SubTel Forum Magazine #114 - Offshore Energy

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hat a wonderful few weeks we have had watching daily le Tour de France! In spite of this mess called COVID, France has accomplished the near impossible and produced one of the most memorable races in its more than 100 year history. Last year’s contenders are today a distant memory. New names from new competing countries have emerged, and as a result, the race is fresh and embracing. And for this Tour addict, it has been really appreciated, savored and enjoyed. September has also brought a new school year and I have watched as the teachers in my house learn numerous new on-line tools for accomplishing distance teaching for middle and high school kids in the area. Our school district has accomplished in a matter of months what others have planned for years. And this story is being repeated worldwide by teachers and administrators and students everywhere. I hear new terms in the air, like ‘synchronous’ and ‘asynchronous’ classes, and I watch with some awe how new techniques have been utilized in short order. It is interesting to see my six year old granddaughter start her school year with a new school-provided Chromebook – no classroom for her or thousands of other kids for now, but we will see just when that will change to hybrid or in-school or whatever comes next. We are all adapting to the new normal. I have heard that some submarine cable systems are experiencing demand increases of some 30% since pre-pandemic. An article recently reported that the “cloud” had experienced an uptick of 25% for the same period. In any case, these are significant numbers and it will be interesting


to see if they continue in the future – my bet is that they indeed will. As I have written before – we as an industry are basically keeping the world stitched together, and as such, we should take some pride in that. Offshore energy continues to be a feast and famine industry. Just consider the last few months and ensuing oil price decreases. But things are also happening in this sector. I am pleased that we have in this issue’s interview with Tampnet, discussion about their upcoming acquisition of the BP GoM submarine cable system. We also have a number of other excellent articles, considering the linkage between offshore oil & gas, wind and yes, submarine telecom systems. Next month we will be releasing the 9th edition of the Submarine Telecoms Industry Report and we are honored that the head of the ITU, Secretary General Houlin Zhao, has offered to write again this year’s foreword. In addition to COVID, there have been a number of interesting devel-

A Publication of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. ISSN No. 1948-3031 PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER: Wayne Nielsen |

opments in our industry over the last year, which we will be discussing there in greater detail. As always, the report will also feature some truly excellent expertise and opining from across our industry, as well as loads of details on where we have been and where we are headed. Work has also already begun on our printed Submarine Cable Map, which is coming in 2021 to a wall near you. We are accomplishing our annual industry survey, which will be emailed and made available through social media, and the results of which will be highlighted in our upcoming Industry Report in October. Please do participate in the survey! As always, we have some really excellent articles in this issue, dissecting and discussing the theme, Offshore Energy, from a myriad of perspectives. Thanks to these system owner, supplier and contractor authors for their significant inputs. One author I would like to highlight is Shashank Krishna, who managed to deliver his exceptional article only three days after his first child was born – Congratulations to him and his growing family! Thanks especially for their support to this issue’s advertisers: LL Flex, Prysmian Group and Southern Cross. Lastly, we highlight the updates to the online cable map with both recent big and little cable announcements; and of course, our ever popular “where in the world are all those pesky cableships” is included as well. STF Good reading and stay well,

Wayne Nielsen, Publisher

VICE PRESIDENT: Kristian Nielsen | SALES: Teri Jones | | [+1] (703) 471-4902 EDITOR: Stephen Nielsen | DESIGN & PRODUCTION: Weswen Design | DEPARTMENT WRITERS: Bill Burns, Kieran Clark, Kristian Nielsen, Rebecca Spence, Stewart Ash, Trygve Hagevik and Wayne Nielsen FEATURE WRITERS: Emma Martin, Geoff Bennett, Greg Berlocher, International SOS, John Hill, Maria Garcia Alvarez, Mike Daniel, Mojeed Aluko, Ragnhild Katteland, Sarah Lockett, Shashank Krishna, Ulrik Stridbæk and Wayne Nielsen


NEXT ISSUE: November 2020 — Data Centers and New Technology AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INDEX:



Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Margaret Nielsen, Wayne Nielsen and Kristian Nielsen SubTel Forum Analytics, Division of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. LEAD ANALYST: Kieran Clark | | [+1] (703) 468-1382 RESEARCH ANALYST: Rebecca Spence | | [+1] (703) 268-9285 SubTel Forum Continuing Education, Division of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. CONTINUING EDUCATION DIRECTOR: Kristian Nielsen | | [+1] (703) 444-0845

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. New Subscriptions, Enquiries and Changes of Address: 21495 Ridgetop Circle, Suite 201, Sterling, Virginia 20166, USA, or call [+1] (703) 444-0845, fax [+1] (703) 349-5562, or visit Copyright © 2020 Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc.














By Sarah Lockett, Ragnhild Katteland, John Hill, Ulrik Stridbæk










By Shashank Krishna



by Maria Garcia Alvarez

By Wayne Nielsen





departments EXORDIUM........................................................ 2

BACK REFLECTION........................................... 64

SUBTELFORUM.COM.......................................... 6

CONTIUING EDUCATION..................................... 71

STF ANALYTICS.................................................. 8

ON THE MOVE.................................................. 72

CABLE MAP UPDATE......................................... 12

SUBMARINE CABLE NEWS NOW........................74

WHERE IN THE WORLD..................................... 14

ADVERTISER CORNER...................................... 76 SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114

5 to to find find links resources Visit linkstotothe thefollowing following resources


The most popular articles, Q&As of 2019. Find out what you missed!


Keep on top of our world of coverage with our free News Now daily industry update. News Now is a daily RSS feed of news applicable to the submarine cable industry, highlighting Cable Faults & Maintenance, Conferences & Associations, Current Systems, Data Centers, Future Systems, Offshore Energy, State of the Industry and Technology & Upgrades.


Submarine Cable Almanac is a free quarterly publication made available through diligent data gathering and



mapping efforts by the analysts at SubTel Forum Analytics, a division of Submarine Telecoms Forum. This reference tool gives details on cable systems including a system map, landing points, system capacity, length, RFS year and other valuable data. Submarine Telecoms Industry Report is an annual free publication with analysis of data collected by the analysts of SubTel Forum Analytics, including system capacity analysis, as well as the actual productivity and outlook of current and planned systems and the companies that service them.


The online SubTel Cable Map is built with the industry standard Esri ArcGIS platform and linked to the SubTel Forum Submarine Cable Database. It tracks the progress of

some 300+ current and planned cable systems, more than 800 landing points, over 1,700 data centers, 46 cable ships as well as mobile subscriptions and internet accessibility data for 254 countries. Systems are also linked to SubTel Forum’s News Now Feed, allowing viewing of current and archived news details. The printed Cable Map is an annual publication showcasing the world’s submarine fiber systems beautifully drawn on a large format map and mailed to SubTel Forum Readership and/or distributed during the Pacific Telecommunications Conference in January each year.


Watch all our industry relevant videos and streams. SubTel Forum streams the Submarine Cable Sunday sessions during the Pacific Telecommunications Conference in January each year on both YouTube and Facebook, as well

as other special events during the year. SubTel Forum tutorials teach how to use the ever growing SubTel Cable Map, including various map layers for data centers, cable ships, etc.


SubTel Forum designs educational courses and master classes that can then appear at industry conferences around the world. Classes are presented on a variety of topics dealing with key industry technical, business, or commercial issues. See what classes SubTel Forum is accrediting in support of the next generation of leaders in our industry.


The Authors Index is a reference source to help readers locate magazine articles and authors on various subjects.


SubTel Forum Subscribers have exclusive access to SubTel Forum online MSRs updated quarterly:

DATA CENTER & OTT PROVIDERS: details the increasingly

shrinking divide between the cable landing station and backhaul to interconnection services in order to maximize network efficiency and throughput, bringing once disparate infrastructure into a single facility. If you’re interested in the world of Data Centers and its impact on Submarine Cables, this MSR is for you.

GLOBAL CAPACITY PRICING: historic and current capacity pricing for regional routes (Transatlantic, Transpacific, Americas, Intra-Asia and EMEA), delivering a comprehensive look at the global capacity pricing status of the submarine fiber industry. Capacity pricing trends and forecasting, simplified.

GLOBAL OUTLOOK: dive into the health and wellness of the

global submarine telecoms market, with regional analysis and forecasting. This MSR gives an overview of planned systems, CIF and project completion rates, state of supplier activity and potential disruptive factors facing the market.

OFFSHORE OIL & GAS: provides a detailed overview of the

offshore oil & gas sector of the submarine fiber industry and covers system owners, system suppliers and various market trends. This MSR details how the industry is focusing on trends and new technologies to increase efficiency and automation as a key strategy to reduce cost and maintain margins, and its impact on the demand for new offshore fiber systems.

REGIONAL SYSTEMS: drill down into the Regional Systems

market, including focused analysis on the Transatlantic, Transpacific, EMEA, AustralAsia, Indian Ocean Pan-East Asian and Arctic regions. This MSR details the impact of increasing capacity demands on regional routes and contrasts potential overbuild concerns with the rapid pace of system development and the factors driving development demand.

SUBMARINE CABLE DATASET: details 400+ fiber optic cable

systems, including physical aspects, cost, owners, suppliers, landings, financiers, component manufacturers, marine contractors, etc.

COMING SOON! Cable Analysis Toolbox, Cable Planner’s Toolbox, Mapping Tools, and more features in 2020 and beyond! STF

JULY 2020 | ISSUE 113






his year has been challenging for many industries around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As important as the offshore energy is to the global economy, it has not been immune from impact. Demand for hydrocarbons has been reduced compared to years past while production capability has been met with the difficulties imposed by quarantines and social distancing requirements. As a result, submarine fiber activity in this market has been brought almost to a standstill. However, while the immediate impacts are disappointing, the long-term effects of the global pandemic could result in a boon for the submarine fiber industry. COVID-19 has forced many industries to expand their remote work and automation capabilities – all of which need the capacity and reliability that only fiber can provide. As the demand for more capacity to offshore facilities grows, so will the demand for submarine fiber systems as the more traditional satellite and O3b telecoms solutions are simply unable to meet the data demands.


Before 2019, there were several new systems added around the world as various offshore energy companies had begun to realize the benefits of



fiber systems to their offshore facilities. However, a dip in oil prices in late 2018 through early 2019 and an overall global economic downturn slowed or flat out halted progress on systems for 2019. As prices and the economy began to pick back up through the latter half of the year, several systems were announced for 2020 and beyond – making it seem like things were back on track. Of course, COVID-19 hit the world towards the end of Q1 2020 and brought the entire world to a standstill with quarantine procedures effectively keeping people at home. With less commuting and travel, demand for oil and gas was brought down significantly

in 2020. Due to these circumstances, it is unlikely that the 4 systems currently planned for 2020 will enter service. However, as the industry focuses on utilizing new technologies to increase efficiency and automation as a key strategy to reduce cost and maintain margins – especially in light of the new reality brought on by pandemic quarantine and social distancing procedures – demand for new offshore fiber systems should increase through 2023. With a cautiously optimistic outlook for the next 3 years, the length of cable added annually includes a potentially dramatic increase in 2023. With 15 systems overall planned for


Looking at the average quarterly price of a barrel of oil over the last 5 years via the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, oil prices reached their peak in October of 2018. Prices reached just over $75 per barrel during this time. After that, prices sharply declined and finally bottomed out at just over $20 per barrel in Q2 2020. This latest price decline began in the latter half of 2018 and was greatly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This steep price decline is the primary reason 2019 and 2020 have seen no new systems implemented. Many systems either died outright or were pushed back to 2021 and beyond. While 2021-2023 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. However, with the need for additional automation and remote capabilities brought on by the global pandemic, this may balance out demand for additional telecommunications capacity with a reduction in oil and gas demand.


Dedicated systems are those built primarily by one or more Oil & Gas companies to serve their specific offshore facility’s needs. Managed systems are those operated by a third-party telecoms service provider to 1 or more Oil & Gas companies’ offshore facilities.

20 15 10 5 0












Figure 1: Systems by Year, 2016-2023

6 5 KMS (in thousands)

2023 and two of these systems totaling over 1,000 kilometers in length the wider offshore oil & gas industry seems to be embracing the idea of larger, multi-platform systems.

4 3 2 1 0






Figure 2: KMS Added by Year, 2016-2023

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, offshore energy companies have generally preferred to outright own their

telecoms infrastructure in the past. This can potentially provide better flexibility and direct control of overhead costs. As of now, 63 percent of all planned systems through 2023 will be Dedicated and 37 percent will be Managed systems. However, with Tampnet’s landmark acquisition of the BP GoM offshore cable system in August of 2020, SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114




While oil prices are still significantly below those of the last 2018 peak, they have recovered significantly from the bottom out point in Q2 2019. Unfortunately, overall market conditions remain in flux due to the uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic and a general oversupply that has been observed since 2014. Recovery scenarios estimate that pre-pandemic demand levels will not be reached until the


$80 $70 Price per barrel

$60 $50 $40 $30


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(Tampnet Press Release, 2020) a new trend is possibly emerging where commercial telecoms companies own and operate multiple systems specifically for offshore oil & gas clients. Historically, systems like BP GoM had been owned by one or more oil companies that then have to manage the network for any additional third parties that connect to the system. This has the potential to create some conflict as companies essentially must trust their data in the hands of a competitor. Tampnet has already established itself as an independent operator in the North Sea, and as they are looking to replicate that model in the Gulf of Mexico, this opens the doors for other telecoms companies to do the same. The next step would be for a third-party telecoms company like Tampnet to build a brand-new system to service offshore facilities instead of acquiring existing assets – as has been done up to this point. If this model catches on, companies will have to decide for themselves which is the better option for their use case, but more options are almost always a net positive.


Figure 3: West Texas Intermediate Quarterly Price History, 2015-2020

second half of 2021 at the earliest and 2023 at the latest. (World Oil, 2020) Ultimately, outlook for this aspect of the submarine fiber industry is entirely up in the air. The rapid decline of oil prices since the second half of 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the industry at large. This part of the submarine fiber industry normally lives and dies by the price of oil, and if demand and prices continue to be lowered new system growth will be negatively impacted. However, while the price of oil & gas will be slow to recover, there is opportunity for the submarine fiber industry in this market. As companies struggle to reduce operating costs while maintaining production, the need for more automation and remote observation capabilities will increase dramatically. Overall – and as observed by the uptick in planned systems for the next three years – the long-term need for submarine fiber to offshore facilities should continue to grow as the

world moves on from dealing with COVID-19. STF KIERAN CLARK is the Lead Analyst for STF Analytics, a division of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. He originally joined SubTel Forum in 2013 as a Broadcast Technician to provide support for live event video streaming. He has 6+ years of live production experience and has worked alongside some of the premier organizations in video web streaming. In 2014, Kieran was promoted to Analyst and is currently responsible for the research and maintenance that supports the STF Analytics Submarine Cable Database. In 2016, he was promoted to Lead Analyst and put in charge of the newly created STF Analytics. His analysis is featured in almost the entire array of SubTel Forum publications. WORKS CITED Tampnet Press Release. (2020, August 24). Tampnet Agrees to Acquire a 1,200km Offshore Fibre Cable System in the Gulf of Mexico. Retrieved from SubTel Forum: https:// World Oil. (2020, August). Impact of Covid-19 on oil supply, demand and price to 2030. Retrieved from World Oil: https:// impact-of-covid-19-on-oil-supply-demand-and-price-to-2030

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Defined Processes Template Driven PMP Based Project Management Approach Rigorous Documentation Controls Quality Assurance Focused Secure Records Storage Accessible and User Friendly


• In-Field Analysis Without In-Field Risk • Remote real-time analysis and reporting without the added cost of today’s in-field representation liabilities.



