet Gulf of Mexico Infrastructure erations centers have been connected to their on-shore counterparts through 24/7 live video. Data collection, sharing and real-time decision making was simply moved to new levels. From a welfare perspective, it has meant that the prospect of going offshore for the younger brains of the business has seemed less of a drawback. Promising graduates can still maintain their social media and internet habits, while young parents can Skype or Facetime with their family members with virtually no delay. The growth of the infrastructure and “subscribers� over the last 10 years is living proof of this success. So is the fact that fiber connectivity is a prerequisite for new field developments in these regions. While the high-speed offshore services have been enjoyed by operators and their employees for over one and half decade, it has largely been limited to cabled computers, machines, equipment and devices – with the exception of standard Wi-Fi coverage in living quarters and other social areas. Attempts have been

made to extend the Wi-Fi coverage on several platforms to cover also production and operational needs. Some success has been achieved, but not without significant cost and complexity. The steel and concrete structures offshore require a high amount of Wi-Fi access points and cabling to cover all areas. In addition, there are many costly and complex considerations to be handled in explosive atmospheres and other intrinsically safe areas. Moving rigs and vessels working for and around the platforms connected to the fiber are both mobile and sophisticated and increasingly in need of high-speed, low-latency telecommunication. For years rigs used the option of microwave connectivity towards a fiber connected platform, which in turn represented an extension of the fiber network. However, for vessels this was more complicated, if not impossible. Also, when talking about fully digitalizing the offshore industry one cannot get around the requirement for mobility and some form of

wireless coverage on the platform, the rig or the vessel itself. One needs to be in a position to offer cost effective connectivity for all types of sensors, equipment, and handheld devices in virtually all areas of the installation. In Tampnet we saw this emerging demand several years ago, and started to look into different technologies that would allow us to extend the reach of our fiber optic network - and meet the emerging requirements of rigs, vessels, devices, people and companies not directly connected to the fiber infrastructure. The decision to build an LTE network on top of our fiber network was made approximately 5-6 years ago. Our agreements with the operators of the production platforms meant the offshore installations could effectively be used as antenna towers for our base stations, while redundant connectivity was delivered through our own subsea fiber network. Our first base station went live on the UK sector 4 years


ago, and our first FPSO, rig and vessel were connected in the autumn of 2013. We now cover 85% of the relevant areas in the North Sea, and the coverage is still growing. Since the summer of 2014, Tampnet has acquired two US based companies with microwave infrastructure, a GSM network and ample spectrum resources in the Gulf of Mexico. These acquisitions and our North Sea experience led to Tampnet being selected by BP as their partner for LTE in the Deepwater region of the Gulf of Mexico, including access to

of equipment and footprint. The network is made available to a number of players in this market space. Traditional providers of managed telecommunication services to rigs and vessels are increasingly partnering with Tampnet to use our LTE coverage as a premium raw-material in their service offerings. Furthermore, Tampnet has a number of roaming agreements with some of the largest mobile operators in the US, while gaining increasing interest for roaming partners in Europe. The construction of these LTE networks and provision of

One needs to be in a position to offer cost effective connectivity for all types of sensors, equipment, and handheld devices in virtually all areas of the installation.

their redundant fiber optic infrastructure. Coupled with our existing microwave infrastructure, this core network will provide backhaul for approximately 60 offshore base stations covering an offshore area in excess of 93,000 square miles. While building our base stations to maximize marine coverage, we are also ensuring maximum on-platform coverage, both inside and outside the structures, in order to enable the cost-effective connectivity to thousands of sensors and devices, with a minimum amount


high-capacity, low-latency services would not have been possible without redundant backhaul networks based on subsea fiber optic cables. On the other hand, the full move towards digitalization of the offshore industry will not be possible without extending the reach of the fiber infrastructure through a form of wireless technology, such as LTE, as well as using high speed microwave link technology to extend backhaul to nearby assets.

Trygve Hagevik has held the position as Chief Commercial Officer CCO of Tampnet for well over 8 years. During the time, he has had the overall responsibility for sales and business development, the company has grown from being a small telecom operator serving 34 fields in the North Sea to the largest low-latency offshore telecommunications carrier in the world, serving in excess of 300 fixed and mobile offshore assets with high capacity and low-latency communications. Tampnet now owns and operates a network based on 2500km of subsea fibre optic cables, about 120 offshore microwave line of sight links and approximately 80 offshore 4G LTE and GSM base stations. Through their agreement with BP in the Gulf of Mexico, Tampnet will get access to their 1200km of fibre optic infrastructure in the deepwater region. This will be utilized for redundant backhaul for 15-20 LTE base stations in this high-investment area. Tampnet is also a turnkey supplier for implementing subsea fiber optic cables and complete telecommunication solutions to both greenfield and brownfield offshore fields. Trygve has led the sales and business development efforts of the company throughout a period where the company’s revenue has grown tenfold, both organically and through several M&A processes. He holds an honours degree in Economics and International Business from the University of Strathclyde in the UK and currently resides with his family in Houston, Texas.

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he days of Oil & Gas facilities requiring only voice and a little data are long gone. Today’s Oil & Gas operations require massive amounts of data and moderate voice connectivity. If the operations are on land and close to established communications infrastructure, this connectivity is not a major concern. However, if the Oil & Gas operations are offshore and beyond the microwave RF (radio frequency) horizon, communications are a significant consideration. Offshore platforms and wells require real-time voice and data connectivity to the onshore facilities and onwards to the rest of the world, i.e., local company offices, corporate headquarters, the Internet, the public telephone network, etc. There are presently two viable options for offshore connectivity beyond the microwave RF horizon; satellite and submarine fiber optics. Satellite provides less voice and data throughput at lower cost. Submarine fiber optics provides “infinite” bandwidth, but at a higher cost. This paper explores the considerations of implementing a submarine fiber optic system to connect offshore Oil & Gas facilities, based upon experiences in the Oil & Gas sector in the Gulf of Mexico, Australia, Persian Gulf and West Africa.


The first step in bringing high speed telecommunications to an offshore Oil & Gas facility is to establish the voice and data requirements. Given that a submarine fiber system is designed for 25 years, whatever you think the ultimate requirements will be, go ahead and double that. Operational voice and data has an asymmetrical flow, i.e., more data flowing from offshore to onshore; while administrative voice and data has an asymmetrical flow in the other direction. More administrative data flows towards the offshore facilities

due to personnel moral and welfare requirements, i.e., offshore personnel want their high-speed Internet connectivity. There are several major types of offshore facilities. The largest are the manned production platforms, the Floating Production Storage and Offloading units (FPSOs); and the Floating Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities (FLNG). For this discussion, we will say that the offshore facility requires 100Gbps, bidirectional connectivity, which is easily handled with today’s 100Gbps, multiple lambda systems. Today’s systems can transmit 270 lambdas on one fiber pair, each lambda carrying 100Gbps, i.e., 27Tbps. For our purposes, this is “infinite” bandwidth. The offshore locations will be dictated by the geographical locations of the Oil & Gas reservoirs. These geographical locations can be anywhere from close to the shore (shallow water depth) to off the continental shelf (deep water depth). The facilities will be integrated with the subsurface infrastructure. The marine topology is a major consideration for locating the topside facilities. For the production platforms, a corridor will be established for the transfer pipeline(s) from offshore to onshore. Ideally, an adjacent communications corridor will be established for the submarine fiber cable. This will allow for the best protection of the cable given all the subsea activities that are part of the field development. For the FPSOs and FLNGs, there won’t be a pipeline corridor to onshore as the production is offloaded directly from the FPSO or FLNG. The submarine cable route to shore will depend upon the sea bottom topology and commercial considerations of crossing (or skirting) adjacent lease blocks. Ideally, there would be two paths to the shore for redundancy. If not, there should be at least two fiber pairs in the cable (four fibers).

The following tasks should be considered to establish the viability of the project:

• Identify all available cable routes in the region that could be utilized for connectivity • Document all critical background information regarding any existing fiber systems – when built, technology employed, expected end of life, etc. • Engage all identified fiber operators in discussions to identify spare capacity on all the cable systems, and the carrier’s interconnect requirements • Review commercial terms of potential partners • Identify Service Level Agreement expectations for 100Gbps leased services • Solicit interconnect proposals from interested carriers • Explore potential teaming agreements with operators of global fiber networks to gauge their interest in acquiring capacity.