FEATURE Interactive Cable Map Updates


he SubTel Cable Map is built with the industry standard Esri ArcGIS platform and linked to the SubTel Forum Submarine Cable Database. It tracks the progress of some 300+ current and planned cable systems, 45+ cable ships, over 800 landing points, as well as mobile subscriptions and internet accessibility data for 254 countries. Systems are also linked to SubTel Forum’s News Now Feed, allowing viewing of current and archived news details. This interactive map is a continual work and progress and regularly updated with pertinent data captured by analysts at SubTel Forum and feedback from our users. Our goal is to make easily available not only data from the Submarine Cable Almanac, but also more and more new layers of system information. Want to learn more about how to use the great features of the map? Take a look at our tutorial video series below: 1. Print Widget 2. General Map Usage 3. Group Filter Widget 4. Select Tool 5. Control Buttons 6. Share Widget 7. Data Centers 8. Cable Ships

We hope you continue to make use of the SubTel Cable Map in order to learn more about the industry yourself and educate others on the importance of submarine cable systems. Please feel free to reach out to our Lead Analyst, Kieran Clark, should you have any comments, questions or updates at STF

Since the last issue of the Magazine, the map has added 7 systems and updated an additional 73. The full list of updated systems are as follows:




Avassa DGASA Grace Hopper HAVTOR Systems Updated AAG Alexandros Alpal-2 Americas I North Americas I South Americas II Asia Direct Cable Atlantis-2 BRUSA CANI Celtic Norse Crosslake Fibre Curie Dunant Equiano Estepona-Tetouan FOA

Galapagos Subsea System GWEN H2 Cable Hawaiki HKA HK-G Japan-US JGA North JGA South Junior MainOne Manatua One MAREA METISS MIST Monet NO-UK PC-1 PCCS PEACE Project Koete RNAL SACS SAEx1

SAEx2 SAM-1 SAPL SAT-3 SEACOM SEAK SEA-US SEAX-1 SkagenFiber South Pacific Subsea Cable Southern Cross Southern Cross NEXT SxS Tampnet Tannat Extension Unisur WALL-LI

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 SYSTEMS ADDED SING Amitie India – Sri Lanka Systems Updated

2Africa Asia Direct Cable BKK Digitek CANI COBRACable Coral Sea Crosslake Fibre Curie DARE1 Eastern Light FOA Guantánamo Bay Cable Guantánamo Bay Cable 2 Indigo Central Indigo West JGA North JGA South Kanawa MainOne MARS Orval PLCN SIGMAR





elcome back to the next edition of Where in World are Those Pesky Cableships. It’s hard to believe another 2 months have gone by already, but here we two-thirds of the way through 2020! This month, I will review the dataset for 45 active cableships on their journeys over the last 60 days. This data was pulled at the end of August and represents the reported activities of the vessels at that time. Similar to what we saw in July, the majority of vessels had reached their destinations on the day the data was collected, with 80% at their announced locations, and 20% in transit. Though it is a 5% increase over July with regards to the number of vessels in transit. Activity, the dataset contains the daily location are reported The Weeks Left in Transit has also seen a slight shift by each vessel, some regions only show activity for a short towards returning to normal, as the number of vessels retime, while others appear for weeks or months. If a ship porting transit times farther out than have been seen since is only in a location for a few days and has high speeds the beginning of the year. With the vast majority of 67% only a few days from reaching their intended destinations, this might just be the end of a cycle that we are seeing, but it will be exciting to see if the length of projects keeps trending up. Regarding Figure 2: Weeks left in Transit the Regions of Figure 1: Arrived at Destination September



on those days, we can deduce that that region was merely a travel lane and little to no work was done there. In July, there were 28 regions in which vessels reported their positions, this is down to 23 regions at the end of August. The region which saw the most significant drop was the Baltic sea which moved from 10% down to 4% bumping South East Asia to the second busiest region, and East Asia to the third spot. South Africa also dropped from 10% to 3% leaving room for the North Sea and Persian Gulf regions to move up in Activity. The Coast of China has seen the steadiest activity this year staying at the top as the most frequented region per the cableship reports. Fleet distribution remains the same with the same 16 companies owning the 45 vessels we track.

Until the next installment, which will be released in mid-November, I hope you take advantage of the SubTel Forum Interactive Cable Map to follow the cableships in real time. We are so thrilled to see that many of you have become regular users of the Cable Maps, and if you haven’t already done so, make sure to bookmark the link below and check our social media pages for the regular updates we make between magazine issues. STF REBECCA SPENCE is the newest member of the SubTel Forum team. She joined our ranks as a Research Analyst at the end of 2019. A graduate of Christopher Newport University, this is Rebecca’s premier article for the STF magazine.

Figure 3: Regions of Activity

Figure 4: Cableship Distribution





Talking Technology Trends with Tampnet’s CCO



Tampnet’s vision is to become a global leader in providing high capacity, low latency and reliable connectivity to offshore installations, mobile rigs, vessels and windfarms. Tampnet’s mission is to add value to our customers through connecting offshore assets to robust and reliable terrestrial networks with high capacity and low latency. Our services shall enable our customers to improve on health, safety, efficiency, welfare and sustainability in their offshore operations. We have an increased focus on traditional carrier telecom services as well, and we have a very attractive fibre network that can provide new alternative routes that don’t follow the normal digital highways for our customers. This provides independence and redundancy for customer traffic, something which is becoming more and more important in the industry.



Tampnet operates the world’s largest offshore high capacity communication network in the North Sea and the Gulf


of Mexico serving customers within Oil & Gas, Wind Energy, Maritime and Carrier sectors with first-class telecommunications. Tampnet Carrier is Tampnet’s European and transatlantic fiber infrastructure network, passing through eight selected countries. Tampnet International Carrier is all about connectivity, capacity, speed, and milliseconds – data transfer with minimum delay - without compromising quality and reliability. Our unique network routes connect 30 vital data centers in 12 European and American cities and central hubs. Tampnet engineers and builds new cables and expansions to our own submarine cable systems and we participate in consortia and partner with others for dark fibre and capacity leases to expand our network reach. Is Tampnet currently involved with any new submarine cable projects? Yes, we are just about to launch a new North Sea connection crossing from Egersund in Norway to Aberdeen in the UK.



Tampnet also installs and operates offshore 4G



and 5G mobile networks enabling coverage, roaming and the digital transformation and internet of things (IoT) for the offshore industry, such as cable ships and other vessels working offshore, offshore windfarms, oil and gas platforms and basically anyone living or working in these remote offshore areas.



Tampnet has agreed to purchase a 1,200km offshore fibre cable system in the Gulf of Mexico from BP. Tampnet intends to continue to develop the fibre system and expand the network to provide direct fibre access and 4G/5G coverage to customers across the maritime industry in the region.



Tampnet keeps expanding our submarine network to other regions in the world and is a frontrunner within digitalization making maritime and offshore energy industries more sustainable. We will work hard to maintain SubTel_Ad_May2020.pdf 1 29/04/2020 12:50:59 PM

our position as the largest global provider of high capacity telecommunications services in the offshore domain, and keep our customers happy by delivering unprecedented, best quality support and services! STF TRYGVE HAGEVIK has held the position as Chief Commercial Officer CCO of Tampnet for well over 11 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 400 fixed and mobile offshore assets with high capacity and low-latency communications. With the recently announced acquisition of BP’s Gulf of Mexico fiber system, Tampnet now owns and operates a network based on 4100 km of subsea fibre optic cables, about 140 offshore microwave line of sight links and around 100 offshore 4G/5G LTE base stations, providing approximately 200,000 square miles of offshore LTE coverage between the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. 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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Proudly supporting AARNet and the Oceania research community since 2003.


Helping our customers in this time of crisis.

fast. direct. secure SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114







Ragnhild Katteland We believe the green sector should be regarded as a core component of our economic recovery from our global pandemic, rather than act as a hindrance to growth. Let’s use this and let all governments everywhere use this opportunity to really push this market to ensure that we are increasing and pushing forward towards greener energy. The UK is definitely at the forefront, but other countries are catching up quickly. And I think for European countries like Poland, France and The Netherlands, for example, they’ve already issued green sovereign bonds. Their spending process is for specific environmental projects such as renewable energy or public transport. Norway is looking into direct funding of technology development for floating offshore wind farms as well to push the green movement. Ulrik Stridbaek: The path towards decarbonization and developing renewable energy infrastructure is a very sensible thing to do in the first place. It is a route that any country will have to take sooner or later. So, combining the two crises, the health crisis and the climate crisis, and taking that opportunity to start investing or intensify investing in renewable energy investments that will have to take place anyway. We cannot afford to not do that.


he following is an edited discussion of a few core topics at a recent Nexans-hosted virtual roundtable on Enabling the Global Energy Transition. The session was moderated by former Sky News and BBC anchor and business reporter, Sarah Lockett. Participants were: • Ragnhild Katteland, CEO, Nexans Norway and EVP, Subsea and Land Systems Business Group; • John Hill, Project Director, SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy); and • Ulrik Stridbæk, VP Group Regulatory Affairs, Ørsted, the Danish multinational power company.

John Hill In the UK, it’s part of a long-term program investment in renewables and regulatory change to allow significant investment, particularly in the electricity sector. Last year, the new auction ran over six gigawatts that was allocated for offshore wind. That means some 20 billion of investment is now actively happening. And next year, there will be another auction round with a similar amount. Within the electricity sector, the vast majority of funding is flowing towards renewables.

NEED FOR GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES? RISK MANAGEMENT Ulrik Stridbaek I think there is a very big difference between subsidies, which is defined by being the cost gap between the fossil alternative, and renewable alternatives. But a very different thing is the need for risk management in order to bring this investment forward. Governments are leading the way in these investments, at least in the UK, because we all understand that we will have to do a lot of electrification. But we as investors, Ørsted, SSE and others, we don’t quite know when exactly the need for the electricity will be SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114



(Left upper corner and then clockwise): Ragnhild Katteland, CEO, Nexans Norway and EVP, Subsea and Land Systems Business Group; Sarah Lockett, former Sky News and BBC anchor and business reporter (event moderator); John Hill, Project Director, SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy); Ulrik Stridbæk, VP Group Regulatory Affairs, Ørsted, the Danish multinational power company

there. I think this requires a private-public agreement. This is why these investments will still need a firm contract, not a subsidy. It’s actually a very good deal but it’s an agreement on a firm contract since the political uncertainties are so big. John Hill What we’ve seen, and that maybe is not fully understood, is that offshore wind is not a subsidized technology anymore – it does not require government subsidy. I think the biggest challenge is the more renewables you get on any given system, what is the mechanism for a route to market for these generation projects?

CLEAN ENERGY SPEND John Hill I see that the vast majority of spend is going into renewables technology in the UK. In other countries, it may well be different. So, in a way, the electricity sector is the first to green or decarbonize its way with the transport sector second. Ulrik Stridbaek Globally, you may be right that in terms of spend, a lot is



going into fossil-based such as in China and India. Certainly, in Europe and in North America, the vast majority is going into renewable energy. It’s simply the preferred choice today. Of course, there’s still some fossil-based plant projects going on that were planned some time ago. But for the vast majority, the big focus in Europe is in renewable energy and supporting systems like grids, which attracts the investments today. Ragnhild Katteland We’re working very closely together with developers to set these costs at the right level since they are really competing with the fossil energy sector. For example, in the UK, Nexans Subsea and Land Cables, with SSE, and also with Seagreen, is providing power for up to one million Scottish homes, helping the UK achieve these green energy targets that we are seeing in the future. Ulrik Stridbaek Onshore wind, installed at good positions, is even cheaper than offshore wind. The only problem with that is that there is quite a lot of local resistance and so there are limits to what can be built. Offshore wind is the bulk resource of

very cheap electricity that we have around the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, near or along the Northeastern U.S. and in some parts of Asia. Since people live on land, and offshore wind is out of site, this bulk supply of cheap renewable resources is a fantastic opportunity and possibility.

FLOATING OFFSHORE WIND Ragnhild Katteland At least for our industry, the cabling industry, floating offshore wind will use a similar technology as we already use for other types of platforms. I guess that’s why Ørsted, and others such as oil companies, are jumping into floating offshore wind. To make this move forward, I do think that we need to put in place the same schemes as we did when we started the first offshore wind activities. This means a joint effort between governments funding the industries and developers to make this a cost-effective and reliable solution. We have already enabled the first commercial wind farm, in operation since 2017, Hywind Scotland. It’s working well and now we have several floating offshore wind farms being developed. John Hill We see offshore floating wind as a future technology. It obviously opens huge new areas of seabed to development of wind generation. But obviously the cost competitiveness of that is going to be critical. As a technology it may be five to 10 years out to make it as cost-competitive as current technologies. The next round of UK government allocations is the middle of next year. The government is currently consulting on how that round of auctions should be structured. Floating is one of the technologies they’re looking at and how they would support a development phase for that type of technology. It can’t compete today against current offshore wind technology and therefore it needs separate government support to make the projects viable or to develop and test the technologies. It looks like they are going for it, as far as we can tell at the moment, and it’s the same in Scotland which is promoting floating offshore wind as well. Ulrik Stridbaek I agree with John that floating will, everything else being equal, continue to be more costly than bottom-fixed. Maybe, at some point, it will be able to compete directly but floating is for that reason, mainly relevant now for those coasts and countries that have deep waters where they do not have shallow coastlines. While there is some capacity for bottom-fixed, if these locales really want to scale up, it will have to be floating.

CHALLENGES FOR EUROPE TO ACHIEVE CLIMATE NEUTRALITY Ragnhild Katteland There are several different things to consider. But there are three key areas that I see as important to achieve this. It’s supply security, operability and of course sustainability. For supply security, we need to have good reliability of the supplies and it will be even more important as electricity becomes the primary energy source. The grids and the distribution networks will need to be smarter and more resilient to cater to new loads like electric vehicles. And it’s also to increase the centralization of higher levels of intermittency. For the subsea grids and for the new interconnectors, it will be needed to promote energy trading. We need to build this to be climate neutral and to build on the subsea grids new interconnectors for wind, solar and so on. We have some cities that have come a very long way, smart cities, combining all of these. And then of course on the high-level grids, you are also connecting countries to ensure that we have the supply security in place in case something happens to your network.