Submarine fiber optic systems are expensive to install, as well as to operate and maintain. Given the location of the Oil & Gas fields, other neighboring assets, and potential synergistic relationships, there are several business models that can be considered. Option 1 – Private

Cable Ownership Private ownership requires the company to assume all the responsibility and risk for the system. The company must undertake the fiber optic system like any other major Oil & Gas project. The company will have a large capital outlay followed by yearly operations and maintenance expenses. The advantage of private cable ownership is that the company is in control of a vital aspect of its operations, i.e., its communications. 23

The challenge is usually the offshore termination. Older facilities never seem to have enough room; neither in the communications room, in the duct work, nor in the J-tubes where the cable comes onboard. Option 2 – Lease Service If another company owns and operates a nearby submarine cable, it would be advantageous to lease communication service from them. This would save the capital expense of installing the system. The operating expenses (i.e., yearly lease costs) would be greater than private cable ownership. The major risk of this model is that the company would not have direct control of the communications facilities. The Oil & Gas company can’t control the system capacity nor the remaining life of the system. This could be mitigated with a stringent Service Level Agreement. Option 3 – Consortium Cable Ownership with other Oil & Gas Companies

A consortium ownership spreads the capital and expense costs and risks of operating a submarine system. This would be similar to several companies owning and operating an offshore production platform. The major benefit of this model is that each company can have access to all the bandwidth it needs in a secure manner without having to fund the entire system, (i.e., individual lambdas for each owner). This option depends upon the geographical location of the offshore facilities and possible multiple on shore landing points. Depending upon location, a ring fiber system could be deployed. The system does not have to be fully populated on Day One. Branching Units could be part of the initial installation; allowing for future connectivity. It might even be possible to allow for non-


Oil & Gas partners to connect their facilities. For instance, if the submarine system passes close to onshore population centers, local telecommunications suppliers may want capacity on the system, though historically this has proven to be rather difficult to accomplish. Once onshore, the voice and data must be able to interface to the home office(s). Ideally, the necessary facilities already exist, i.e., the Cable Landing Station is available. It might be necessary for the new system to build the onshore (dry plant) facilities with the onward connections. Generally, an Oil & Gas company does not want to be in the communications business. However, good communications are an absolute requirement to safely and efficiency operate a field. The type of ownership that provides the best connectivity at reasonable cost will suggest the best option. A Business Case Analysis will analyze the scope of the connectivity; market and suppliers of such connectivity; cost-benefit analysis of available connectivity options; and sensitivity analysis, risk assessment and contingencies associated with various connectivity options. Taking the results of the Preliminary System Engineering and Third-Party Traffic Circuit Options, the Business Case Analysis will consider action steps and major milestones to develop a plan that will be a guide through the entire project lifecycle. Specifically, the connectivity Business Case Analysis will deliberate the following considering Service Level Agreement versus buildout/owning/operating assets:

• Market assessment of submarine cable • Development of system technical configurations • Establishment of provisional capital and running costs for implementation and operations & maintenance • Estimation of cable system cost for each option • Development of business model • Accomplishment of commercial and financial analysis • Summarization of all parties’ preferences and gap analysis.


Each Oil & Gas submarine system is unique and has its own risks. Items that are high-risk for one system may not be at all risky for another system. Project risks must be identified and mitigated as soon as possible. Some possible risks are: • Environmentally sensitive areas • Archeological sensitive sites • Existing fishing activities • Existing or future seabed activities – mining or Oil & Gas leases • Possible local population compensation claims • Conflicting governmental responsibility claims • Complex subsea facilities • Unique geological features • Insufficient (or lack of) local infrastructure.


The submarine fiber optic system can be a point-to-point system (festoon) or an add/drop system that supports multiple offshore facilities. The system interface points are in the communications room on the offshore facility and in the on-


shore Cable Landing Station. Voice and data distribution on the offshore platform is standard other than the distribution wiring is in a marine and hydrocarbon environment. The onshore interface might be local but will probably require interfaces to forward the voice and data to national or international corporate offices. The basic submarine system is well understood given that the first submarine telegraph cable was installed in 1848. The challenge is usually the offshore termination. Older facilities never seem to have enough room; neither in the communications room, in the duct work, nor in the J-tubes where the cable comes onboard. The lack of real estate can be overcome, but it may take some


creative engineering to find adequate space and maintain the structural integrity and safety of the offshore facility. Newer offshore facilities usually have adequate room for present and future communications systems. Fortunately, capacity upgrades of the fiber optic system can be done by simply adding additional cards to the existing rack. The onshore Cable Landing Station is much easier to install even if a new site must be developed. The various components of a submarine fiber optic system are well identified. The following is a high-level list of the items must be considered when implementing a submarine fiber optic system to an offshore facility:

• Budget – the capital and expense budgets for the life of the system • Plan of Work and Schedule – the scope and timeframe of the project • System capacity — number of fiber pairs, traffic (e.g., 100Gbps, expandable to 200Gbps) • System availability – Service Level Agreements, available 99.999% of the time (the system will be carrying operational critical traffic) • System interfaces – SDH, Ethernet, other • Regulatory and Permitting – establish a permitting matrix so that everyone knows who is responsible for what permits and the expected timing • Simultaneous Operations – special considerations when installing

around offshore hydrocarbon facilities • Desktop Study – establish basic route, identify pipeline and cable crossings, identify cable armoring types, identify cable protection (burial requirements) • Marine Survey – verify the Desktop Study and confirm cable types for manufacture • Cable Route Engineering -- ensure the physical security of the submarine system from natural and man-made hazards through route selection, slack allocation, cable type (including armor) choice, and the use of industry-standard cable burial and protection practices • Offshore facilities – confirm method of cable interface, i.e.,

seabed equipment, J-tube/I-tube/ over-hang head/rotary joint, topside routing, floor space, HVAC, electrical power/backup, security/alarms • Onshore facilities – beach manhole, outside plant, ocean ground bed (if required), Cable Landing Station space, HVAC, electrical power/backup, security/alarms • Network Operations and Maintenance – Network Management System, spares, test equipment, technical assistance • Marine Maintenance – maintenance contract, wet plant spares • Training – high-level system design training and technician training • Documentation – system manuals, as-builts, test results, software

• Warrantee – dry plant and wet plant warrantee support. The amount of involvement depends upon the ownership option. It could be that the company is responsible for everything. Or the company might only lease services, and the provider is responsible for everything between the service interface points.


Probably the most important aspect of a submarine fiber optic project is permitting. While the actual installation is well understood, and the risks can be mitigated, permitting tends to be unique for every



system. The permitting process can be a moving target – last project’s permits may not be quite enough for this project. It is imperative that a permitting team be assembled as soon as the project becomes an actuality. Installation contingence plans must be developed for unanticipated additions and slips in the permit schedule. Local representation is necessary for permits. Without local help, permits will take longer and may even come to a stop. There is a plethora of permits and environmental assessments that are required for a submarine project. There could be an abundance of jurisdictions having a say in the permitting process. The exact types of permits can also be a moving target. Therefore, it is never too early to initiate the permitting process.


The operations and maintenance of the system will be based upon industry standards and procedures. Again, the amount of company involvement depends upon the ownership option. If the company owns the system, the company might choose to outsource the operations and maintenance. If the company is only leasing services, the Service Level Agreements will govern the supplier’s operations and maintenance efforts. No matter which ownership option is chosen, the following items must be considered: • Unless there are spares and communications technicians on the offshore facilities, it could take considerable time to arrange the logistics of maintaining and repairing the offshore terminal equipment • It would be highly desirable to have two separate paths for the NMS information to be transmitted to the Network Operations Center. This will allow better visibility of any dry plant equipment alarms.

• A cable awareness program should be initialed with the local maritime communities. Besides the cable system owner not wanting the cable damage by fishing activities, the local fishermen do not want their equipment damaged by snagging a cable. It is beneficial to both parties to know exactly where the cable is. • The wet plant must be covered by a marine maintenance agreement. Marine maintenance is somewhat of a misnomer as there is normally no need for any routine or preventative maintenance to be carried out on the submerged plant. Perhaps the correct term should be marine repair, but marine maintenance is the term used within the submarine cable industry. However, in environmentally sensitive areas, the regular inspection of the cable condition on the seabed is sometimes included in permit requirements. Marine Maintenance is a shared service where several cable owners share the service of resources within a defined operational area. The agreement can either be Private where the marine contractor and cable owner agree prices and conditions on a bilateral basis, or Club agreement where conditions and prices are linked with all the other participating cable owners. After verifying the existence and approximate location of a fault, the company’s Marine Maintenance Authority should authorize mobilization of the cableship or other marine resources to affect a repair. The Marine Maintenance Authority should act as the crucial point of information exchange between the cableship, the terminate stations, and the Network Operations Center until the repair is completed. The time to recognize and repair a system fault depends upon its location in the system. If the failure is in the Cable Landing Station, it may take a nominal four hours. If the fail-

ure is on the platform (FPSO, FLNG), it may take a nominal four hours if there is a communications technician onboard with the required spares. If a technician must be flown out to the platform, it may take 24 hours. If there is a cable fault, it will probably take a couple weeks to mobilize a repair vessel, pick up the spares, steam to the site of the fault, find the fault, and repair the fault.