US RENEWABLES OPPORTUNITY, INCLUDING CALIFORNIA, WITH ITS CARBON NEUTRAL ECONOMY BY 2045 Ulrik Stridbaek Ørsted is active in both onshore and offshore wind in the U.S. Onshore wind has been advancing at a very high speed over many years and it’s attracting a lot of investment. The same is true of solar PV. The main reason for attracting these investments is that it’s common sense, it’s good business and it’s competitive. States along the northeastern U.S. have fantastic conditions for offshore wind. They have been starting to develop regulatory schemes to support that over the last few years. We and others are also there with investments now taking place. There are, of course, a lot of political issues that must be discussed and dealt with. But investments are taking place and it’s a very, very promising market. American policymakers have seen this opportunity as a job creator. Ulrik Stridbaek The California policymakers are definitely attentive to the offshore opportunity; but, their coastline gets deep very quickly. It will have to be floating. It is fairly high on their list of priorities to meet their 2045 decarbonization target. Ragnhild Katteland They’re truly pushing floating there and have formed SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114


FEATURE many consortiums with industry to push this forward. Nexans is supporting Ørsted and other developers differently in the U.S. market. We see this as an important market and believe they will be pushed towards wind, especially on the west coast, in the very near future. We are setting up our submarine cable factory in the southeastern U.S. for this.

POWER GENERATION AND CABLES Ragnhild Katteland For Nexans, the technical challenge is to develop the cables for these wind farms and to have the power cables installed so that they work in a reliable, sustainable way for all the years that these wind farms are operating. The only thing you need to do is to check the cable ends on a regular basis. But as for the cables themselves, if there’s no anchoring or similar damage, they can be left alone. The cable technology itself is mature. What we do for each project is conduct a proper review and design of the cable routes, installation options and protection of the cables. Ragnhild Katteland The design of the cables---it’s just a selection of the proper technology for the distance. We have two different technologies, depending on the distance and the power needed to bring onshore, as well as the size of the wind farms. With wind farms situated out at sea, there isn’t so much a problem as a need for planning and engineering. Wind farms are not that far out at sea, so you have one export cable from the wind farm to shore. There’s no boosting required since the distance is not that far. John Hill Most UK projects are within 70 to 100 kilometers of shore. The next generation of projects will be 150 kilometers offshore. For that distance, and maybe more, you’ll need to turn to HVDC technology. Ragnhild Katteland We do have that technology as well. In terms of interconnectors, we are now up to 750 kilometers – one long run with an interconnector. Here too, these are mature technologies and are typically used between countries and/or islands like Norway-UK, Denmark-Norway and Germany-UK.

OFFSHORE WIND GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT Ulrik Stridbaek Development focus is first in relatively shallow waters



since its cheapest though not necessarily close to shore. In fairly shallow waters and because of the sand seabed, it’s bottom-fixed even if it’s quite far from shore. Though the step change is of course moving to floating, but I think the real change will be rapid growth. Today, we have around 25 gigawatt of offshore wind installed in Europe. By 2050, that will probably grow to 450 gigawatt. It’s a massive increase and we will have to scale up. It will be driven by bigger turbines and by building larger farms and clusters of farms. That’s the change which brings us back to what Ragnhild spoke about earlier. We will have to connect these offshore wind farms to more than one market so that we can not only send the offshore wind power to shore but to different shores and trade. And if I can add to the earlier discussion of balancing and storage, what I find fascinating is that maybe the biggest problem is also our best solution. Namely that to achieve what we need to achieve, we will also have to go to produce hydrogen and other advanced fuels so that we can put renewable energy into the tanks of airplanes, ships and heavy trucks. If we can place that hydrogen production intelligently, and connect offshore wind farms with more markets, then we can solve these core problems in heavy transportation while at the same time address the main balancing problems that we have. In summary, we will need to build the grids, build the offshore wind farms and build hydrogen production intelligently. John Hill I think the next step change will be the size of turbines. If we look at what’s happened in the last 10 to 12 years, turbines have doubled in size about every five years. A decade ago, we were at three megawatts and now we’re talking about 15-megawatt turbines. This is driving significant cost reductions. When you look at coastlines in the UK, there are vast areas that can still be developed in relatively shallow waters before you really need to go into deeper offshore waters. Other countries may need to go into deep waters relatively quicker.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON OFFSHORE WIND AND CABLES John Hill Personally, I think the technology that’s been proven over the last 10 or 15 years with offshore wind continues to improve in terms of economics but is still midway through its evolution. It could potentially demonstrate a huge reduction in the cost of energy, which it’s done already, with even more going forward. Every country that has a possibility of developing will need to seriously consider it,

for the economies and for reasons of renewable energy and decarbonization itself. Ragnhild Katteland: In the big picture, cable technology is very stable with incremental improvements along the way. As an example, we are delivering, more or less, the same cable today as we delivered in the early 70’s, supported by ongoing improvements in our manufacturing technology. Ulrik Stridbaek: Following up on John and Ragnhild’s comments, we’re probably at the end of the beginning. Now we have developed this technology, we know how to do it and how we can make it even cheaper. It’s no longer a discussion about whether we can afford it or not but about whether we can afford not to do it. This is going to be a resource that underpins European competitiveness. STF RAGNHILD KATTELAND is CEO, Nexans Norway and the executive vice president of Subsea and Land Systems Business Group in Nexans, heading the Sales, Marketing & Tendering and Project Management & Operations depart-

ments which also includes marine and land installation. Prior to this position, Katteland has held several positions in Nexans within technical, project management, sales and purchasing – but always linked to high voltage cable systems. Katteland holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Norwegian University of Technology in Trondhiem, Norway. JOHN HILL is project director for the £3Bn 1140MW Seagreen offshore windfarm owned by SSE and Total and being built off the coast of Scotland. Prior to this role, Hill had been project director for the development and/or construction of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm, West of Duddon Sands and Greater Gabbard, which together with Seagreen represents 2.6GW of capacity and four of the largest of the UK’s offshore wind projects. John’s career has spanned the development, construction and financing of many power infrastructure projects, working for EoN, Alstom and SSE. ULRIK STRIDBAEK, vice president at Ørsted, is the head of Regulatory Affairs. He is responsible for managing Ørsted’s stakeholder engagement on regulatory and policy issues. He has worked at Ørsted for 12 years. Before joining Ørsted, he was a senior policy advisor at the International Energy Agency, where he was responsible for electricity sector analysis, giving policy advice to member governments. He worked at the IEA for 4 years. Stridbaek has worked in the energy sector on energy sector analysis, regulation and policy for more than 20 years with a focus on power market design, transmission regulation, energy economics and green transition. He holds a master’s degree in Economics. SARAH LOCKETT, the panel moderator, is a TV news anchor and reporter who has worked for Sky News, Channel Four News, BBC News 24, ITN and Forces TV. She has also written for newspapers and high-profile publications alongside her broadcast news career.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Oil & Gas industry in several ways. The price of oil has crashed from $64.37 per barrel to $40.50 per barrel and the outlook for the rest of the year is for oil prices to remain below $40 (US EIA, 2020). Against this backdrop, according to the International Energy Agency, the cost of oil production in Nigeria remains high when compared to that of other oil-producing countries, thus compounding the challenges faced by the oil and gas industry in this region. This article examines how indigenous Oil & Gas companies are adapting their infrastructure requirements by leveraging solutions from Data Center and Cloud providers to improve operations, save cost on legacy equipment and enhance business resilience against the drop of oil prices and improve responsiveness to market changes. With case studies from Seplat, Lekoil and JMG, this paper will also highlight critical strategic decisions that indigenous Oil & Gas companies can make to further boost the efficiency of their operations as they navigate the current landscape and adapt to the new realities of doing business. INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGE IN THE OIL & GAS SECTOR

The Oil and Gas industry has taken advantage of innovative technologies like mission critical supply chain and asset management applications, device networking, predictive maintenance, remote monitoring and smart oilfields technology to continually improve production efficiency, and ensure operations run safely. As a result, many Oil & Gas companies have invested in self-owned data centers and high-computing systems to manage the large volumes of data generated from day-to-day operations, in addition to exploration activities. Aside from the high initial capital investment required to build a datacenter and associated operating expense to maintain infrastructure and manpower required for electricity, cooling, networking and security, these organizations run the repeated risk of having equipment and infrastructure that cannot expand or scale without purchasing and installing additional devices.

As operations become more digitized, many companies in the industry are looking towards the strategic advantages of Internet of Things (IoT), Big data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to differentiate and stay competitive. There is no doubt that the infrastructure required to support the compute power, storage, scale, and speed of these technologies is best provided by Cloud technology.


Migrating to Datacenter and Cloud service providers makes it easier for Oil and Gas businesses to quickly deploy new virtual data centers at a fraction of the cost required to procure physical equipment. Due to several commercial benefits, from scalability and reduced cost of ownership, Cloud computing is becoming a desirable model to Oil and Gas companies as it allows them to reduce capital investments in hardware and enjoy computing resources SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114


FEATURE MainOne provides the freedom to create a virtual environment from a pool of Cloud Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) resources including compute, memory, storage, bandwidth, firewall, load balancer and network security, based on specific application requirement.

that can scale up or down rapidly in response to changing project needs. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) companies provide this infrastructure with guaranteed levels of uptime and security, in shortened planning cycle.


The digital transformation of Oil and Gas enterprises is a huge systematic undertaking therefore, support from technology companies is required to reduce risk and ensure successful and timely completion. Here are some business benefits that can be realized by a partnership with MainOne to overcome the challenges of infrastructure include:



Data residency remains a key issue that concerns businesses, in addition to availability, security and performance of the infrastructure.

MainOne delivers Colocation and Cloud Services from its Tier-III data center, MDXI, located in Nigeria, ensuring compliance with data localization for the highly regulated Oil and gas industry. MDXi is certified with PCI-DSS, ISO 9001 and ISO27001 standards, allowing customers to meet regulatory and governance compliance.


Data residency remains a key issue that concerns businesses, in addition to availability, security and performance of the infrastructure. This Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index Report finds that 85 percent of the 2,650 IT decision makers surveyed in multiple industries and business sizes from the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa see hybrid cloud as their ideal IT operating model.


MainOne provides a flexible Cloud environment allowing Oil and Gas companies ramp up services quicker as it is no longer dependent on a fixed server environment.



We leverage economies of scale to manage critical ICT Infrastructure at low costs. Cloud computing uses remote resources, saving organizations the cost of operating data centers, cost of servers, and other equipment.


As a carrier-neutral data center conne2c0t2e0d to a plethora of Internet Service Providers, Network Services and Internet Exchanges, Oil and Gas companies hosted within our Data Centre facility can easily build the network infrastructure that meets their specific needs from a broad range of connectivity options.


Built on enterprise-grade infrastructure and housed in the best data centre in Nigeria, MainOne Cloud provides low latency from 10ms, faster response times, and better experience for business-critical workloads within West Africa.


MainOne has provided mission-critical data center and Cloud services, to large enterprises in West Africa for over 5 years without any downtime, offering maximum availability and security for critical business applications (like ERP/ SAP systems). Depending on requirements, we either collocate your servers in our data center or host them on our Cloud infrastructure, and below are some success stories from similar companies we have partnered with:


As one of the largest indigenous players in Nigeria’s upstream exploration and production sector, Seplat had managed an on-premise data center, along with smaller server sites at key locations, but as operations expanded, intermittent downtime caused by a range of issues tied to power and cooling was being experienced at its primary data center facility. MainOne delivered a comprehensive data center solution that improved the stability of Seplat’s IT infrastructure with zero downtime leading to cost savings, increased flexibility, and productivity, without having to tie up capital in infrastructure.


As an African exploration, and production company with interests in Nigeria and Namibia, Lekoil needed to expand development opportunities while reducing operational costs. By outsourcing its critical infrastructure to MainOne’s Data center facility, MDXi, the organization achieved a flexible solution for its core IT infrastructure operations enabling them to acquire the needed digital capabilities and focus on core business operations while entrusting its high availability technology requirements to a competent partner.


JMG had a direct connection to the data center and access to its other providers. As a result, JMG achieved improved performance, uptime, and substantial decline in latency, by more than half, because of switching provisioning from European data centers to Lagos.


As the global economy continues to navigate its way in the “new normal”, the oil and gas industry remains one of the most crucial sectors to the Nigerian economy. The current crisis has pushed these businesses in Nigeria to accelerate digital transformation to reduce the complexity of managing costly infrastructure while improving agility and innovation. As an end-to-end provider of Connectivity, Datacenter and Cloud services, MainOne provides the capacity to match global best practices in the deployment, operations, and management of critical ICT infrastructure including Colocation and multi-Cloud solutions while complying with local regulatory standards. With investments in the in-country deployment of Microsoft Azure Stack, MainOne can offer the same public Cloud technology with a local footprint. The Azure service from the Tier-III MDXi datacenter in Lagos allows Oil and Gas businesses in Nigeria to enjoy the flexibility of Cloud computing hosted on our in-country cloud to ensure faster access and allowing you rapidly scale your deployment as per your needs. MainOne’s commitment is to work as partners to the indigenous Oil and Gas customers in navigating their journey to the Cloud with confidence to speedily reap the benefits of their digital transformation journey. What is more, MainOne offers managed cloud services and managed security domain expertise to organizations that require a 360-degree support across all levels. MOJEED ALUKO is the acting head of Marketing for MainOne Group and subsidiaries across West Africa and International markets. He has thirteen years’ experience in Product Innovation, Sales & Marketing across mobile and fixed carrier sectors in Nigeria. He is married, with two kids and loves reading and playing soccer.

As one of Nigeria’s largest providers of power generation solutions and electrical infrastructure, with two subsidiaries in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. JMG opted to migrate its critical business applications (ERP and CRM) from an offshore public Cloud platform to a regional Cloud Service provider to bring its infrastructure closer to its end-users and improve user experience with reduced latency and lower dependence on international connectivity. MainOne also provided a secure and reliable MPLS connection to ensure SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114



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lobal occupational health services company, Iqarus, is now carrying out 50% of all consultations remotely, to protect the health of energy industry workers. This has been fueled by the impact of COVID-19, soaring from just 2% usage before the pandemic. Iqarus, an International SOS company, has been working around the clock with clients to support those with confirmed cases of coronavirus and implement preventative measures. This is alongside providing sickness absent management via video or telephone calls. The secure telemedicine platform provides video conferencing for return to work and routine occupational health consultations, which are often required by international oil and gas firms. Saskia Koske, head of onshore operations, said: “We developed this process around five years ago to streamline our service offering and make appointments easier for clients to manage. Remote appointments are cost and time efficient, reducing downtime and travel, but only around 2% of the 60,000 consultations every year were carried out digitally. This has now dramatically accelerated.” A 45-minute video call appointment allows a clinician to host video consultations, issue reports or certificates and



update patient records confidentially. Patients can access the digital service from anywhere in the world to communicate with a medical specialist securely and easily. The service is fully secure and compliant with the data protection and security provisions required of medical information handlers. In addition, International SOS is the first company globally to receive ISO certification for TeleHealth services. Medical director, Dr Louise Slaney, said: ‘Digital consultations prioritise patient wellbeing and safety regardless of geographical distance as well as offering cost efficiencies for organisations. They allow us to implement clear consistency and clinical governance - from the consent process to triage and clinical support. ‘Many of the cases we treat within sickness absence are related to mental health. Being able to talk openly about issues or concerns from the comfort of a patient’s own home can make this often-difficult conversation easier.’ Dr Slaney added: “We will continue to explore further opportunities to use digital innovation to improve healthcare for our clients and their employees.”