Charles Foreman possesses 35+ years’ experience and is a Subject Matter Expert in Submarine Cable Network Engineering, including Arctic submarine fiber systems. He was responsible for the development of a strategic telecoms plan for Saudi Aramco, Manager of Systems Engineering for Fujitsu America, as well as Systems Engineer for NEC America and Project Engineer for the Arabian American Oil Company. Since 2002, he has supported WFN Strategies in the engineering, provision and installation of fiber optic, microwave and trunked mobile telecom systems in Arctic, Asia Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and West Africa.



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o implement the People’s Republic of China’s new cybersecurity law, which took effect on June 1, 2017, the Cybersecurity Administration of China adopted new implementing measures on June 1, 2017, and proposed further guidelines on May 27, 2017, that could restrict the cross- border transfer of key data created or stored by submarine cable operators, suppliers, and survey companies to design, install, operate, and repair submarine cables, including construction, operational, and security data, marine environmental data, and geographic information for telecommunications networks. Cross-border exchanges of data are a fundamental part of the submarine cable industry, as the vast majority of submarine cables themselves land in or transit multiple jurisdictions and have owners located in multiple jurisdictions. Submarine cable operators routinely transfer seafloor surveys to owners and contractors during route development and system status, alarm, and fault data to owners, contractors, customers, and

network operations centers during the operational phase. If implemented in a stringent manner, these new requirements could render submarine cable installation, operation, and repair significantly more costly and increase repair times. Given the expansive views of the PRC government regarding its maritime jurisdiction within its exclusive economic zone and ocean areas subject to jurisdictional disputes, the new measures and guidelines could complicate the installation and maintenance of submarine cables landing in or transiting near the PRC.


The PRC adopted the Cybersecurity Law on November 7, 2016, in order to enhance network security and the security and privacy of PRC citizens. The Cybersecurity Law imposes data security requirements on network operators and critical information infrastructure (“CII”) operators. Many of the requirements will sound familiar to operators who have been subject to a review or mit-

igation by the U.S. “Team Telecom” agencies, although the PRC requirements are much broader and would capture most companies with IT systems, not just telecommunications network businesses, in the PRC. • The Cybersecurity Law defines “network operators” to include “systems comprised of computers and other information terminals and related equipment” that gather, store, transmit, exchange, and process information. • This broad definition captures not only owners of electronic communications networks but also any owner or operator of IT systems gathering, storing, or transmitting data in the PRC. • Network operators must adopt and maintain network security measures, develop incident response plans for data breaches, and provide technical assistance to public security agencies in national security and criminal matters. 33

If implemented in a stringent manner, these new requirements could render submarine cable installation, operation, and repair significantly more costly and increase repair times. • It defines “CII operators” to include businesses providing public communications and information services, energy, transportation, water resources, finance, public services, and electronic communications as well as businesses owning or operating infrastructure that, if destroyed or impaired, would pose a serious threat to national security or the social or economic well-being of the PRC. • CII operators must adopt and implement personnel screening and training, submit to national security reviews when purchasing network products and services that could affect national security, and conduct annual inspections. • Article 37 requires CII operators to comply with data localization requirements, storing in the PRC


any personal information and other “important data” collected or generated in the PRC.


To implement the Cybersecurity Law’s restrictions on cross-border data transfers, the Cybersecurity Administration adopted its Measures on the Security Assessment of Cross-Border Transfer of Personal Information and Important Data (the “Measures”) on June 1, 2017, although they will not take effect until December 31, 2018. • Expanded Scope. To transfer personal information or “important data” outside the PRC, and only for “legitimate business reasons,”

the Measures extended the data localization requirements in Article 37 of the Cybersecurity Law to include network operators as well as CII operators, requiring them to submit a proposed cross-border data transfer for national security review by the “competent regulatory authority.” • Certain Transfers Prohibited. If the cross-border transfer would trigger a concern specified in Article 9 of the Cybersecurity Law, the transfer would be prohibited. Article 9 concerns include: a risk to the PRC political system or economic, scientific or technical, national defense, societal, or public interest; the absence of consent of the data subject; and other circumstances specified by the PRC government. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject an enter-

prise to a loss of income, fines (on the enterprise and its management individually), and a suspension of operations.


Article 7 of the Measures requires a security assessment by the “competent regulatory authority” prior to the cross-border transfer of data on “cybersecurity- related information like security vulnerabilities or specific security measures of critical information infrastructure.” The Information Security Technology – Guidelines for Data Cross- Border Transfer Security Assessment (the “Draft Guidelines”), released on May 27, 2017, propose to designate the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as the “competent regulatory authority” for a broad range of communications data, including: • Planning and Construction Data. These data include information about planning, design, and construction of telecommunications networks, disaster management, equipment geographical location, network topology, route information, equipment procurement. • Operational Data. These data would include equipment and software configuration information, traffic flow data, network status information, maintenance logs, and system user information. • Security Data. These data would include network and information security management data, alarm data, access logs, security audit records, security contingency plans, unauthorized use data, billing records, and personal communications data.


Article 7 of the Measures requires a security assessment by the “competent regulatory authority” prior to the cross-border transfer of data on “the marine environment or sensitive geographic information, or cybersecurity-related information like security vulnerabilities or specific security measures of critical information infrastructure.” • Marine Environmental Data. The proposed Draft Guidelines propose to designate the State Oceanic Administration as the “competent regulatory authority” for marine environmental data, including: • “Observations and statistical data on submarine topography, marine hydrology, marine meteorology, underwater acoustic environment and marine physical field; • The temperature of the sea, water, sediment, tide, current measured data and related results; and • Unpublished marine ecological environmental monitoring data.” • Geographic Information. The Draft Guidelines propose to designate both the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping, and Geoinformation and State Oceanic Administration as the “competent regulatory authorities” for geographic information, including information about the location of communications facilities and attributes of communications lines.


The Measures and the Draft Guidelines would impose significant burdens on submarine cable operators, and they leave many questions unanswered. As the Measures do not take effect until December 2018, and because the Draft Guidelines have not yet been finalized, industry nevertheless has an opportunity to seek clarifications and refinements to limit the burden of the Cybersecurity Law.

Kent Bressie is a partner with Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP and heads its international practice. An expert on telecommunications, international trade and investment, and national security regulation, he represents communications and technology companies and investors in a wide variety of cross-border and domestic regulatory and commercial matters. He works extensively in the undersea cable sector and represents operators, suppliers, investors, and the North American Submarine Cable Association. His work includes: national security and foreign investment; telecoms licensing; corporate and commercial agreements for construction and maintenance, capacity sales, system supply, landings, and financing; environmental permitting; market access; and cable protection and the law of the sea.


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The offshore oil and gas (O&G) industry has a reputation for delivering mega projects where risks are high and safety is critical. Coupled with an ever-increasing demand for bandwidth and soaring satellite communications costs, O&G operators are increasingly turning to submarine fiber optic cables for robust and reliable communications solutions between offshore installations and onshore control centers. In such a unique and demanding sector, bolstered approaches to HSEQ practices, offshore operations and project management are required compared to those common in the submarine telecommunications industry. The importance of experienced, safety-conscious and O&G culture-savvy personnel is paramount. With completion of O&G projects worldwide spanning a period of over twenty years, International Telecom Inc. (IT) have been involved in the delivery of submarine fiber telecommunications to the O&G sector since the need arose, and have tailored their organization

and project management processes to accommodate the risk diverse mantra of the sector. Fiber optic cable systems offer reliable, cost-effective and uninterrupted voice and data communications that improve not only operational safety and efficiency of an offshore installation, but also the welfare and morale of her crew.


There is a clear difference between client expectations in the telecommunications versus the O&G arenas; the latter having a primary focus on reducing risk, increasing safety and ensuring execution certainty without incident. A mindfulness of these core principles must be embedded in all personnel, practiced throughout all business lines and should form the cultural foundation of a company.

The most valuable insights gained over two decades of executing O&G projects include: 1. Attraction and retention of personnel who have direct experience with, subscribe to, and understand the safety-centric O&G ethos; 2. Fostering a culture of safety amongst employees with backgrounds in other industries; 3. O&G benchmarks for HSEQ practices remaining consistent regardless of client industry. Consistency in internal practices and communication are essential to forming a deeply rooted safety culture.