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LESSONS FROM THE SEAFLOOR: How Knowledge from the Telecom Industry is Informing Offshore Wind Development


ubsea telecom cables have been vital to supporting global connectivity since the first was installed in the 1850s. Over 150 years later, the global network now consists of more than 300 planned or in service cable systems, connecting all six inhabited continents and many places in between. With so many decades of experience, the industry has seen a steady stream of innovations, particularly in the fields of knowledge generation and monitoring systems. SMART (Science Monitoring and Reliable Telecommunications) cables are poised to gather data on environmental parameters, shifting weather patterns, and even seismic activity and resultant tsunami risks. In addition to these modern data troves, the past century and a half of cable projects have yielded knowledge on seafloor mapping and modelling, environmental variables, and ecological shifts. Alongside this wealth of information,



BY EMMA MARTIN existing coastal and maritime infrastructure capabilities have also developed, increasing the speed and efficiency of manufacturing and services both on land and at sea. It is our hope that the lessons and skills learned in the subsea telecom and power industries can aid the efficient growth of offshore wind.


Offshore wind is exhibiting a global boom, and some areas, including the East Coast US, are poised for massive growth within the decade. The US Department of Energy 2018 Offshore Wind Market Report suggests that US offshore wind capacity could grow to 11-16 gigawatts by 2030. Similarly, the U.S. Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment created by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) stated that the United States can ex-

pect to host up to 83,000 jobs and $25 billion USD Annual Economic Output from the offshore wind industry— all within the next decade. New developments by nature must include additional subsea cables (array and export power cables) while also growing concurrently with the global telecom network. “In developing offshore wind it is critical that early dialogue with stakeholders happens at both the industry, and project, levels. Cables, both power and telecoms, are a key topic and that dialogue will shape how the sectors can co-exist,” said Alastair Dutton, Chair of the Global Offshore Wind Task Force at the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). With the knowledge and experience of 150 years in pioneering subsea cable infrastructure, the telecom industry is well-positioned to support and enhance the rapid development of offshore wind. “For example, the European Subsea Cable Association (ESCA) formed a Renewables & Power Cables Subgroup which working jointly with Renewables UK, Renewable Energy Association and the Crown Estates developed industry guideline “The Proximity of Offshore Renewable Energy Installations & Submarine Cable Infrastructure in UK Waters” a document that has now been widely adopted” said Stephen Dawe the ESCA Chairman. We at Seagard are committed to maintaining our high quality of service in monitoring and protecting subsea assets. In taking what we have learned through our work in the telecom industry, we are committed to supporting our partners in offshore wind as they navigate a period of great growth and change. By pushing for effective information sharing and commitments to long-term sustainable development, both industries can position themselves well to weather future storms and the new wave of challenges, including those related to large scale climate change and sustainable development.


Seafloor mapping operations undertaken to support telecom infrastructure have provided some of the most concrete and useful knowledge sources for the transition to offshore wind energy. Open source archives online, such as the SubTel Forum global Cable Map and TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map, allow stakeholders to have a clear, complete, and updated view of international cable networks. This sets a precedent for other maritime industries to follow; we see this reflected in some of the most comprehensive OW trackers available, including the 4C Offshore Wind Database and the EMODnet wind energy database. While the location and extent of the existing maritime infrastructure is important to have on record, the associat-

ed hydrological, geological, and ecological data from these surveys is also invaluable. These data allow us to plan the most efficient routes for future cable projects and provide key insights into important natural processes in the region, which may impact, or be impacted by, human activities. Understandably, survey data are not always made publicly available. However, there are several official bodies working to facilitate better data sharing and communication, including the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA) based out of New England. This organization is “dedicated to research, communication, and regional collaboration on offshore wind development and fisheries,” and aims to keep stakeholders up to date on the latest information so that any environmental impacts can be identified and mitigated more efficiently. “From BOEM’s perspective, including all stakeholders in the renewable energy leasing process is essential to a strong resource management program,” a spokesperson from the Bureau of Ocean Energy ManageMAY 2020 | ISSUE 112


FEATURE ment comments, “BOEM is committed to working with all our stakeholders – which includes state and local governments, the U.S. military, other federal government agencies, fishing and maritime communities, federally recognized Tribes, and the offshore wind industry – to ensure any potential development takes all ocean uses into account.” Collaboration will continue to remain key as the existing network of installations becomes more complex.


In order to produce and install such a large amount of innovative maritime infrastructure within such an ambitious timescale, the terrestrial infrastructure to engineer, manufacture, and distribute all of these elements must also exist. In the US, there are several new initiatives underway to encourage college students and established skilled laborers to flock to the field of offshore wind. Advertisements for skills and technology workshops are regularly popping up in newsletters and on websites like LinkedIn, and universities have begun to offer a plethora of degree tracks and courses aimed at the industry, such as those of the Wind Energy Center at UMass and the Offshore Wind Energy Engineering program offered at Tufts. In doing so, the industry hopes to work toward its ambitious employment targets. With their knowledge of the maritime industry, subsea cable operators may easily transition to serve in roles for offshore wind initiatives.



Large supply ports, such as the Port of Providence catering to the Block Island Wind Farm project off of Rhode Island, are for the most part positioned in areas in which maritime infrastructure had already been developed. Improvements for coastal infrastructure to support offshore wind installations are planned for key ports along the East Coast, including Boston and New York, as multiple new windfarms in the region could swamp these already humming coastal hubs. Further complicating the issue, the Jones Act requires that all shipping of merchandise or personnel between US destinations must be carried out by US-flagged vessels. As such, choices of departure points and vessels for project requirements may be further limited and will likely encourage local port revitalisation, as has been seen through offshore wind development in Europe. Existing infrastructure is also a topic when planning new and replacement installations for telecom or energy projects. It is critical that developers and other stakeholders are aware of the location and extent of existing subsea infrastructure so that any damage or injuries due to contact can be avoided. This can best be achieved through a network of global and regional representatives for both subsea cables and offshore wind. This is outlined by a BOEM spokesperson, where “BOEM encourages communication between lease holders and the North American Submarine Cable Association (NA-

In the US, there are several new initiatives underway to encourage college students and established skilled laborers to flock to the field of offshore wind.

SCA), telecom cable owners, and operators during project development. In addition, BOEM has participated in interagency working groups on the topic of protecting this critical infrastructure and recommends following widely recognized guidance developed by the International Cable Protection Committee.”


Many of the services previously focused on subsea telecoms can effectively transition to support the offshore wind industry. “Marine suppliers and contractors that support the subsea telecom and power cable industries are also able to support the development of offshore wind by providing talent, development services, and subsea cable manufacturing and installation,” said Ryan Wopschall, ICPC (International Cable Protection Committee) General Manager. Larger companies especially are well suited to invest in expanding their offerings to serve multiple maritime industries. Important innovations in onsite repairs and increasing availability of crew transfer vessels (CTVs) will go a long way toward minimizing downtime. This decreases overall costs relating to downtime and reinforces the reputability of the telecom or power provider. The average downtime for telecom cable repairs is trending around 23 days (SubTel Forum Industry Report, 2019/2020), while that of subsea power cables averages 107 days (Cigre Statistics). To further decrease potential downtime, organizations may band together to form cable maintenance agreements. For example, the Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) is a cooperative organization with more than 60 members in the region, representing telecoms, power cables, and oil and gas. By buying in to this cooperative scheme, cable and pipeline providers contribute to the availability of constant on-call coverage. In the event of a fault, repair vessels could be onsite in significantly less time, compared to sourcing them individually. Similar schemes will continue to be of great use in offshore wind energy power cables and other seafloor infrastructure projects. Furthermore, services such as AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) inspections and monitoring have become increasingly popular for mitigating, identifying, and responding to subsea cable faults. Drone inspection services and associated professionals could certainly direct their

attention to the offshore wind industry, which has already focused on incorporating aerial drone inspections on a regular basis. Additionally, regular depth of burial surveys using Multibeam and Side Scan sonar also contribute toward adaptive management strategies, facilitating the identification of risk factors prior to cable fault occurrence. Aerial and subsea inspections, coupled with regular depth of burial surveys, provide a complete monitoring and identification service for this crucial industry infrastructure. Another key service area that offshore wind energy installations will need to take advantage of is that of onsite guard vessels and active asset monitoring. During installation and the early years of a project, subsea infrastructure may be particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic threats. For subsea cables, approximately 70% of cable faults are caused by human activities, and a total of 65% occur due to fishing activities (ICPC; Carter et al. 2009). While the surface infrastructure will likely be well equipped to handle any potential threats, the vital connections and power cables on the seafloor may not be. Recently, there has been much discussion over how best to ferry traffic routes through the Vineyard Winds project block off the coast of Massachusetts. Some parties are advocating for a single wide route through the project, while others are advocating for a grid of routes intersecting each of the turbines. Many fishers are requesting wider routes than those currently suggested to accommodate safe return to shore in case of emergencies relating to engine troubles or inclement weather events. Either way, vessel traffic is likely to continue through this region. While vessels are not likely to be actively fishing between the turbines, issues relating to dragged gear or improper anchoring (in an emergency or otherwise) could arise. The European Subsea Cables Association backed Kingfisher Information Systems Cable Awareness project (KISCA) identified the impact of fisheries on the renewable sector early on and incorporated their infrastructure into the scheme, as such was devised. Details of telecoms, power and renewable infrastructure is freely disseminated to European fisheries to be installed on the fleets navigation systems. In addition, a dedicated monitoring team and guard vessels onsite can ensure that the critical infrastructure assets are protected at all times. This can avoid significant losses of time, money, and reputation in the event of unexpected faults and resultant downtime.

Important innovations in onsite repairs and increasing availability of crew transfer vessels (CTVs) will go a long way toward minimizing downtime.



FEATURE We at Seagard seek to support maritime innovation that leads to safer, cleaner, and more efficient use of our global marine resources. Over the past several years, we have been working with industry partners around the globe. Moving forward, we hope to continue broadening our services to provide for growth during this period of unprecedented change.


While it is true that the leasing, licensing, and construction processes can be quite lengthy, the subsea cable industry has managed to navigate historic precedents along the way.

Recent articles have addressed bureaucratic processes as key barriers in the rapid transition to offshore wind. While it is true that the leasing, licensing, and construction processes can be quite lengthy, the subsea cable industry has managed to navigate historic precedents along the way. Notably, several treaties protect submarine cables, beginning with the International Convention for the Protection of Submarine Cables (1884) and continuing through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, 1982). Today, conversation is focused on how the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty will potentially deal with submarine cable elements. Furthermore, community outreach and stakeholder involvement have been built up over decades of subsea cable projects, and as such, the public is more knowledgeable and increasingly involved in the early planning stages



of new developments. Over the past several decades, the application and permitting processes for subsea cable infrastructure have been streamlined, paving the way for more efficient processing new projects. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), Fisheries Liaison and Mitigation Action Plans (FLMAPs), Cable Burial Risk Assessments (CBRAs), and additional permitting requirements have been in place for subsea cables and can be used accordingly as part of the larger permitting package that serves offshore wind installations. Similarly, issues regarding data sharing and disruption for various marine users are frequently addressed in the telecoms industry, and will continue to play a role in offshore wind. As offshore wind projects continue to roll down the production pipeline, their own specifications and challenges will be resolved as well, informing future projects as telecom networks have done.


Another interesting parallel between telecoms and offshore wind lies in the potential for start-ups and new initiatives to get involved. With such a large scope for growth, the industry is hungry for innovative and challenging programs that will increase safety, efficiency, and sustainability. The potential to cater to developing offshore wind projects has revitalized many coastal ports, particularly as the number of vessels and duration of fishing seasons have shifted over the past century. This also encourages the diversification of businesses on offer in the port, bringing in maintenance, transportation, inspection, survey, and planning work to serve alongside the historic fisheries and port authorities. Startups and SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) have the potential to get in on the ground floor and provide local services that they can then scale in conjunction with growth in offshore wind. In several regions around the world, the subsea cable industry has developed consortiums as a more efficient funding mechanism for shared cable developments. These can contribute to quicker repairs, as mentioned above, but can also be used

to garner support and funding for an installation itself. The offshore wind industry also utilizes consortiums; in 2018, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced a consortium focused on research and development, dealing with topics ranging from site characterization and suitability to supply chain optimization. With the established protective and financial benefits, it is likely that more project funding consortiums will come into play for offshore wind.


While the telecom industry has been operating for quite some time and has made significant advances in our knowledge of benthic marine environments, climate change is one issue that we will have to face in conjunction with all offshore maritime industries and the wider world. The push for projects concerning environmental monitoring and communications is spreading throughout the industry, with a current focus on issues relating to marine megafauna and fisheries targets. Initiatives such as SMART cables and similar monitoring systems in offshore wind will go a long way towards narrowing existing knowledge gaps and ensuring that we have lengthy and reliable data records as our seas undergo this period of immense change. As mentioned previously, interdisciplinary initiatives such as ROSA will be integral in encouraging data sharing and data tracking as some common fisheries and conservation target species exhibit spatial and temporal distribution shifts. By working together, industry and local stakeholders can broaden our collective knowledge of how the oceans around us will be impacted by climate change related phenomena. As such, we can hope to mitigate issues to the best of our abilities and focus on nurturing sustainable growth of both telecom and offshore wind industries, keeping the world connected and providing reliable sources of clean, renewable wind energy. Similarly, collective knowledge on natural system faults, both for subsea cables and offshore wind infrastructure, will contribute to our understanding of how best to shift future engineering and operation innovations to cope with an increase in strength and frequency of inclement weather events and other climatic factors.