At IT, a majority of employees have direct O&G training and experience having come from a variety of different O&G


backgrounds, from operators and contractors, to topside planning and execution, through to subsea survey and construction. Whether it be hiring from within the O&G industry where the culture is already ingrained, or being constant in internal efforts to ensure these core conformances take root, having personnel who are experienced in the O&G sector, and other personnel who can learn to adhere to such high standards, are ultimately the keys to O&G HSEQ conformance. IT is certified to ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards, fosters a culture of safety amongst all employees, and have completed O&G projects in 6 countries worldwide. IT Intrepid loading cable to her landing craft for a shore end installation


It is important to understand the multitude of requirements which

O&G clients expect, which in turn drive the size and structure of the given project management team (PMT). One notable difference in the PMT with O&G versus a telecommunications operator is the requirement for dedicated document control and quality assurance/ control resources. Where typically these positions could be shared across concurrent projects in the telecommunications sector, this has proven to be impractical with O&G clients. The importance of these positions is easy to underestimate, but where project milestones are typically linked to the acceptance of finalized documentation, the financial consequences associated with mismanaged documentation quickly justifies the incremental costs of a larger project team, coordinated under a senior project manager. Open and constant communication between client and contractors are ever more important in O&G projects. This communication ensures alignment through all stages of the project which is key to achieving not only what clients require, but how the scope will be ex-

ecuted while meeting the specification at risk levels acceptable to all parties. This can only be achieved with true team work throughout the full life cycle of the project. Having regular, well defined check points through procurement and engineering are keys to this alignment. The thoroughness of the client specifications only enhances the importance of thorough planning and continuous communication. Any deviations from spec needs to be identified early to allow for the change / specification deviation process to unfold with limited effect on schedule and costs. Depending on the urgency of the deviation, approval may be required above the level of the client’s project team and could take time for agreement and consequently risk delays. All deviations from the specification should be identified as early in the project as possible. It is well known that successful projects need to adhere to an understandable and consistent framework to ensure repeatable success. This philosophy can be misconstrued on some O&G projects due to the volume and


level of detail of the specifications within the contract. It’s important to structure project management processes with the understanding and ability to supplement internal processes with client specifications. Furthermore, in some situations, the risk encountered during cable installation and methodologies are not well understood as they can be

of past experience, and an ingrained internal focus on safety.functions, all inbound RFP/RFQ requirements, and all commercial contractual negotiations for all business sectors within IT International Telecom. Mr. Kravis has been instrumental in consistently directing sales for the company in excess of $50 million annually.

Telecom. Mr. Stoner is a registered professional engineer with a degree in Naval Architecture with Ocean Engineering from the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow.

The thoroughness of the client specifications only enhances the importance of thorough planning and continuous communication

markedly different then umbilical, rigid / flexible pipe lay, SAT diving operations, intervention work, and other work scopes typical to O&G operations. Because of this, it’s important that a Client education process be implemented in order to set realistic expectations as to task planning and implementation. It is also acknowledged that each project is unique and requires tailored engineered solutions to meet the specifications/location. However, IT is endeavouring to standardize documentation which meets the specifications of O&G clients in order to operate from this consistent framework regardless of client or industry.


Defining project success can be a subjective topic. Schedule, cost, safety performance, adherence to specification, are all important metrics. However, the foundational elements that make these obtainable are suitably experienced personnel with like values and tested project management processes. IT looks towards the future of offshore O&G telecommunications with optimism, preparedness based on two decades


Greg Stoner has over a decade of experience working in the offshore oil and gas and submarine telecommunications industries. Mr. Stoner has worked his way through the ranks as Field Engineer, to Senior Project Engineer and now Project Manager with IT International Telecom. Prior to his role as Project Manager, Mr. Stoner worked with Technip, Subsea 7, SBM Offshore and ExxonMobil. Currently, Mr. Stoner manages both submarine power cable and telecommunication projects within IT International

Steve Arsenault joined IT International Telecom in 2012 and has over a decade of experience working in the offshore oil and gas and submarine telecommunications industries. Mr. Arsenault brings a wealth of knowledge to the IT Group having begun his career as a surveyor with Subsea 7, later moving onshore working on the development of high accuracy marine surface positioning systems with C+C Technologies, Inc. Prior to his current role as Technical Manager, Mr. Arsenault also served onboard IT International Telecom’s cable ships as a surveyor and Marine Maintenance Coordinator. Currently, Mr. Arsenault manages technical sales and bidding functions within IT International Telecom, responding to RFP’s and orchestrating customized technical and commercial solutions for each customer and project. Mr. Arsenault works closely with all IT International Telecom management and operations personnel, bringing to bear IT’s submarine survey and installation assets and developing

strategic approaches for successful project delivery. Mr. Arsenault is a graduate of Mount Allison University, the Centre of Geographic Sciences, and numerous technical courses on global navigation satellite systems, inertial navigation systems, and submarine cable route engineering.

Paul Kravis has over 30 years of experience working in the telecommunications industry covering medium to large multi-national corporations in the oil and gas, marine telecom, power industries and government organizations dating back to 1984. Key areas of business have

included telecommunications infrastructure for terrestrial networks including telephony and data systems, microwave radio, satellite and subsea fiber optic and power cable projects. Mr. Kravis has brought a great strength in Business Development, Marketing and Finance to IT International Telecom, combined with strategic management skills and style. Currently Mr. Kravis is responsible for the planning and development of the marketing and business development plans, overseeing direct sales and commercial

IT Intrepid lowering a mudmat onto the seabed prior to installation of a fiber optic Subsea Distribution System








Subsea power cables represent a large investment and high-value asset for their owners. During operation, there will always be a risk of damaging the cable in many ways. Overheating the cables due to overload (too much power) is one of the risks. This particular type of damage may be mitigated by use of a Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) system that continuously monitor the temperature along all – or critical parts of – the cabling system. In this article, we will briefly explain how a DTS system may be a fairly simple and inexpensive way to mitigate the risk for over-heating the cable. In this article, we will give a short presentation of this technology and systems and how they will help you protect your valuable assets. Nexans Norway AS has more the 10 years’ experience in providing DTS systems together with our subsea power cables designed transmitting up to more than 1 MW.


A subsea power cable is always designed for a certain maximum current under specified laying conditions with defined thermal properties. A damaging temperature increase may be induced by mainly two factors; (1) excess current through the cable, and (2) laying conditions or cable surroundings with reduced cooling properties like e.g. cable crossings or Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) pipes which might be partly filled with mud. This temperature increase will over time damage e.g. the inner sheath or lead water-barrier or other temperature-critical parts of the cable. DTS systems are now frequently used for temperature monitoring of both Interconnector- and Windfarm Export Cables in the power transmission industry and Power Umbilicals used in oil and gas industry.

A DTS system may be a fairly simple and inexpensive way to mitigate the risk for over-heating the cable

Figure 1 Back-scattering components and variation with temperature 45


Mitigating the risk of damage due to over-temperature may also allow the cable owner to reduce the temperature safety margins and give better utilization of the power cable and shorter Return on Investment time.


The main component of a DTS system is the measurement unit, usually called a DTS interrogator unit. This is an advanced and sophisticated electro/optical measurement instrument that performs optical measurements and calculates temperature along the cable system as well as raising alarms at defined temperature levels. In addition to the DTS interrogator a DTS system usually consists of setup- and controlling software with user interface running on a dedicated PC/server. This software takes care of post-processing of the measurement profiles, calculates and raise the alarms and warnings or present a set of useful informative views for the operator. One soft-

ware system can control a number of DTS interrogator units and can build simple structures consisting of a set of measurement profiles from the interrogators. A temperature profile can cover the complete cable system or the operator can zoom in on details for smaller parts of the system. Unlike point temperature sensors (thermometers) like Fibre Bragg Gratings (FBG) or Pt100 elements a DTS system is distributed in the sense that it can monitor the temperature along a structure, e.g. a long power cable. The DTS sensor element is a standard optical fibre that is installed inside or close to the power cable. It may cover either at land- and shallow-water parts, or the entire length of the power cable. The maximum range of standard DTS interrogator today exceeds 80 km (based on 0.2 dB/km optical attenuation at 1550 nm wavelength). This means that we can cover a total of 160 km if we install a DTS interrogator on each end of the cable. Most systems use standard multimodeor single mode” telecom-grade”

optical fibres as well as laser units used similar to those used in the telecom transmission systems. E.g. for the 120 km Interconnector Power Cable between Sicily and Malta delivered by Nexans Norway the DTS- and DRS system monitors the temperature with 4 m spatial resolution, i.e. 30 000 monitoring points. The DTS interrogator sends laser” light” of 1550 nm wavelength into the optical fibre. Along the fibre this light will be scattered due to optical impurities in the fibre glass material, and some of this scattering – called backscattering – will be sent back through the fibre to the DTS interrogator. This backscattering has different components and some of these components (Brillouin and Raman) are temperature-dependent in the sense that the back-scattered light contains temperature information, see illustration in Figure 1. The DTS interrogator will analyse the changes of the Raman or Brillouin backscattering and convert this to temperature along the optical fibre.