Throughout both industries, a common theme is the importance of early and continued stakeholder engagement. “We stand by the idea that stakeholder engagement and outreach with other maritime users and operators is incredibly important,” Ryan Wopschall, ICPC GM states, “Raising awareness of subsea cables within the offshore renewable energy sector and encouraging developers and stakeholders to contact us in regard to new and ongoing projects will further facilitate safe and efficient use of marine resources and longterm protection of seabed infrastructure.” All marine users must be considered throughout project development, and these considerations, alongside those of public perceptions, will help to pave the way for community buy-in and long term success of these installations. In the past century and a half, humans have come to understand a significant amount about our oceans and how they function. Through the course of hundreds of subsea cable installations, the telecom industry has been at the forefront of uncovering benthic knowledge. Our understanding of seafloor hydrology, shifting sediments, ecological interactions, and even earthquakes and tsunamis has greatly increased. By taking what we have learned and applying it to the burgeoning offshore wind industry, we can best position ourselves to reap the rewards of an extensive renewables network while mitigating social, environmental, and ecological impacts. We have extensive local fisheries and communities networks, professional guard vessels and crews, broad knowledge of the marine environmental and applicable requirements and legislation, and, above all, we have a vision for long-term, sustainable success in harnessing our renewable natural resources for clean energy. To our partners in the offshore wind industry— we are ready and willing to help you reach your goals. STF

The push for projects concerning environmental monitoring and communications is spreading throughout the industry, with a current focus on issues relating to marine megafauna and fisheries targets

EMMA MARTIN is the Marine Systems Associate at Seagard. She has her BA in Biology from Boston University, USA and her MSc in Marine Systems and Policies from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has performed marine field work around the world and looks forward to continuing to support maritime infrastructure developments.






utting aside the health impact of COVID-19, the global lockdown has had a dramatic effect on our working lives. Those of us fortunate enough to still be working have had to adapt to working from home, and we are now hearing that this is resulting in increased productivity and lowering costs for businesses at a time when they need all the help they can get. The lockdown has also had a major impact on internet traffic patterns. According to Telegeography, global internet traffic volumes began to surge in March 2020. In the past 12 months, global bandwidth rose by 35%, compared to 26% growth the previous year. Submarine network traffic has been experiencing a boom for several years, and it begs the questions, how much capacity is left in existing cables, and what technology changes are needed to cope with continuing bandwidth growth?


While there are over 400 submarine cables in operation around the world, they are not all the same type of cable technology. Submarine cables have an operational design life of 25 years, but the transponder technology used on



those cables typically has about a three- to four-year technology innovation cycle. Referring to Figure 1, on the left side we see a dispersion-managed fiber system. This would have been designed in the pre-coherent age with alternative positive- and negative-dispersion fiber lengths to limit the accumulated chromatic dispersion (CD) in the cable. This was a smart decision at a time when CD was considered an undesirable fiber impairment. But modern coherent technology can fully compensate for CD, and the dispersion map for these cables often has low- or even zero-dispersion regions where nonlinear penalties are higher. This limits the ability to achieve higher spectral efficiency using high-order modulation – although it can be mitigated using techniques such as soft-decision forward error correction (SD-FEC) gain sharing. Moving to the center of Figure 1, perhaps the cable operator is lucky enough to operate one of the new, large area/positive-dispersion (LA/D+) cables such as MAREA, Seabras-1, or BRUSA. These cables use a large area fiber type such as Corning’s Vascade 3000, with an effective area of 150 square microns. A large effective area allows the

power of the optical signal to spread out and minimize the nonlinear penalty. At the same time, these cables are built with all positive-dispersion fiber, which also helps offset nonlinear penalties but means that the submarine transponder has to be able to correct for extremely high values of chromatic dispersion. The current trans-Atlantic record stands at 24.2 Tb/s of production capacity (vs. hero capacity of 26.2 Tb/s). So, where do submarine cables go after the LA/D+ cables? There are two practical options – to install amplifiers that work for both the C-band and the L-band (known as a C+L line system), or to change the way we design the C-band amplifier chain in order to allow for more fiber pairs to be deployed on the cable – a technique known as space-division multiplexing (SDM).


Figure 2: The Shannon equation describes the theoretical capacity limit for a fiber pair, and each generation of coherent technology is able to move closer and closer to this limit for a given fiber pair For all fiber types, the key requirement is to use a high-performance optical engine that can operate as close as possible to the theoretical capacity limit of the fiber, which can be calculated using the Shannon equation. Every fiber pair in the world has its own Shannon limit, as it has to be calculated for the type of fiber, the amplifier specifications, and the transponder characteristics. But in simple terms, the Shannon limit for an LA/D+ cable is higher

Figure 1: Capacity options in submarine cable systems

Figure 1: Capacity options in submarine cable systems

than for a dispersion-managed cable. Figure 2 shows the Shannon equation, which is quite simple in that the capacity (C) for a fiber pair is the product of the bandwidth (B) multiplied by a log term that represents the signal (S) to noise (N) ratio. The signal to noise ratio is directly affected by factors such as amplifier noise, but a big part of this term is determined by the performance of the coherent modem in the transponder. Unfortunately, increasing modem performance inside the log term means that doubling the modem capability does not double the capacity on the fiber. Nevertheless, Figure 2 also shows that progressive generations of coherent technology have allowed us to approach the Shannon limit ever more closely for that fiber pair, culminating in fifth-generation technology, which can deliver up to 800 Gb/s data rates per wavelength, depending on distance and fiber type. Despite the fact that we are so close to theoretical capacity limits, coherent transponder technology can continue to evolve by reducing the power consumption and footprint SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114


FEATURE for these high-performance transponders – something that will be a big advantage for submarine cable operators as they think about new types of cable architectures. Moving away from the log term, what does it mean to expand the B term in the Shannon equation?


Since commercial DWDM systems were shipped in the mid-1990s, the whole industry has been focused on the conventional or C-band frequencies, centered around 193.1 THz. The definition of C-band is somewhat loose because it’s something like, “the range of frequencies that my EDFA will amplify with acceptably flat gain.” For a long time, the C-band was considered to be 4 THz wide – equivalent to 80 channels at 50 GHz spacing. By boosting the power of the EDFA and using gain flattening filters, it’s possible to widen the C-band, pushing into the S-band at higher frequencies and the L-band at lower frequencies. This is referred to as “extended C-band,” and commercial systems are widely available with a 4.8 THz C-Band. Recent work on extending the C-band even further, to 6 THz, looks promising. Modern submarine amplifiers have benefited from wider gain bands, but pushing this much beyond 4.8 THz is mainly applicable to terrestrial networks at the moment. In a submarine cable, the amplifier technology is highly specialized for several reasons. First is that it needs to operate reliably for 25 years under extreme conditions. But also, an entire trans-Atlantic amplifier chain has to be powered

Figure 3: C-band vs. C+L-band transmission in a typical submarine cable



from the ends of the cable, and this can be a limiting factor for the number of fiber pairs in the cable, given that the copper conductor providing that power has a resistance of about 0.75 Ω per km, which means a lot of power is lost as heat. Flattening the gain for an amplifier means throwing away a lot of optical gain from some parts of the spectrum, where the gain is highest, in order to come down to the lowest common level. Given that submarine amplifiers are only about 1.2% efficient at converting electrical power into optical gain, that does seem like a waste, and it’s one reason why submarine amplifiers may not be able to extend the gain bandwidth much further. Figure 3 shows a different approach from simply extending the C-band. This is to deploy a cable with C-band EDFAs and L-band EDFAs in parallel. A C+L fiber has approximately double the bandwidth in the Shannon equation, and would therefore be able to provide double the fiber capacity per fiber pair. The first example is the PLCN cable, which includes a trans-Pacific C+L amp chain. As Figure 3 shows, we can achieve up to double the capacity per fiber pair using C+L-band – in this case, the example uses a goal of 80 Tb/s for the entire cable. If each fiber pair can deliver 20 Tb/s of capacity, then we can either deploy four fiber pairs with C-band only or two fiber pairs with C+L-band. Using this approach for such a long cable delivers a massive savings in the number of fiber pairs needed. But it does not affect the total cable capacity because there is not enough electrical power to drive the additional amplifiers for those extra fiber pairs. C+L is one way to “build more road” on a given fiber pair. But an alternative approach is to ignore the L-band, dial back the C-band amplifier power, and tune the transponder modulation to something that is much more efficient when it comes to optimizing capacity and reach. Doing this will actually reduce the capacity per fiber, but it will also reduce the electrical power requirement of

the amp chain for that fiber and thereby allow more fiber pairs to be powered in the cable. This approach has been dubbed space-division multiplexing. Figure 4 shows a direct comparison of two trans-Atlantic cables of almost exactly the same length – MAREA and Dunant. MAREA is an example of a state-ofthe-art LA/D+ cable, with eight fiber pairs and up to 24 Tb/s on each pair (using second-generation transponders) for a total service capacity in the cable of 192 Tb/s. But MAREA operates with very short amp spacing and high-order modulation in the transponder to achieve high spectral efficiency. It would not be possible to deploy another MAREA-style cable with more than eight fiber pairs over this sort of distance because of limitations in powering the additional amps. In contrast, Dunant is a state-of-the-art SDM cable. Each fiber pair is projected to support about 25 Tb/s (using fifth-generation coherent transponders), but by conserving amp power using a variety of strategies, Dunant can support 12 fiber pairs in the cable. If we compare total cable capacity, MAREA supports up to 192 Tb/s and Dunant up to 300 Tb/s – more than a 50% increase. Note that it will be interesting to see what a fifth-generation transponder can achieve on MAREA, as it may be possible to boost its fiber pair capacity by around 25 to 30%. This question should be answered later this year. Submarine Transponder Evolution The history of the development of optical fiber and high-performance transponders has several examples of where the two technologies seemed to get out of sync. Perhaps the most obvious was the development of G.653

Figure 4: Comparing two trans-Atlantic cables – MAREA and Dunant

Figure 5: Fifth-generation submarine transponder feature set

dispersion-shifted fiber in the late 1980s (note the ITU G.653 1.0 standard is dated November 25, 1988). G.653 was developed with its zero chromatic dispersion point in the middle of the C-band, and as the ideal fiber for single-wavelength systems operating at 1550 nm (rather than earlier transponders that operated at 1300 nm). By the time the first G.653 deployments were completed, the industry was introducing DWDM, and operating multiple wavelengths through high-power EDFAs with zero chromatic dispersion was not ideal. Similarly, one could say that the “perfect fiber” for 10 Gb/s DWDM – G.655 LEAF – is not the ideal fiber for modern coherent systems because it has a smaller effective area and lower chromatic dispersion than, for example, MAY 2020 | ISSUE 112


FEATURE “good old G.652” (the first type of single-mode fiber that was widely deployed). Perhaps you can see the problem – that the development and deployment of fiber, and the amount of time that fiber will need to operate in the ground or under the sea, is very long compared to transponder or line system evolution. Transponder vendors have the option to build a coherent optical engine with as many processing tools as possible, which should allow them to deliver optimum performance

Figure 6: SD-FEC gain sharing

Figure 7: The step changes in fixed constellation modulations



under all conditions. In other words, they enable operators to choose which tools to use for different fiber conditions. Figure 5 shows an example of the feature set within a fifth-generation coherent transponder, Infinera’s ICE6 optical engine. Some of these – such as encryption and highgain SD-FEC – will be familiar to many readers. Some of these features enable higher performance in, for example, legacy dispersion-managed submarine cables.


SD-FEC gain sharing is an example. Figure 6 shows how it works. On the left is the chart for a conventional pair of transponders, implemented on separate sleds or line cards. In this example, the goal is to close both channels using PM-16QAM modulation. The vertical axis shows the Q, or quality factor, for the red and green channels. Given that this is a dispersion-managed cable, we can imagine the green channel is operating in an area of high chromatic dispersion and has an excellent Q factor – well in excess of the commissioning limit (CL) for PM-16QAM. Unfortunately, the red channel is operating in a low-dispersion part of the spectrum and is below the CL for PM-16QAM. The only option here is to switch to a less spectrally efficient modulation, such as PM-8QAM, with the loss of 25% of the wavelength capacity.

Because these are separate transponders, there is no way for the green channel to share the additional FEC gain with the red channel. On the right is a dual-channel optical engine such as ICE6. The two lasers on this module can be deliberately tuned to low-dispersion and high-dispersion parts of the spectrum. The FEC for both channels is processed through the same circuit, and as a result, it’s possible for the excess FEC gain from the green channel to be “donated” to the red channel, bringing it up above the PM-16QAM commissioning limit and recovering 25% of the capacity for this channel.


Conventional transponders put out a signal that looks like a single peak of optical energy, and this is modulated at high speeds, with a modern system operating at up to 96 Gbaud. Several optical impairments have a strong baud rate dependency; for example, the magnitude of chromatic dispersion experienced by a given channel is proportional to the square of the baud rate. By using sophisticated processing in the transmitter, it is possible to separate the optical power from a single laser into multiple subcarriers (named after Harry Nyquist, who pioneered the mathematics behind this type of signal processing). Each subcarrier is modulated independently, and this allows us to mitigate the baud rate’s impact on the signal and achieve higher performance.


Probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) is the latest enhancement to high-order modulation, which is the use of multiple amplitude and phase states to encode a digital signal onto the optical carrier. Figure 7 shows the basic problem with “fixed constellation” modulations such as 64QAM, 16QAM, etc. In addition to the fact that the optical reach drops exponentially as we increase spectral efficiency, there are very pronounced steps between the modulations that artificially reduce fiber capacity at certain distances. PCS, which is explained in detail in this white paper, is a technique whereby the probability of transmitting high-power constellation symbols is manipulated in order to smooth out the steps in Figure 7, and also to provide a way to improve optical performance for a given spectral efficiency.


The huge toolkit of coherent processing features can be used to optimize a given transponder to the submarine fiber

type for a given cable – whether that’s a dispersion-managed cable, an LA/D+ cable, or an SDM cable. But it’s clear that these tools bring us very close to the Shannon limit for all these cable types, so what would a future transponder look like? A key trend today is the move toward pluggable optics, such as the OIF 400ZR implementation agreement. This trades reach for small size and low power – given that the goal is 80 km or more, with a QSFP-DD or OSFP form factor consuming less than 20 watts of power. To achieve this, 400ZR implementations use the latest 7 nm ASIC technology. On the horizon. we have next-generation ASICs based on 5 nm node sizes. These may be enablers for a pluggable optical engine with lower power consumption and high performance in the future. They may also allow large-scale transponder designs – ones in which many wavelengths are implemented on a single module. This approach would be ideal for future SDM cables because a 1 petabit trans-Atlantic cable at full capacity would require 2,500 transponders operating at 400 Gb/s, so anything that can be done to ease the operational complexity of such a system would be very welcome.


The submarine networking market is continuing to experience very aggressive growth – most recently driven by lockdown work patterns and a move to home working. Submarine cable design has evolved over time, and now we have a roadmap toward a petabit trans-Atlantic cable in the future. Submarine transponder technology has also evolved, with the latest fifth-generation optical engines delivering a wide variety of operating modes that should deliver record-breaking capacity over all cable types. As we get ever closer to the Shannon limit, the next step in transponder design may be to take advantage of next-generation ASICs to drive down size and power consumption. Or it may be to enable multi-wavelength transponders to deal with the proliferation of wavelengths we will see in next-generation SDM cables. STF GEOFF BENNETT is the Director of Solutions & Technology for Infinera, a leading manufacturer of Intelligent Transport Network solutions. He has over 25 years of experience in the data communications industry, including IP routing with Proteon and Wellfleet; ATM and MPLS experience with FORE Systems; and optical transmission and switching experience with Marconi, where he held the position of Distinguished Engineer in the CTO Office. Geoff is a frequent conference speaker and the author of “Designing TCP/IP Internetworks” published by VNR.