Figure 2 Illustration of very long-range system 46

Until recently each DTS supplier tend to make their own definitions of setup- and performance parameters =The main result is a temperature profile along the sensor and power cable that will be further analysed to detect hot-spots and possible areas where the temperature is higher than we want. The DTS system will generate alarms at defined levels, typically one ”warning” level and one “alarm” level.


The DTS sensor is usually a standard optical fibre. Multimode fibres are typically used for short- and medium range systems and singlemode fibres for long- and very long-range systems. For very long-range systems a technique called Stimulated

Brillouin Scattering (SBS) and a sensor loop consisting of two fibres looped at the far end. The sensor fibre(s) may either be contained in a dedicated fibre element/cable or dedicated fibres in a standard fibre element/cable together with communications fibres. Cable/element should be installed as close to the power cores as possible to give the best performance. The DTS will build a temperature profile along the sensor fibre. Based on this temperature profile, the fibre-/power cable combination, and thermal properties of the power cable and surroundings we can calcu-

late the temperature of the metallic core (or other critical elements) of the power cable by either (1) determine a fixed temperature difference (ΔT) between fibre and power core, or (2) by use of a system called Dynamic Rating System (DRS) which calculates the temperature dynamically at different temperatures, currents, and warm-up history.


DTS systems on the market today cover a wide range of system from down to 2 km and to maximum of 80 km range. Figure 2 shows architecture of a very-long range system with DTS interrogators in each end,


sensor loops made of two optical fibres, and use of Stimulated Brillouin Scattering technique). Other systems use one single multimodeor singlemode fibre and Brillouin or Raman technique. DTS systems may be delivered with a number of measurement channels that are monitored sequentially for use with a number of parallel cables or e.g. a mesh of cables for a terrestrial power distribution system. The figure also shows typical internal data communication between the system units as well as external systems. This data communication is based on standard Ethernet carrying standard communication protocols like e.g. Modbus, DNP3, and IEC 61850-5-104 for communication with the operator’s SCADA system.


All DTS systems can define a number of monitoring sections (aka zones) along the cable. This can be used to find the highest temperature (hot-spot) and to generate alarms and warnings from the DTS system based on defined criteria adapted to each section. Alarms can be shown on the DTS system user interface as well as sent to the cable operator’s alarm system over relay outputs or SCADA protocols. The cable systems operations engineers will be trained and know how to respond the alarms and reduce the load during the cable before it reaches critical temperatures.


During installation and commissioning of the DTS system setup parameters are defined, like spatial resolution (distance between measurement points) and measurement time (time for one complete sensor measurement). Based on the setup the system will give a set of measurement performance parameters where the temperature accuracy (repeatability, uncertainty, measurement error) at the end of sensor


is the most important. Due to measurement noise the temperature accuracy will increase considerably at the end of the sensor which determines the useful measurement range.


Until recently each DTS supplier tend to make their own definitions of setup- and performance parameters, but ongoing standardization work in International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) has now resulted in a global standard for DTS system (IEC 61757-3-1) which includes setup- and performance parameters definitions as well as standard test setups and measurement procedures. This standard is a good starting point for comparison between systems from different DTS suppliers and is highly appreciated by the cable- and monitoring systems suppliers. The setup parameters are interrelated; e.g. a short spatial resolution and high temperature resolution will give a longer measurement time. These parameters combination are usually chosen by the DTS installation engineer together with the cable operator.

methods defined by IEC and Electra standards. The last component to be used in the DRS calculation is continuous current- and voltage information from the station control system. Compared to the ΔT temperature approach used for definition of alarms in a basic DTS system (without DRS), the DRS will provide a more detailed and accurate hotspot temperature. The DRS also calculates the highest allowable current through the cabling system for the given operational conditions and even allowable current overload for e.g. 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes for use in emergency power conditions. The DRS comes with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) with a set of windows for presentation of relevant information. This GUI presents temperature developments of defined hotspot locations, current-/ voltage-/power curves and meters, alarms and messages.


For enhanced performance, a DRS system (aka Real-Time Temperature Rating – RTTR or Cable Load Prediction System – CLPS) can be added. The DRS system receives temperature profiles from the DTS system after each measurement and post-processing cycle has been finished, over a defined communications protocol. I addition to this a mathematical thermal transfer model for the sensor-/power cable combined cross-section must be worked out for each cable section. These models are worked out based in thermal properties for the cable materials and calculation formulas and

Sverre K. Myren is Discipline Leader and Expert in Smart Grids – Sensors and Monitoring systems in Nexans.



he UK oil and gas association Oil and Gas UK has put together an ‘Efficiency Task Force’ (ETF) of representatives of oil and gas companies, to try to work out how to reduce project development costs. It was put together in September 2015. Some of the people involved presented their experiences so far in a session at the Aberdeen Subsea Expo event in February 2017. The Efficiency Task Force is organized around 3 themes of ‘business process,’ ‘standardization’ and ‘Cooperation, culture and behaviors’. Specific projects under each theme are inventory management, procurement, logistics, maintenance, compression systems (under ‘business process’), subsea technology, valves and well P+A (under ‘standardization’), and developing an industry behaviors charter and a communications plan (under ‘Cooperation, culture and behaviors’). Subsea standardization Steve Duthie, industry liaison director with Technip, is industry lead of ETF’s subsea standardization project. The subsea standardization group had 12 subgroups, looking at ways to standardize detailed design, fabrication, flexibles, IVB (Inspection Verification Bodies), installation, pipelines and coatings, pre-commissioning, subsea production systems (SPS), surveys,

trenching and backfill, umbilicals, and valves / flanges / fittings. The project had three stages – to develop the approach, to develop the theory and apply the theory on actual subsea prospects, he said. Over 31 companies were involved. It found that collaboration needs to be three-way - operator to supplier, operator to operator and supplier to supplier, he said. The first hypothesis was that it might be possible to standardize around existing technology – but it became clear that this would be very complex, with some companies being reluctant to share their designs, and “problems with documentation”, he said. So instead, the project team looked at better ways of working from this point onwards. In hindsight, the project could have been called “efficiency” rather than “standardization”, he said. One possible saving identified was by not following all of the requirements of American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice for installation of subsea umbilicals RP 171, he said. “It has quite a lot of stringent requirements, maybe not [all] appropriate for UKCS,” he said. By removing these requirements there could be 15 per cent cost savings.

Other ways to achieve efficiency identified were to use free hanging risers, not solid caisson risers, and looked at putting pipelines and umbilicals (cables) in the same trench. Overall savings identified were 25 per cent for each prospect, he said. Two projects, thought to be ‘economically challenging’ were chosen which the standardization themes might be applied to – Centrica’s West Pegasus (a 3 gas well tie-back) and Chevron’s West Wick field development (a heavy oil tieback). All the big oil and gas companies are actively reviewing the complexity of their systems. “The question is, are they taking it far enough to get the benefits,” he said.

Steve Duthie is Project Director of Energean Karish & Tanin Development for TechnipFMC based in Aberdeen, United Kingdom. 49


WFN Strategies designs and implements submarine fiber cable systems for commercial, governmental and oil & gas companies throughout the world.



he phenomenal growth of offshore wind and renewable energy during the past decade has led to increased subsea power cable installation. In Europe and the UK alone, more than 75 operational offshore wind farms are linked to national grids. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be approximately another 20,000km of power cable installed in Northern European waters, with the expectation of between 10 and 40


large-scale cable repair projects in the North Sea per year.[1][2] As the industry expands, wind farms move further offshore. Building and maintaining these farms requires support vessels able to transfer crew, technicians and cargo in ever more challenging conditions, including greater wave heights. Transfers in high wave heights at the most remote wind farms can be problematic for all on-board, requir-

ing a purpose-built CTV (crew transfer vessel). The solution for tasks of this nature arrives in the form of SWATH (small water plane area twin hull) CTVs, which employ manual motion stabilisation control systems. These systems utilise control fins that have multi-axis capability, providing pitch, roll and heave motion. SWATH CTVs can comfortably maintain service speeds, helping to reduce crew fa-

tigue and technician sickness during long and difficult transits, a crucial element for ensuring safe transfers to offshore turbines. The outcome for customers is maximised working hours, resulting in higher wind power generation. Global Marine Group (GMG) is a market leader in providing offshore

are the most costly cause of financial losses in the global offshore wind industry and led to insurance claims totaling more than €60 million in 2015[4]. Once installed, cables are then at subsequent risk of damage from fishing

engineering services through its two business units, Global Marine, delivering fibre optic cable solutions to the telecommunications sector, and CWind, delivering the company’s power requirements to the offshore wind energy and renewables industry. Two Cwind CTVs, CWind Fulmar and CWind Endurance, are SWATH vessels, designed to meet the needs of offshore customers.

trawlers, vessels’ anchors and natural causes. There are 22,167km of power cable installed globally, with between 8 and 11 power cable faults each year. When a fault does occur, it can have serious implications on the amount of energy a wind farm is able to produce, creating both increased costs and lost revenue for the owner. The time to repair a submarine power cable can vary from weeks to many months, dependant on vessel and technician capability and cable availability. The power cable repair market relies on a reactive approach that can often produce significant delays in response times to callouts. Access to a vessel, equipment, spare power cable, joints and skilled jointers is essential to quick turnaround times. During a call-out period for repairs, technicians require access to the site which is provided by using specialist CTVs, or from larger vessels, walk-to-work systems. Prevention of faults, and rapid action when they occur, are vital to maintain wind farm uptime. GMG has developed an unparalleled cable route and fault database to aid in the planning process. Collaboratively, GMG has installed 387 inter array cables and completed

SWATH CTVs can comfortably maintain service speeds, helping to reduce crew fatigue and technician sickness during long and difficult transits


GMG has been involved in subsea cables since the first telecommunications cable was installed in 1850, building up an extensive knowledge base and diverse set of experiences, with transferrable skills from within the telecommunications sector being utilised to support the offshore wind market. The company’s experience shows, and recent evidence confirms, that submarine power cables are most at risk of damage during the installation phase, with 68% of cable fault insurance claims, totalling £213 million in insurance losses from 28 UK offshore wind claims, between 2002 and 2015, attributed to this reason.[3] Incidents relating to the installation and operation of high voltage subsea cables

421 cable pull-ins across 40 European wind farms. Moreover, the GMG team, with its safety-first ethos, has extensive experience in getting it right the first time and overcoming engineering challenges to the satisfaction of the client. GMG also helps owners obtain permitting by providing desktop FEED studies with very detailed information on permitting requirements. The company’s permitting team has extensive worldwide experience in obtaining data on system needs, to ensure all critical path permits are identified up front. The upshot is reduced delays and minimal negative commercial impact on the cable system.


By contrast to the approach in offshore energy, subsea fibre optic cables for telecommunications operate under maintenance zone agreements. Traditionally, these agreements have a dedicated vessel on standby which is located close to the specific regions known to have high fault rates, and are usually able to mobilise quickly for cable repair within 24 hours of being called out. Access to cable storage and man-


agement facilities is imperative to ensure rapid turnaround times for customers. Lessons learned from the telecommunications market around permitting could be transferred into the renewable energy and power market. Such a concept could provide a cost-effective model for all parties involved, whilst improving the timescales of cable repairs, as well as increasing the logistical efficiency of ongoing operations & maintenance (O&M). Until the power cable repair and services market catches up to the telecommunications s e c t o r,

suppliers are bridging this gap by building frameworks with customers. CWind has an exemplary track record and strong presence in the offshore wind and renewable energy industry, making them the ideal trusted partner for end-to-end cable solutions.


GMG owned multi-role DP2 vessel C.S. Sovereign, is capable of undertaking both cable maintenance and installation projects, and has

installed almost 15% of all inter-array cables. Recently completing two successful back-to-back power cable repairs, C.S. Sovereign reconnected the Isles of Scilly to mainland electricity, by repairing a vital power cable in just four weeks, before being deployed in the North Sea to complete another repair. CWind has also completed a remedial cable burial project this year for Prinses Amaliawindpark (PAWP), an offshore windfarm off the coast of The Netherlands. Natural movement of the seabed in the 10 years since the 28km cable was installed had reduced its burial depth. As such, the

Lessons learned from the telecommunications market around permitting could be transferred into the renewable energy and power market. 54

main objective of the project was to rebury the cable to ensure its protection in commercial waters and comply with the site’s permit requirements. The project utilised CWind’s in-house resources, including: the C.S. Recorder vessel, which has DP2 dynamic positioning; the Q1000, an ROV (remotely-operated vehicle) jet-trenching system; and a skilled onshore and offshore engineering team. CWind’s expertise is also being put to good use at the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm, 8km off the east coast of Yorkshire. The 20year contract, which commenced last year, covers all routine inspection, diagnostics and planned maintenance work – including a first-response service and offshore transport. Regarding upcoming projects, CWind has been successful in a contract bid that will see it complete 66 cable pull-ins at the Merkur Offshore Wind Farm, which is currently being constructed 45km from the island of Borkum in the German North Sea. Pre-project engineering is already underway, with CWind technicians and equipment expected on site during September. O&M at wind farms, both subsea and topside, is complex, with the market looking at consolidating contractors, and increasing research & development efforts in search of cost reductions and driving productivity. The suppliers of choice will be those like GMG that can provide right the first-time cable installation and repair solutions, complemented by full asset management services, that optimise and enhance operations at all stages of an offshore wind farm lifecycle.


[1] 2016, Oluwole Daniel Adeuyi, Jianzhong Wu, Jun Liang, Carlos Ugalde-Loo and Nick Jenkins., HubNet Position Paper Series, Planning and Operation of the North Sea Grid. [Available from: <>]. [2] 2015, Allianz., Power Under the Sea. [Available from: <http:// PDFs/GRD/GRD%20individual%20 articles/022014/SpecialTopicWater_power-under-the-sea.pdf>]. [3] 2017, Carbon Trust., Carbon Trust launches competition to improve subsea cabling systems in the offshore wind industry. [Available from: <https://www. carbon-trust-launches-competition-subsea-cabling-systems-offshore-wind>]. [4] 2015, G Cube Insurance., Offshore Cable Claims Severity Increases by 25% in 2015. [Available from: <>].

Andy Lloyd is the Director of Power Cables within CWind, and is responsible for all cable planning, installation and maintenance operations, from sales through to project delivery. His experience prior to working within the Global Marine Group was as Project Manager with a subsea pipeline installation company where he managed various installation projects worth in the region of £600million. He then joined the Global Marine Group in 2000. Since working with the company, Andy has gained a wealth of knowledge on various projects, both telecom and power cable related. 55


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oreword The story below highlights the way the industrial framework of submarine cables was built in Europe in years 1900, and let some lessons that are still quite relevant. Saint-Tropez, on the French Riviera is better known for its leisure holidays beaches and villas than for industrial activities. In fact in years 1900, two important French industries were born there, one for torpedoes in 1912 that still exist, and the other in 1892 that was devoted to manufacture of submarine cables and put in place by Alexandre Grammont, already owner of copper cable terrestrial cables in France close to Lyon city.


This submarine cable factory was closed in 1925, and its memory sank in 1943 when the mother company sold the rest of its activity with very few archives left. By chance Daniel Faget had done in 2010 a thesis on this history and it becomes possible to understand the reasons explaining the creation of this factory and overall why it did not survive. The present paper is mostly based on the book by Daniel Faget (Reference 1) with some photos are from l’Association des Amis des Cables Sous-Marins (AACSM, reference 2). An overall review of the historical developments of submarine cables is included in Reference 3.