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P’s decision in September 2020 to enter the offshore wind marks another significant win for the offshore wind industry. While the global renewable energy investments have been remarkably resilient in 2020 despite the pandemic and the attendant economic disruption, the offshore wind sector has been a standout area for the renewables. According to the latest research from BloombergNEF1 (BNEF), the Offshore wind financings in the first half of 2020 totalled approx. $35 billion, up 319% year-on-year, well above 2019’s record full-year figure of $31.9 billion, making it one of the busiest 1H ever for offshore wind. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Offshore Wind Outlook 20192, offshore wind is set to expand strongly into a $1 trillion business over the next two decades growing by 13%/year. This is on the back of an impressive growth of 30% / year between 2010 and 2018. There are nearly 150 new offshore wind projects in development around the world. 1 2 IEA (2019), Offshore Wind Outlook 2019, IEA, Paris



The future for offshore winds looks even more promising. According to the IEA, under the current plans and scenarios, the offshore wind sector is expected to see investments in the range of $840 billion to $1.2 trillion over the next two decades. The IEA’s technical analysis suggests that offshore wind’s technical potential is 36 000 TWh / year for near-shore installations. Global electricity demand is currently 23 000 TWh. If the offshore wind installations move further away from the shores into deeper waters as is presently underway, floating turbines could unlock enough energy to meet the world’s total electricity demand 11 times over by 2040. This means that offshore wind can become the mainstay of future electricity systems in the key markets – an important reason why the offshore wind industry is attracting increasing investor interest, including from the likes of oil & gas supermajors and financial institutions.


Europe has been leading the charge to date in the growth and development of the offshore wind industry, in particular, in the European North Seas (led by the Unit-

Annual offshore wind capacity additions by region (source: IEA Offshore Wind Outlook 2019)

ed Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark). This is driven by a combination of high-quality wind resources and shallow water in the North Seas and supportive government policies. • France and the Baltics are expected to be the next growth markets in Europe, together with the North Seas. • China has already become a leading player in the offshore wind space adding 2.3 GW of offshore wind in 2019 and adding the highest capacity of offshore wind in 2018. • New and significant growth markets for offshore wind are developing at a rapid pace in the United States (East Coast), Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

(uncertain) legal and policy measures, offshore wind projects provide a relatively attractive investment opportunity capable of generating stable, risk-adjusted returns.



There are several reasons for the growth in offshore wind, which is likely to continue for the next several decades.


The global energy transition is well underway. The energy markets are responding to legal, regulatory, and policy actions, public concerns, and improvement in energy technology and project economics. BP is only one of the latest oil & gas companies to get on the offshore wind bandwagon, joining the likes of Equinor, Total, Repsol, Shell, and Eni. The governments, corporates, and investors are increasingly adopting net-zero targets and carbon reduction targets in support of the Paris Agreement climate goals. Note that the 2015 Paris Agreement aims to keep the global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Offshore wind is an excellent opportunity to support the global energy transition and decarbonization efforts further as its expansion is estimated to lead to an avoidance of nearly 5-7 billion of CO2 emissions from the power sector.


Offshore wind investments typically offer greater certainty and transparency as the returns are tied to government incentives such as feed-in tariffs and the long-term and stable power purchase agreements, minimizing market risks. These projects are further supported by generally stable legal and policy measures and underpinned by firm offtake contracts. Given the uncertainty in the global energy markets where, for example, certain oil & gas and coal reserves are at the risk of becoming ‘stranded’ assets and subject to

According to BNEF, offshore wind is benefitting from the 67% reduction in levelized costs achieved since 2012. The IEA estimates that the levelized cost of electricity produced by offshore wind will further decline by nearly 60% by 2040. The rated capacities of turbines have been improving and are now in the range of 10-12MW, leading to higher capacity factors. The industry is targeting even larger 15-20 MW turbines. New offshore wind projects have capacity factors of 40%50%, which is very high for renewables. The larger turbines and other technology improvements are helping to make the most of available wind resources. The higher capacity factors mean that the energy generated from offshore wind is considered to be more valuable from an energy system perspective, making it a better fit for displacing coal for baseload generation. As noted above, floating foundation technologies are gaining ground in the offshore wind industry. These technologies have been in use in the oil and gas industry for some time now, which means that the technology and skillsets are transferable and can be deployed with relative ease. The cost reductions and improvement in technology, together with economy-of-scale, standardization, and clustering is leading to lower tariffs in competitive auctions. For example, the strike prices in the September 2019 UK offshore auction were in the range of $ 49-52 /MWh. The prices are expected to decline even further, improving the overall project economics and making offshore wind more competitive with solar and onshore wind.


It is widely recognized that developing efficient supply chains is critical for the success of offshore wind projects. SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114


FEATURE The subsea sector has several decades of knowledge and experience of executing complex subsea projects in often challenging conditions. The growth and requirements of the offshore wind industry provide the subsea sector with the perfect growth opportunity for the next few decades. This includes areas such as the undersea transmission network, which requires large quantities of offshore wind cable, foundations, and other subsea structures and post-completion O&M works for the project’s entire lifecycle. The growth in the offshore wind sector (and the resulting market opportunity for the supply chain) is likely to be turbocharged by the recent developments the floating wind farm space where the costs are falling, and the technology is improving at an even faster pace than the more traditional offshore wind projects. Floating offshore wind projects will unlock areas for project development in deeper waters where regular foundations are not possible but where the quality of the wind resources is higher, leading to higher capacity factors for these projects. According to Wood Mackenzie, the supply chain is already gaining increasing work from the offshore wind sector, while oil and gas operators continue to rein in spending. It is clear that an increase in investment in offshore wind will drive the demand for subsea supply chain components such as power cables. In the United States alone, it is estimated that the subsea cables market for the offshore wind farms could be worth $8bn by 2030,3 with a CAGR of approx. 11% / year, requiring 13,500km in the next decade. The other potential areas of opportunity for the subsea industry include but are not limited to, project management, substation structures, foundations works, steelworks, installation works, and support services, shipping and logistics support, and O&M and inspection services. It is important to that that transmission accounts for approx. 25% of the total costs for a typical offshore wind project, but this is likely to increase to 50% as the new projects are developed further away from the shore and as the cost of turbines and other systems see further reductions. These are areas where the subsea industry is well-placed to service. 3 Forecasting the Next Decade of US Offshore Wind Cable Demand, Business Network for Offshore Wind (BNOW) and SubCableWorld,



Offshore Wind Capex versus Offshore Upstream Oil & Gas Capex (source: Wood Mackenzie)


The supply chain partners must enter into active conversations with the project sponsors and the government to plan for the future. To enable the industry to invest in the supply chain for the long-term, the governments would need to step up and give the right signals to the industry. It needs to lay down clear targets for the offshore wind sector, a predictable timetable for the offshore wind tenders, and sensible and transparent market and contract designs, permitting and planning, and other rules and regulations. A fair amount of work is required in relation to the grid interconnections, the wider transmission network, and the overall legal and regulatory framework. These are early days for the offshore wind industry. Still, the overall direction of travel is clear – energy transition and decarbonization of the global economy, falling costs, improving technology, supportive government policies, and the potential size of the offshore wind resources will drive the growth in offshore wind for the next several decades. The subsea and the oil & gas industries are well placed to benefit from this long term, secular and sustainable growth in the offshore wind industry. STF SHASHANK KRISHNA is a partner with McDermott Will & Emery’s London office. His practice is focused on M&A, joint ventures, project development and financing, and commercial contracts involving complex and high-value energy and infrastructure projects across the value chain. Shashank has over 14 years of experience in a range of industries such as power, renewables, climate change, ESG, telecoms, shipping, oil & gas, LNG, refining and petrochemicals, infrastructure, metals, mining, and commodities. He has advised on transactions and assets of approx. US$100 billion in nearly 50 jurisdictions. Shashank has extensive ‘on-theground’ experience in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the power sector, Shashank has advised on approx. 28GW of deals and assets. Shashank has practiced law in large international firms in London, Singapore, and New Delhi.

9001:2015 andmanagement ISO 27001:2013 designer and ISOISO 9001:2015 accredited systemcertified and ISO 27001:2013 InfoSec program for the implementation of submarine fiber cable systems for commercial, implementer of submarine fiber cable systems for commercial, governmental andgovernmental oil & gas companies/President’ Award for Exports recipient and oil & gass “E” companies. SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114





drop in demand due to COVID-19 lockdown measures has struck natural gas markets which are already suffering from low commodity prices. Even though it is expected demand will return once lockdown restricted are eased, the impact on the global economy may result in continued low gas prices. As a result, gas companies need, more than ever, to improve their production systems and reduce costs. Digitalisation is a powerful tool for mitigating inefficiencies related to Coal Seam Gas (CSG) production environments and field locations. Being dependent on human labour for data collection, maintenance and operations, the



Oil and Gas industry can obtain immediate benefit from digitalisation through the use of wireless sensors, video monitoring and broadband wireless connections. These are some of the technologies enabling use cases such as remote monitoring and connected workers. Although digitalisation is not new in the Gas industry, the analysis of upstream production processes reveals areas for improvement in daily maintenance and operation. The key benefits being:


On a daily basis, lone workers can drive hundreds of

kilometres of back roads to inspect wells for operation, maintenance and manual data collection. Video analytics can reduce the frequency of inspections by detecting water leaks, presence of wildlife, signs of erosion and theft. Remote monitoring through wireless sensors can reduce or completely replace manual data collection.


Pervasive wireless access for workers allows full digital traceability of operations and provides easy access to historical data, procedures and safety applications. Additionally, faster sharing of information between technicians and engineers sharpens decision-making processes, which can help to shorten maintenance shutdowns.


An improved supervision system combined with cloudbased computing and machine learning turns real-time data into information that can predict failures and change maintenance activities from reactive to proactive.


Wireless sensors and video analytics can monitor important environmental data for reclamation surveillance and early detection of hazards, such as gas leaks. A high-quality monitoring system can also help to build trust among local stakeholders and communities.


High-quality video calls allow workers to share the operational conditions with enough accuracy to be assisted remotely. Therefore, a remote centre of experts can be created for ad hoc consultation.


Digitalisation relies on a mix of telecom services with very different technical requirements: high throughput for video and office applications, periodic low data transmissions for sensors and high reliability for existing Super-

visory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) services. Furthermore, consistent service coverage must be guaranteed through CSG fields which can stretch over thousands of kilometres. This diversity of requirements and the vast areas to be covered make LTE the best candidate technology to fulfil gas industry needs. LTE is a mature technology that has been deployed worldwide for more than ten years. Supporting service prioritisation, LTE guarantees that operational critical services are given higher priority, and are therefore put ahead of other network traffic in case of congestion. LTE was initially designed to cope with the increasing demand for high-speed services in public networks. However, in recent years, the standards have evolved to also address industrial needs for machine-to-machine and mission-critical communications. LTE is able to provide the required network connectivity between assets and workers, therefore enabling the implementation of a digitalisation strategy and paving the way for the fourth industrial revolution. STF MARIA GARCIA ALVAREZ is a senior telecommunications engineer at Titan ICT with more than a decade in wireless and network communications. Maria’s expertise lies in IT service platforms and mobile access network disciplines, having led a testing team and a 5G project. She loves to share her knowledge and motivate people to become more creative in overcoming technical challenges.







urope has been the pioneer for offshore wind for almost two decades. With a total installed capacity of over 22,000 MW from more than 5,000 grid-connected wind turbines across 110 sites in 12 countries, growth has been exponential. With advances in floating technology expanding the opportunities wider still, and huge governmental targets for carbon reduction, there is no sign of the growth slowing for years to come. Hot spots across the rest of the world – the US, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam – are now joining the revolution and learning from the successes and challenges in Europe, to follow in the footsteps of what is a becoming a world-leading industry, instrumental to a cleaner, safer and more efficient future for everyone.


Similar to the telecoms cable infrastructure that zig-zags around the globe, connecting the world’s population, power cables are the critical support system that enable these offshore sites to operate, bringing power ashore as well as routing it between countries. These sustainable and efficient operations contribute to the green energy provision that is



playing an increasing part in satisfying our collective need for power. As offshore wind continues to grow, and with it, our reliance on these assets for daily life, it will only become more important to safeguard their integrity. The first step is to ensure that a cable route is carefully selected to avoid hazards, difficult terrain, and busy shipping routes. This is done through proper planning, FEED studies, cable protection assessments and initial route engineering, based on in-depth survey data – all of which are vital services that we can offer to our customers. Route clearance, cable armouring and mattressing can minimise risk of damage to the cable caused by abrasion or entanglement, but only through adequate burial, can cable be placed totally out of reach of such potentially harmful interaction. The cost of service interruption from cable damage or fault at an offshore windfarm can rise into the tens of millions per month and is therefore something to be avoided where possible. If unavoidable, limiting the resulting impact of faults is paramount, getting the assets back in service as quickly as possible. The initial cable installation and protection processes are an essential and critically important task, as well as ongoing assessments once live, but our reliance on

these assets also highlights the ever-growing importance of having the correct plans and contingencies in place should something go wrong once in service. In the last 18 months, Global Offshore has seen an increase in the recurrence of these in-service faults, with customers making both urgent and planned repair campaign project requests. In 2020, the company has already completed one repair, and has a handful more planned for the coming months and into 2021.

a vessel experienced in both telecoms and power cable installations and repairs, and on stand-by for ACMA yearround, but it also grants Ørsted access to other assets in the Group’s fleet as needed, including the Global Symphony, Normand Clipper, leading cable protection assets including the PLP240 and Q1400, CTVs (crew transfer vessels) and technicians for additional services.


Although there have been power cables in the marine environment for many decades, these have been relatively few in number until fairly recently. As a result, the repair of power cables has very much been a niche market revolving around securing and mobilising VOOs (vessels of opportunity). Last year however, Global Offshore signed a framework agreement with offshore wind farm developer and operator Ørsted, for cable repair across their UK portfolio. The framework becomes a part of the Atlantic Cable Maintenance Agreement (ACMA) which is delivered by Global Offshore’s sister organisation Global Marine, alongside various other telecoms maintenance agreements worldwide, which have been actively and successfully supported by the business for decades. Although power cable repair frameworks themselves are not new - Global Offshore’s Complete Cable Care solution already supports Transmission Investment, Vattenfall and Scottish & Southern Electricity Network in this way – for power cables to be serviced in a zonal agreement is a recent development in the industry. The approach has been seen as a revolutionary and is being watched closely by those in the industry. Not only does the agreement give Ørsted access to the C.S. Sovereign, SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114



Global Offshore will manage and conduct the power cable replacement and repairs as and when they arise, supported by sister company CWind, a leading provider of project services and crew transfer vessels to the offshore wind industry. As part of the agreement, CWind will complete services including in-situ repairs - working to rectify faults within the confined space of each affected turbine, will provide temporary power for both planned and unplanned power outages, as well as providing logistics and personnel, plus any necessary cable pull-in teams. They will also carry out termination and testing and preventive subsea balance of plant around cable protection systems and scouring. With some 1,150 turbines already installed offshore, Ørsted is the world’s leading operator providing 13 million people with clean electricity. The agreement covers most of the organisation’s UK offshore wind farm portfolio, including almost 900km of subsea array cable, and is an approach that we believe will set the blueprint for the future of combined cable and subsea asset agreements which bring about benefits for everyone across multiple industries.