Submarine cables were already a 30 years story in years 1890, after the launching the first Calais-Dover link in 1850. The French administration was frustrated that despite the concept of telegraphic submarine cables was born in Paris, Great Britain was a well-established industry and not France. French Post & Telecommunication ministry had recognized late that this business was quite strategic, especially in the context of communication with the French colonies, and it decided to support the national industry to recover against British leadership. The decision was to support two industry deployments, one in the north of France in Calais that is still running presently

E FACTORY TO THE BEACH as the cable factory of ASN, and the second one on the Mediterranean Sea motivating the present paper. When the French governments reached the decision in 1890 to support their industry, they provided orders for national cables. The fast deployment over the globe of

a new grown industrial, Alexandre Grammont who had built a business of terrestrial electrical cable close to Lyon. Mr Grammont had selected the site of Saint-Tropez bay (more precisely Canebiers bay south of Saint-Tropez gulf) for several reasons: its protection against

were also low cost of the land at that time, fiscal exemption offered by the Saint-Tropez city, and availability of local manpower from naval activities. The beauty of this welcoming area was certainly also considered by Alexandre Grammont to set a second home villa.

the telegraphic network motivated the advent of ambitious and adventurous entrepreneurs. A supply contract of France to Tunisia (Marseilles-Bizerte) submarine cable to

the strong west wind “Mistral� and its East counterpart, its close access to railways for raw materials transportation, and the possible access to medium vessels, but the arguments

As the cable contract was awarded while no factory existed, it had to be built in a short time. The factory reused when possible the design of its headquarter factory, with addi-

The fast deployment over the globe of the telegraphic network motivated the advent of ambitious and adventurous entrepreneurs


tional specificities. When looking at the map of the factory (Figure 1), one is not surprised by its organization, simple on a single level of 7200 square meters. It was quite standalone since it had also its power plant, the steam being also used for tar processing. Due to the short time to build it and to the limited capital of Alexandre Grammont, the building was nevertheless constructed with wood and looked more like a temporary structure, built to make an opportunistic profit. And in fact the factory was operated early 1892 less than two years after the first order, and employed up to 174 people in summer 1892.


The factory was first loaded by building the Marseilles-Bizerte cable, and had a sustained activity provided by the French administration during the first years. The workers were supported by a small number of seniors from the mother company that brought the needed competences. It is also known that Alexandre Grammont did rent some technical competence from its British competitors to run the company. The armored cable is presented here in Figure 4, photo of a sample cable manufactured here, and kept in Naval Museum “Musée de la Citadelle” in Saint Tropez village (Reference 4). The core cable is a basic 1+6 strand of copper wires covered with the insulating layer of Gutta-Percha. The core cable was manufactured in the headquarter Pont de Cheruy factory close to Lyon, the place where the main French competence in metallic wiring had grown, inherited from the textile know-how. After the cable core –copper wires covered with Gutta-Perchatravelled by train to the Saint-Tropez factory, the armoring was done there. One can clearly see on Figure 4 the burlap layers protecting the soft Gutta-percha from iron wires,


Figure 1: Ground plane of the Saint-Tropez factory

Figure 2: Inside the Saint-Tropez factory and the final big iron layer protected from corrosion by tar in other burlap layers. This successful design is obviously of high quality and not behind the competition at that time (see the previous article in SubTel Forum on the history of cable design Reference 5) The low initial investment made profitable the operation immediately justified by a large state order. The turn of the century, however, soon changed the conditions of profitability of the sector. As orders were shrinking, Saint-Tropez’s cabling was now competing with more powerful companies, able to mod-

ernize their production equipment as technological innovations. The production activity was very variable with two peaks in 1892-1895 and then in 1905-1906 with the manufacture of the Indian Ocean cables (Indochina and Maurice-Madagascar), but the factory was often empty, while the bigger Calais competitor was catching the core French business, letting the more risky low added value activities to Saint-Tropez factory, such as the shore-ends for remote countries, while the international market was captured by Great Britain at that time.

Why the Saint-Tropez Factory Stopped Business? While the submarine cable business was sustained worldwide, one has to understand why this factory failed to become and remain an established player. Profitability of the factory analyzed during production was initially good, but a closer analysis was not so bright: The factory ended with a wooden key, long enough to reach more than 10m water depth (Figure 3). Figure 3: The loading key over the Canebiers bay

• The size of the preliminary investment necessary for the realization of the market dries out the financial resources of the Grammont establishments, reducing its flexibility for subsequent operations • Long period of low activity still consumes fixed costs, such as maintenance and capital refund.

set in 1905 for Madagascar cable, which provides for payment of three-quarters of the sum during the manufacturing phase and at the end of a period of six months, the last quarter being paid in the form of annual installments over 30 years! The construction and laying of submarine cables, while constituting an attractive market, therefore implies already at that time a fair capacity for capital raising. And one should note that Alexandre Grammont was jealous of his independence, and not keen to involve banks or large financial partnerships. The international conjuncture was favorable up to 1906: The constitution and the completion of the French colonial empire, on a back-

The low initial investment made profitable the operation immediately justified by a large state order. Alexandre Grammont deployed a noticeable personal energy to get contracts, using all available means, including his political network. For example, he organized secret missions with the French government in Morocco to meet the sultan and try to convince to make the choice of the French technology against England. He also organized the landing in China in difficult political conditions (landing without the authorization of Chinese government). He always believed in this market. When the factory was empty during long years, the equipment was carefully greased by a guardian left in the factory. Nevertheless, while the Canebiers Bay cable factory existed physically until 1952, its cumulative activity did not exceed five years, between 1892, the year of its construction, and 1924, the last year of manufacturing.

The time taken to finalize new contracts has to be noticed in this context. The definition of the Mauritius network started in 1900 and was signed in 1905. • Payment by the State of the completed contract is made only gradually. According to the timetable

ground of Franco-English rivalry, stimulated between 1890 and 1905 a sector requested by the French nation, anxious to establish a telegraph network independent of the British Empire. But after 1904, the core telegraphic submarine networks are installed,

Figure 4: Photo of the cable manufactured in Saint-Tropez 61

and the “Entente Cordiale” signed in 1904 allows the use of British cables by France. As a result, the markets are becoming more spaced out, and competition between manufacturers harder. And the First World War has induced in addition a complete stop of this business since cable laying was made unpractical. The control of raw material was the main structural difficulties of the French industry: Submarine cables costs are driven at that time by the cost of copper that is the unique conductor material, and the gutta-percha insulator, the main component of the insulation that coats the core of submarine cables.

• The fluctuating prices of copper imply the building up of large inventories before the cables were made, in order to take advantage of temporary price drops. • In the same way, gutta-percha, was distributed in Europe by British and Dutch traders. The courses of gutta-percha, like those of copper, are fixed in London, and it is in the Dutch East Indies that the bulk of the resources and plantations of the gutta tree. A long-standing practice of cutting trees to harvest insulating gum, led to a situation of constant price increase of gutta-percha from 1890 to 1914. To escape this preeminence of the British and Dutch markets, Alexander Grammont tried with moderate success to find direct supplies that would reduce production costs. For example, in 1903, with the deputy of Cochinchine, he tried to organize in this French colony gutta tree plantations, a project already sketched repeatedly by the governors of Indochina at the end of the nineteenth century. In parallel, he studied the possibility of mixing with the insulation another natural gum, the balata, produced in French Guiana. Structural weaknesses may finally be the major explanation of the 62

failure. The company did not have the tools for its independence: It was noticeable from the beginning that the competence for jointing of armored cables was rented from British competitors, but overall, the laying operations have never been in the hand of Alexandre Grammont. The absence of a cable ship appeared, as early as 1892, as a real handicap for Grammont establishments. It is Calabria, one of the ten British cable ships, which performs for Alexander Grammont the installation of the first cable developed by the Tropezian factory. The vessel belongs to the London-based Telegraph Cable and Maintenance Company. In the climate of mistrust poisoning Franco-English relations, this rental is perceived as a necessary evil, dictated by deadlines imposed by the State for the reception of the works. Later, the company had to rely on the laying vessels either from English companies or from the Calais French competitor revealing how limited the investment capacity of Alexander Grammont are, due to the very average size of its business, and by the use of traditional sources of financing. • Rental of a vessel represents a systematic overhead which places the manufacturer behind its competitors in the tenders submitted to the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, which causes it to reduce its prices, compromising the profitability of the company. • Beyond the laying campaigns, the absence of a maintenance ships keep the Saint-Tropez cabling away from marine maintenance markets which could ensure activities between larger orders, while the cable repairs were quite frequent at this time (as demonstrated recently by ICPC – Reference 6). • One can add in addition that the Canebiers bay could not support development of harbor structures and is even too shallow to

accept large cable ships on its 120m long key.

Finally, one can note that while the Saint-Tropez factory was silent from 1913 during 10 years, up to its closure, in a time when the mother company was overloaded by building terrestrial copper cable, illustrating the consequence of the over-specialization and isolation from the rest of the French industrial network. One can add the argument that the market could not support steadily two national cable suppliers and had done naturally the choice of the Calais entity that remains nowadays the factory of the European leader ASN.


The empty Saint-Tropez factory was used during the Second World War as depots by Italian and German armies, then as war prisoner camp at the end of the war. The equipment was finally sold in 1948, and the factory destroyed in 1952, liberating the land for villas, still belonging partly to descendants of Alexandre Grammont. The figures 5 displays the picture of the area from a 1900 postcard and from a picture taken today more than 100 years later, exactly from the same spot. One can see that a small artisanal shipyard is the last industrial building left in this area, otherwise completely covered by luxurious villas. The only remaining building of the factory site itself is the luxurious villa built by Alexandre Grammont, illustrating his intuition for the touristic charm destiny for this area. While Alexandre Grammont had certainly not done a good business with his cable factory, the family has then got an extraordinary extra value from the land around. The submarine cable factory was at the end an important industrial milestone for the French industry.

Figure 5: Picture of the factory site taken from the same spot after 110 years One should also notice that the Grammont family had contributed to another remarkable technology feat of the electrical triode around 1914. The author is grateful to “Musée de la Citadelle” in Saint-Tropez for providing access to fruitful information and giving access to the sample cable.


1. Une usine à la plage la câblerie tropézienne d’Alexandre Gramont, by Daniel Faget, Patrimoine Tropézien, 2010 2. Association des Amis des Cables Sous-Marins” AACSM – N° 29, septembre 2005, p.13 & N° 41, mai 2010, p.26 3. Undersea Fiber Communication Systems, Edition 2, José Chesnoy ed., Elsevier/Academic Press ISBN: 978-0-12-804269-4 (book) 4. Naval Museum: « Musée de la Citadelle », Saint-Tropez, http://

José Chesnoy, PhD, is an independent expert in the field of submarine cable technology. After Ecole Polytechnique and a first 10 years academic career in the French CNRS, he joined Alcatel’s research organization in 1989, leading the advent of amplified submarine cables in the company. After several positions in R&D and sales, he became CTO of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks until the end of 2014. He was member of several Suboptic Program Committees, then chaired the program committee for SubOptic 2004, and was nominated Bell Labs Fellow in 2010. José Chesnoy is the editor of the reference book “Undersea Fiber Communication Systems” (Elsevier/ Academic Press) having a new revised edition published end 2015. 5. J. Chesnoy, The origin of the submarine cable, SubTel Forum Magazine N°92, 2017 https:// 6. SubOptic 2016 Convention, Dubai, Workshop: The Case for Cables-protecting and enhancing the global telecoms environment, 63

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PLANS FOR SUBOPTIC 2019 ARE QUICKLY TAKING SHAPE! SO, WHERE ARE WE? In early September, the SubOptic Organizing Committee, consisting of representatives from STF Events, SubOptic Association, Ciena, Xtera, and Alcatel, met for the second quarterly planning meeting. After the regular update and planning session, the SubOptic 2019 Program Committee took things over to discuss the general program theme and outline for the conference. The Program Committee is determined to deliver some rather big ideas for the Big Easy. As Stuart Barnes of Xtera, our SubOptic 2019 Program Chair recently opined: “An exciting conference is being prepared for SubOptic 2019 where the theme will reflect the changing times in the submarine telecommunication industry. The new program will encompass the latest developments in software and hardware technologies, architectures, and ways to fund and deploy subsea communications networks. The wheels are already in motion to make SubOptic 2019 an exciting, progressive and memorable Conference.”


On August 1, we proudly launched During August alone, the site saw over 10,500 hits from almost 2,000 unique visitors. If the number of people viewing the site is an indication of early interest for the event, we are on track for an outstanding conference!


The Exhibition Hall and Sponsorship packages were finalized following the June quarterly meeting. The intent of the sponsorships is to not only provide excellent visibility for purchasing companies, but also enhance the experience of registrants. With that in mind, the Exhibition Hall has been designed to maximize flow from three main avenues, and as such, every booth has access to the flow of foot traffic. The aim of SubOptic 2019 is to provide exceptional value for registrants and sponsors alike. In early July, sales of sponsorships and exhibition booths were opened exclusively to SubOptic Association members, another of the many benefits of membership.

In just six short weeks of sales, the Exhibition Hall is a little over 25% sold, and 10 companies have purchased sponsorship packages. Frankly, we’ve been floored by the incredible turn out and eagerness of the industry to support this event! [Download SubOptic 2019 Exhibition & Sponsorship Brochure] That said, sponsorship opportunities and booths are available, but selling quickly. If you have interest in either, I suggest you speak to a representative as soon as possible:


If you haven’t already heard, the conference will be held in New Orleans - a timeless city with a unique way of life. Steeped in 300 years of European traditions and Carib-


with completely updated amenities, including gapless WiFi coverage, gourmet food options, and stunning guest rooms and suites.

All said, the conference preparations are in full swing and we are marching on!


bean influences, the Big Easy calls curious minds to sweet sounds and savory aromas fueled by three hundred years of history; a picturesque metropolitan. Home to some of the best music played, New Orleans beckons the ears, allures the eyes and enchants the hearts of all who wish to explore it. New Orleanians believe that their “lagniappe” – a little something extra – will stay with you, calling you back to discover the mystery behind the magical city. As part of the 300th anniversary celebration preparations, the city has a number projects underway from a general infrastructure

overhaul to city-wide repaving and cleaning efforts. The Louis Armstrong International Airport is in full swing with development and construction of its state of the art international terminal, which will boast over 40 gates from around the world. The terminal is set for completion in 2018, setting the stage for the next 300 years for the Crescent City. Additionally, our venue the New Orleans Marriott, has completed renovations of its 1,333 guest rooms and conference halls. We’re excited to share that the hotel will be in pristine condition for SubOptic 2019,

Christopher P. Noyes, CMP Conference Director

Christopher Noyes began his career in 1996 as the Meeting and Incentive Director for Spectrum Industries, providing company sales and incentives meetings. His experience includes producing meetings, trade shows and events in USA, Mexico, Bahamas, Canada, and Holland, and has produced meetings and events for the Urban Land Institute, Coca-Cola, Medtronic, Bank of America JER Partners, Legg Mason Wood Walker, and Avery Communications. He possesses the international designation of Certified Meeting Professional form the Convention Industry Council, and joined Submarine Telecoms Forum in 2016 as Conference Director to help develop and lead the company’s venture, STF Events. 67




ince the New Year I’ve made mention of the evolution of SubTel Forum over the years, and that we’ve had plans in the works this year. With this latest issue of our flagship publication, I am beyond pleased to announce that we have emerged from our chrysalis with an entirely new direction. You’ve made it this far into the issue, what do you think? Do you like the new coat of paint? Going forward, this is the new format of SubTel Forum Magazine. Our goal, as it always has been, is to provide the absolute best and most timely information to the industry in as best a format as possible. Every year that we’ve published the Magazine has been better than the previous one, advertising revenue is better, article content is more relevant, and our readership is on a consistent trend up – but we still felt that we were missing the mark, that something was missing in our presentation. So, we did what every person does when something feels like it’s stalling - we rebooted. It started one year ago with a formal review of our internal practices, beginning with data acquisition, validation and storage. The Cable Database is the core resource for

Submarine Telecoms Forum publications, it’s our long pole in the tent, so to speak. We came to the frustrating conclusion that we’d run as far as we could with the internal talents that we had, it was time to hire a specialist. Fast forward to just last month, we now have a Database that has capabilities we hadn’t even considered before, reporting and query options that put our previous system to shame. The Database wasn’t in bad shape, far from it - it had successfully supported our Custom Reporting and various analytical services for almost five years. This new Database, seeing its capabilities and structure, struck a chord in our organization – we asked ourselves “If this is what we could do with the Database, what else can we improve on?” If you haven’t noticed, we’ve implemented the latest batch of changes to the SubTel Forum website. The changes are too numerous to list, but suffice it to say that your news is now much easier to read. And really, isn’t that what makes news relevant? Our next big change has come to the Magazine. It’s been long considered a proverbial third rail of change in our organization, change too much and you get negative feedback, change too little and you get no feedback at all. How do you alter a publication that’s been in consistent release since 2001? As it turns out, you start with an imaginative designer and ask him simply, “What are we missing?”

I do hope that his response, the layout of this issue, is as impressive for you as it is me. With this release, we’ve executed our first reboot in years, incorporating new technology, new design, and most importantly new ideas. As an industry, we stand on uncertain ground, the next few years may hold interesting times. We’ve rebooted our organization at its very core, I bid you to join our reboot and new direction into the future. Loyally yours,

Kristian Nielsen Vice President Kristian Nielsen literally grew up in the business since his first ‘romp’ on a BTM cableship in Southampton at age 5. He has been with Submarine Telecoms Forum for a little over 6 years; he is the originator of many products, such as the Submarine Cable Map, STF Today Live Video Stream, and the STF Cable Database. In 2013, Kristian was appointed Vice President and is now responsible for the vision, sales, and over-all direction and sales of SubTel Forum.



Sponsorships are now open – P Reserve your space today – Contact for m


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