Many wind farm sites operate in close proximity to telecoms cable already installed on the seabed, so the combined experience within Global Marine Group of working with both fibre optic and power cables, gives Global Offshore a unique perspective and insight into working efficiently and effectively together. Initial cable routing design and crossing agreements, liaising with other seabed users and cable and pipeline owners​, as well as understanding seabed profiles, risks and local fault history, are all integral elements that facilitate sound planning and collaboration with others. Global Marine Group’s extensive cable fault database and unrivalled GeoCable® software enables system owners and wind farm developers to make informed decisions with the intelligence we can supply.


Working in partnership has always been core to how Global Offshore and the wider Global Marine Group operates. We are driven to build successful joint ventures

and partnerships to leverage our years of knowledge and experience whilst building talent and skills locally, and utilising local knowledge and experience to reach the best outcome for each individual developing marketplace. We have proven experience of doing exactly that with our joint venture, CWind Taiwan, which was established with local survey organisation IOVTEC in 2017 and continues to go from strength-to-strength.


The green revolution is on the horizon. As time goes on those in the industry are placing an increased importance in net-zero targets, decarbonisation, and reversing the effects of climate change and global warming. The issues surrounding ethical and efficient energy production for the future are very real and there is no denying that offshore renewables can drive that change. Huge strides have been made since the Global Marine Group installed the cable at the UK’s first demonstrator site in the early 2000s. As a constantly changing and evolving industry, market developments and technological advancements inevitably mean there will be yet more change and progress for offshore wind over the coming years. Autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and smarter vessels will all likely form part of the industry in the next decade. As a Group consisting of multiple business units, which offer complimentary services across multiple sectors, we are ready to embrace the change, grow as the markets do and expect the unexpected, all to achieve the ambitious but attainable targets set out by governments and industry bodies across the world. Acting as a catalyst to the change, and helping guide the direction of growth, are bodies such as RenewableUK, the UK’s leading not for profit renewable energy trade association, the ICPC, Subsea UK and SubOptic, all of which we are member organisations, supporters and in some cases as with RenewableUK, board members. In addition to this, the Global Marine Group is a member of the Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC), a global group of leading offshore wind developers, technology providers and stakeholders. The group was launched in December 2019, in response to the UN High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy’s call for ocean-based climate action. These organisational bodies work to highlight the

actions that industry bodies, financiers and governments can take to sustainably scale-up offshore wind, and thereby meet native capacity targets that also contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We take an active role in these cross-functional groups as we are passionate about being a part of influencing the future. This can only be achieved by working together and immersing ourselves in positive industry collaboration to address the future needs of the ever-changing world. STF MIKE DANIEL is Managing Director of Global Offshore, part of the Global Marine Group. Mike has been in the industry for many years with over 35 years’ experience in the renewables and oil & gas sectors. Having previously worked at UDI, Rockwater, Stolt Offshore and Subocean Group, Mike joined Fugro’s Subsea construction and Installation team as a Project Manager in 2012, before becoming Business Line Manager in 2013. During his time at Fugro Mike has led the team in successfully completing many projects including the Rampion Offshore windfarm array cable installation, Hywind export cable trenching and Humber Gateway cable installation and trenching of 77 array cables. Since the creation of Global Offshore in 2017, following the acquisition of Fugro’s cable lay and trenching business by Global Marine Group, Mike has led the team to deliver some key offshore projects including route clearance and inter array installation at the current live Danish Kriegers Flak Wind Farm, several power cable repairs and replacements as well as installation at the floating offshore wind site at Kincardine. As part of the Global Marine Group, Global Offshore deliver cable installation, repair and trenching services to the offshore renewables, utilities and oil & gas markets. They sit alongside sister organisations Global Marine who provide fibre optic cable installation and repairs solutions and CWind who deliver topside, splash zone and subsea engineering services, to the offshore renewables and utilities market. The Group was purchased by J.F. Lehman in January of this year, a change which has brought with it strength, stability and an appetite for growth in the exciting markets in which the business operates.




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he Energy Industry constantly adopts and leverages advanced technologies in the search and production of hydrocarbons. The technologies employed stretch from underground to outer space. As computing platforms predicted by Moore’s Law come to realization, existing technologies are making giant leaps in productivity and disruptive technologies are being introduced at a rapid rate. The Energy Market is multifaceted, and is generally broken into three major segments: Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream. For simplicity sake, if you think of an oil refinery as midpoint, the terms upstream and downstream are easier to conceptualize. The upstream market segment includes all the activities that happen before oil reaches a refinery. This includes exploration, drilling, and production. Midstream is a relatively new term that replaced Refining as the middle segment of the Oil & Gas Market because it is more inclusive. The Midstream Market Segment includes: gathering pipelines, refineries, and natural gas plants, as well as a transportation options, such as pipeline, rail, ships or barges, or trucks, for moving crude, refined products and natural gas to downstream distributors. The



Midstream Market Segment also includes storage and wholesale marketing. The Downstream Market Segment includes the marketing and distribution of products derived from the processing of natural gas or the refining of crude oil. Transportation and Retail are large segments in the Downstream Market. Let’s take a look at some of the hottest technology trends in the Energy Industry:


The Digital Oilfield is a concept where energy companies merge Information Technology (IT) with Operations Technology (OT) to automate business processes and maximize operating efficiencies. IT and OT have been distinct and separate systems for many decades, complete with distinct hardware, software, and staffs. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a good example of an OT system. SCADA networks are used to remotely control pipelines and other industrial assets, and while they excel at their mission-critical tasks, SCADA don’t share data with other computing platforms, such as SAP, making them a

driving greater efficiencies. Implementing a well-crafted digitalization strategy continues to pay dividends as it makes it less expensive for companies to integrate new acquisitions into their corporate network. Digitalization strategies are being implemented in every segment of the Energy Industry, not just pipelines, helping to drive greater efficiencies.


silo of information. Over the last decade, the adoption of MQTT (Message Queueing Telemetry Transport) and Message Brokers, a middleware program, has dramatically changed network architectures in leading energy companies. MQTT quickly and affordably allows the merger of IT and OT, while improving data security and cutting bandwidth cost. The effective blending of IT and OT has far reaching business consequences that haven’t been widely discussed to date. In today’s Energy Market, acquisitions and mergers create a tremendous challenge for both IT and OT departments. Merging companies typically operate disparate networks and systems, which at some point need to be consolidated. Often, this involves a “forklift upgrade”, costing millions of dollars in manpower, as well as new hardware and software. Implementing a digitalization strategy incorporating MQTT allows companies involved in a merger to operate disparate systems as a single entity,

The adoption of video technology in the Energy Industry has skyrocketed over the last five years. Traditionally used for security surveillance, video solutions are now being adopted by every segment of the Energy Industry. There are multiple technology enhancements driving the adoption rate of video cameras. The new generation of video cameras feature embedded processors, allowing the cameras to process information on their own. Previously, video cameras were limited to sending an image to a monitoring station, which was manned by a human. In this scenario there are two recurring costs: full-time bandwidth to send the video transmission, and the labor cost for someone to monitor the camera’s feed. Today’s cameras feature built-in analytics which monitor intrusions automatically. For instance, a person, or vehicle, entering the view of the camera. Newer generation of cameras can be equipped with different size storage cards and can easily store a month’s worth of video. If an intrusion occurs, the camera can be programmed to send a video clip of the event. No need for a human to watch hours of video trying to identify the time an event happened. Intrusion detection analytics dramatically reduce both labor and bandwidth costs. Today’s video cameras, and associated video management systems, feature a wide array of advanced features in addition to intrusion detection, including: license plate, vehicle and facial recognition, as well as counting of physical assets, such as pipe. Thermal cameras are available that can be used to detect leaking vapors from tanks. Camera pricing is trending down and feature sets are increasing. Look for many existing technologies to incorporate video capabilities in the future.

In today’s Energy Market, acquisitions and mergers create a tremendous challenge for both IT and OT departments.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications in the Energy Industry are exploding, with a number of applications SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114


FEATURE deployed, and ever more applications in the planning phase. In a nutshell, AI allow computers to perform tasks, looks at the feedback, and then process the data like a human. Sometimes called machine learning, AI has huge potential to help drive efficiencies in the Energy Industry. A good example of AI in the oilfield is monitoring rotating equipment, including: turbines, engines, generators, compressors, and pumps. A variety of sensors are deployed on as asset, like accelerometers and temperature probes, and the rotating equipment’s vital statistics are then monitored during normal operation on an ongoing basis. When a bearing begins to show wear, the subtle signs are captured and computers then develop algorithms which can predict when it will fail. Knowing ahead of time when a piece of equipment will fail allows companies to order parts ahead of time, eliminate overnight shipping costs, have backup equipment standing by if needed, and schedule repair work when labor cost is the lowest. In the past, AI applications required serious number crunching. Cloud computing is the current standard but AI algorithms have been developed that operate on extremely small computing platforms, even down to the chip level. The small CPU requirements allow AI to be deployed at the edge. This is significant because you can embed AI directly into a machine, thereby eliminating the need for powerful CPUs in the field (read expensive) and also a data communication connection to bring back sensor data to a central AI application.

leading companies in the development of advanced drilling rig technology, are both continuing their development of robotic systems that automate many functions previously done by a human. Robotic tools now connect and disconnect sections of drill pipe. The use of robotics are helping exploration companies drill and complete wells in a shorter time frame, driving their costs down. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV )and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV ) are used extensively in offshore oil exploration and production. AUVs are preprogrammed before they enter the water, while ROVs are tethered to a control mechanism and directed by a human. These specialized robots are used in subsea applications and are invaluable in construction and inspection roles. Drone technology is another robotic technology poised to make a significant impact in the Energy Industry. Drones are currently being used to provide aerial inspection of radio towers, in lieu of tower climbers. Drones are also being used for insurance inspections, and are commonly used to provide high resolution aerial photography. FAA regulations have finally been released and drone companies are working within these guidelines to provide innovative services. In the future, every offshore platform, oil tanker, and pipeline station will be equipped with a resident drone. At a schedule time every day, the drone will alight, make its rounds, and send back wireless sensor data and video footage of its assigned asset. The video and sensor data will be evaluated using AI algorithms and the resulting data will then be used to improve industrial and workflow processes. STF

When a bearing begins to show wear, the subtle signs are captured and computers then develop algorithms which can predict when it will fail. Knowing ahead of time when a piece of equipment will fail allows companies to order parts ahead of time, eliminate overnight shipping costs, have backup equipment standing by if needed, and schedule repair work when labor cost is the lowest.


The Energy Industry was an early adopter of robotic technology and the use robots is now pervasive throughout all facets of the Oil & Gas Market. A good example is the major advancements that have occurred in the development of robotic systems deployed on new drilling rigs over the last ten years. Eliminating humans from the drill floor on a rig not only reduces labor cost, it greatly improves safety by removing workers from a hazardous area. National Oil Well and Canrig Drilling Technology, two



GREG BERLOCHER is a veteran of the Telecommunication Industry and has spent 40-years building advanced telecommunication networks for the Oil & Gas Industry. Mr. Berlocher is also an award-winning author, writer and public speaker. Over his career, he has worked for three INC 500 companies and one Branham 300 company. Mr. Berlocher is the CEO of New Star Energy Services, which specializes in providing telecommunication solutions to facilities in remote locations and in harsh environments.

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hange is coming albeit slowly to the Oil & Gas submarine cable market. Commercialization of existing cable systems started years ago in the North Sea is now happening anew in the Gulf of Mexico with the upcoming acquisition of BP GoM by Tampnet. Will other oil basins also move from concession-ownership to managed service? Only time will tell. In spite of COVID-19, system growth remains strong for the foreseeable future and should maintain this level as oil exploration around the world continues to see renewed activity. The continued move to remote monitoring and automation combined with the need to process large data sets in onshore data centers cements the necessity of fiber for future offshore projects. According to the 2019 Offshore Oil & Gas Submarine Telecoms Market Sector Report, potential investment of $2.6 billion in submarine fiber systems is expected through 2022 or so – more than doubling existing investment amounts. However, it is still unclear how the impact of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic on oil prices and subsequent infrastructure investment will impact the timing of this investment. Digital connectivity for offshore production is a strategic initiative within the Oil & Gas industry. A successful implementation extends their reliability and sustained access



to the high capacity digital infrastructure, and subsea fiber plays a vital role.


There are three primary options available to the Oil & Gas company for the ownership and operating of a submarine cable system serving offshore assets: • Dedicated system – typically employed when a user requires accessing fiber in a timely and long-term manner, which is critical to their business and more ideal alternative models are not readily available. • Consortium – useful when a basin is developing, and future assets locations are questionable, or when there is a desire for a level of guaranteed ownership and access rights. • Managed service – provided by a third party service company offering access to multiple users. Ownership models are analyzed on a case-by-case basis, as they can evolve over time into joint ownership consortiums, managed services or others as economics and risk management allow. In both the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico, for instance, we have seen the evolution of dedicated systems being acquired or spun-out into third-party managed service by the originating Oil & Gas company. As such, the managed service has the ability to bring in new

customers and expand to its fullest potential well beyond the original dedicated system in a particular basin.


Risks associated with an Oil & Gas fiber optic cable are evaluated and described in detail, including ranking the options according to probability. The resulting Risk Matrix should include all potential issues related to commercial, social, operability, local impact and socioeconomic, and Health, Safety, and Environmental considerations. The impact of any delay to production is quantifiable and no small issue. After the landing site surveys and marine surveys are completed, the fiber optic cable is engineered to minimize all identified hazards and risks. This could include such features as additional backup power for the Cable Landing Station, additional armoring, and/or increased burial for the submarine cable. Project risks and potential mitigation are addressed by the Oil & Gas company, the key aspects of which are included in the project schedule as the recommended approach for progressing a project.


Typical submarine cables are designed for a service life of 25 years and economic life may be significantly less than that, but there are technical and economic drivers for keeping alive Oil & Gas systems longer. For an Oil & Gas system, the service life of hydrocarbon facilities is typically 30 or more years and as such, the submarine system needs to be available longer than “normal” design. Fiber optic cable system design is typically developed in collaboration with the Oil & Gas company, defining expected performance, fibre count, bandwidth availability, facility requirements (space and power), possible synergies with other parties, and potential mechanisms for expanding the system. The submarine system can be point-to-point system or an add/drop system for multiple offshore facilities. The overall goal of the design is to ensure that the fiber optic network, which includes the subsea fiber cable, termination assemblies, and optical termination equipment, and transport nodes meet or exceed the performance metrics (e.g., 99.995%) availability per year.


Installation of a fiber optic cable system typically requires a significant and expansive permit process. A high-level review of the regulatory and permitting requirements for each area of interest needs to be accomplished. Many of the permitting and approvals are based on as-

sumptions and are subject to change based on the approved cable route. Environmental concerns may not only affect the route of the cable, but also the scheduling. Permitting is typically the long pole in the tent of fiber optic cable implementation and may require up to 24 months duration to complete.


Marine Maintenance is the major contributing factor to the annual O&M budget. Once the system is commissioned, the responsibility for the repair of the system is passed from the supplier to the Oil & Gas system owner. In the event of a fault, repairs will entail repair or replacement of any of the marine elements of the system. Most traditional system owners enter their systems into a maintenance agreement and then build up reserves from income to cover repair costs, typically based on one repair every two to three years. This is true, too, for Oil & Gas system owners.


The Oil & Gas industry procures submarine cable systems in order to minimize the cost and risk of hydrocarbon extraction. As such, the industry values subsea fiber connectivity. Numerous implementations have been accomplished and more are underway, but technical and economic drivers for longer living Oil & Gas systems need to be considered and built accordingly. Any developments that make subsea fiber solutions more cost effective, flexible, longer living, and readily deployable will add to the industry’s embrace of this technology. Lastly, commercialization of existing cable systems will spur increased demand to expand these systems to new basin customers, as third party owners will grow such systems appropriately. STF WAYNE NIELSEN is rabid fan of le Tour de France, an avid diver and Managing Director of WFN Strategies, as well as Publisher of Submarine Telecoms Forum. He possesses over 30 years of experience in the submarine cable industry and developed and managed international telecoms projects in Antarctica, the Americas, Arctic, Europe, Far East/Pac Rim and Middle East. He received a postgraduate master’s degree in International Relations, and bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Political Science, and is a former employee of British Telecom, Cable & Wireless and SAIC. In 2001, he founded WFN Strategies (www., which provides design, development and implementation support, as well as commercial and technical due diligence of submarine cable systems for commercial, governmental and Oil & Gas clients, including 139 telecommunications projects for 75 international clients, including some 34 inter-platform, 25 regional and 17 transoceanic submarine cable systems. He is the founder and publisher of Submarine Telecoms Forum magazine (www., the industry’s considerable voice on the topic.





In 1857, James Stuart-Wortley had invested an unknown sum in the Atlantic Telegraph Co, and the failure of the attempt to lay the cable that year had cost the company £100,000 (almost a third of its capital). This may well have exacerbated the worsening of his pecuniary situation resulting from his riding accident. Within a year, the unrepairable breakdown of the temporarily successful 1858 cable left the company in an even more dire financial state, and Stuart-Wortley, perhaps by then in remission, evidently decided that he was in a position to do something about it and put out feelers to the Board. With a message relayed through the London firm of stockbrokers Foster & Braithwaite, he communicated his interest in an active role on the Board to the Company Secretary, George Saward (1821-73). As a number of the company’s directors, including John Pender, had resigned after the 1858 failure, and with Stuart-Wortley’s long-standing connections to many colleagues in high office, it is not surprising that Saward wrote to him on 30 September 1858 to offer a seat on the Board of the Atlantic Telegraph Co. He accepted the offer and immediately began working on raising finance for another attempt at laying the cable. He wrote to the Prime Minister, Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley (1799-1869), 14th Earl of Derby, on behalf of the Atlantic Telegraph Co, with a proposal



attempt to lay a new cable. Lord Derby replied on 8 November: ‘According to my promise, I brought before the Cabinet yesterday the subject of the Memorial of the Atlantic Telegraph Company; but I regret to have to inform you that my Colleagues were one-minded in their opinion that it was impossible to entertain the proposition…’ The proposal was quickly modified and re-submitted, but on 19 November Lord Derby replied as follows:

George Saward (1821-73)

‘I will bring before the Cabinet your renewed proposal in its modified shape; but I own my impression to be that there is a very strong feeling on the part of all my Colleagues against granting any more unconditional guarantees.’ Stuart-Wortley’s potential influence and efforts on behalf of the company were recognized at a meeting of the Shareholders on 15 December 1858, when he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Atlantic Telegraph Co. The minutes state:

Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley (1799-1869)

that the Government should continue its support of the company in a further

‘Mr. Gurney, M.P., having desired to vacate the office of Chairman of the Board, Mr. Stuart Wortley has acceded to the unanimous wish of the Directors that he would undertake that office, and Mr. Lampson has also consented to act as the Vice-Chairman.’

One of his first duties as Chairman was to respond to and deal with a letter to the Board, dated 18 December 1858, from Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse (1816-90), the recently dismissed Electrician of the Atlantic Telegraph Co. It appears that Whitehouse had tried to put forward a proposal for a new cable across the South Atlantic at this Shareholders’ meeting and was complaining that he had not been allowed to do so. Stuart-Wortley was not in attendance at the meeting, but sent a reply on 22 December, politely putting Whitehouse in his place. ‘I must express the regret that I feel & which I am sure will be shared by my colleagues in receiving this unexpected intimation; no such restriction of yr authority was stated at the meeting for, on the contrary, you were understood at the time to acquiesce in the suggestion of more than one Shareholder that you shod lay yr proposals before the directors or myself & I am sure that your candour must admit if you were not allowed, (as you say) even to read the proposal that you had to make on that occasion it was only by the general feeling of the meeting that you were prevented & not by any interruptions fm the Chair or any impediment thereon in your way by the Directors.’

Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse (1816-90)

Stuart-Wortley continued to lobby the Government on behalf of the company, but once again, on 19 January 1859, he received a note from Lord Derby stating that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), had gone down to Windsor (to visit Queen Victoria) and had not looked at the company’s latest proposal, and finally, on 4 August 1859, he

Richard Cobden (1804-65)

received this short note from Richard Cobden (1804-65). ‘We shall not touch the Electric Telegraph portion of our inquiry this session. – Be good enough to let your Secretary renew the application to be heard on the reassembly of Parliament next year...’

Cobden had been elected MP for Rochdale on 15 May that year in absentia, as he was in the United States at the time. Such an influential Liberal politician was he, that the new Conservative Prime Minister, Henry John Temple (1784-1865) 3rd Viscount Palmerston, invited him to join the Government and take on the role of President of the Board of Trade with a seat in the Cabinet. Cobden refused, but Stuart-Wortley must have believed him to be an important ally! Since Government support had not been forthcoming, Stuart-Wortley had for some time been looking for men of influence that he could persuade to join the Board of the Atlantic Telegraph Co, in order to give potential investors confidence in the project. One such person that he approached was Michael Faraday (1781-1867), but the eminent scientist sent this polite rejection on 22 June 1859: ‘I am quite unable to accede to your request. Other parties have applied to me about other cables & their plans – and I have given the same answers to all – I could not go into the consideration of one without entering minutely into the plans & experience of all and that I have neither time nor health to undertake. I am glad to think that you have every kind of talent which is necessary for the subject or which you desire. I trust you will have the full success which your project deserves.’ Aficionados of Back Reflections should remember that the only member of the Atlantic Telegraph Co to receive royal recognition in 1858 was the Chief Engineer, Charles Tilston Bright (1832-88), who at age 26 had SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114



been knighted by Queen Victoria. After the 1858 failure Bright left the company, set up an engineering consultancy company with Josiah Latimer Clark (1822-98), and became the Liberal MP for Greenwich from 1865 to 1868, when he was asked to step down in favour of William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98). No explanation has been given as to why he left the company, but a letter in the Stuart-Wortley collection tells an intriguing story. It appears that Stuart-Wortley had looked in some detail at the company’s financial records and raised a number of queries concerning the expenses claimed by Bright while he was in Valentia in November 1857. Bright’s response was delivered to Stuart-Wortley through an intermediary, the Liverpool merchant Henry Harrison (1795-1871), who had been a Director of the Atlantic Telegraph Co since 9 December 1856. Stuart-Wortley replied to Harrison on 4 August 1859: ‘On my return from Yorkshire on Tuesday evening I found your letter containing Sir C Bright’s explanation as to his stay in Killarney during when the ‘Leipzig’ was engaged in operations in Valentia Bay in November 1857; & when I first read this explanation it appeared so satisfactory that I was in hopes it might remove all misunderstanding. When however I referred to the documents in the office yesterday I regret to say that I am unable to reconcile Sir C Bright’s account of his time with the facts as known to the Directors without some further explanation. … This is a very disagreeable discussion to me & you will of course use yr discretion



Michael Faraday (1781-1867)

Sir Charles Tilston Bright (1832-88)

in referring any further to Sir Charles Bright on the subject, but I have no hope of restoring the confidence of the Board in Sir Charles unless these things can be explained.’ There is no further correspondence in the collection on this issue, but as noted above, Charles Bright had no further engagements with the Atlantic Telegraph Co. Stuart-Wortley mentions in this letter that he had just returned from

Yorkshire, where he was on the hustings as a candidate for MP of his family’s home constituency, the West Riding. We know from newspaper reports that while there he had suffered an injury to his head after a rowdy political meeting at Wakefield where he had been addressing Conservatives on Monday night, 1 August. A mob had followed him to his hotel, and after he had walked to the office of the Electric Telegraph Co and was once more returning to the hotel, he was struck on the head by an object thrown by a ‘cowardly ruffian’. According to one report, he was left in a stunned condition with blood streaming down his face. He was taken to the hotel, where a surgeon was called to dress his wound, and he recovered sufficiently to leave for home on the 10pm train. Fortunately the injury proved not to be too serious, as on 3 August he wrote a letter to a colleague in Wakefield to say that the injury ‘was more trivial than appears to have been supposed’ and he thought that it had been caused by a sharp-edged stone picked up from the street. The fact that he was walking about the town after the meeting, and evidently recovered quickly from this injury, gives a further indication that his back injury was perhaps not troubling him too badly during this period. On 1 December 1859, the Board of Trade Committee of Inquiry into the failure of the 1858 Atlantic cable had its first meeting, with James Stuart-Wortley as a member of the panel. For several months he attended every meeting and, as a trained advocate, he actively participated in the questioning of the many witnesses. The last

Captain Douglas Galton (1822-99) and Professor Charles Wheatstone (1802-75)

mention of his name in the minutes, as ‘S. Wortley’, is for the session of 14 March 1860, with the Chairman, Captain Douglas Galton (1822-99) and Professor Charles Wheatstone (1802-75) the only other members of the panel in attendance that day. This meeting was concerned entirely with the testimony of Taliaferro Preston Shaffner (1811-81), always known as Colonel Tal. P. Shaffner, a man whose connection to the landline telegraph industry in the USA went back to its earliest days. Shaffner’s North Atlantic Telegraph Company was now proposing to lay a cable on the so-called Northern Line, whose route is described in his testimony. On 29 August 1859, Shaffner had chartered a barque in Boston, and over the next two months he surveyed the entire northern route, arriving in Scotland in November 1859, where he presented a report on his voyage. His proposal was for this combined land and sea route: From Canada across the Davis’ Straits to Greenland 460 miles, from Greenland to Iceland 390 miles, from Iceland to the Faroe Isles, 270 miles, from the Faroe Isles to Scotland 190 miles, totalling

of land line.

1,310 miles of submarine cable, plus land lines from New York to the coast of Labrador, via Montreal, Quebec, 1,190 miles, across Greenland, subterranean, 210 miles, across Iceland 300 miles, across Faroe Isles, 30 miles, “Scotland” to London, 720 miles, totalling 2,430 miles

This company would have been in direct competition with the Atlantic Telegraph Co’s route from Ireland to Newfoundland, which would use the existing Cabot Strait cable and mainland telegraph lines to reach New York, and from Ireland the British & Irish Magnetic Telegraph Co connections to London, so the Committee was very interested to hear his testimony. However, it is unlikely that Stuart-Wortley was overly impressed by this proposal. In the Committee’s report, Shaff-

Taliaferro Preston Shaffner (1811-81)

ner’s evidence occupies 18 pages of foolscap paper (9” x 13”) with two columns of small type, and Stuart-Wortley asked many technical and organizational questions. Perhaps in anticipation of hostile questioning, Shaffner had prepared a comprehensive description of the failings of the 1858 cable, all of which is recorded in the minutes. This included a transcript of many messages showing extensive problems in communicating intelligence over the line, and this part of his testimony occupies the last nine pages of the minutes for the day. Shaffner’s closing remarks include this statement: ‘I have already explained the telegraphic result that was effected by the old Atlantic line, and from the record of that company demonstrated that it never had a probability of commercial success.’ It appears that Shaffner’s testimony alarmed the Atlantic Telegraph Co, and George Saward must then have written to Commander Alexander Bridport Becher (1796-76) of the Admiralty, sending documents on Shaffner’s expedition and requesting Becher’s opinion of the project. We know this because we have Becher’s response to Saward, dated 16 April 1860, in which he states in part. ‘I have always considered the whole affair of this high lat. cable to be so absurd that the wonder in my mind is that sane mortals could even entertain it. I am still of the same opinion that I gave frankly to our good friend Cyrus Field last year and do really hope that the Cable will yet be laid. The Atlantic must be entered if possible down some gentle SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114


BACK REFLECTION slope of the Nymph bank to the SW from Ireland (I would rather from Lands End or Lizard) avoiding the rocky bottom West of Ireland & its precipitous depths – and keeping clear of the volcanic Azores: in fact getting to Newfland (sic) by Trinity Bay or as before.’ This must have offered some consolation to the Atlantic Telegraph Co, but on 14 May, Shaffner gave a talk on his Northern Line proposal at a meeting of the Royal Geographic Society in London, at which Stuart-Wortley and George Saward were present. After this presentation, officials of the Society lobbied the Government to support the North Atlantic Telegraph, and the Admiralty sponsored an official British expedition to conduct a survey of the proposed route. Unfortunately for Shaffner, in 1854 Cyrus Field’s New York, Newfoundland, & London Telegraph Co had received from the Newfoundland GovReport of the Joint Committee (1861) ernment a fifty-year exclusive curtailed investment in transatlantic right to work telegraphs on all the cable projects altogether. shores of Newfoundland, its depenThe next meeting of the Commitdencies, and all the coast of Labrador tee was on 19 May 1860, and Stuand adjacent isles. This company declared in 1860 that no cable could land art-Wortley was not present. It may be on their concession in Canada without that this marked a temporary relapse in the improvement to his health, as their approval, ruling out Shaffner’s we have no record in the document proposed route. To make matters collection of any activity by him for worse, a year later, the outbreak of the almost a year. It was not until after American Civil War in April 1861



the publication of the Committee’s report in April 1861 that he again began promoting the Atlantic Telegraph Co. At this time, the company issued a prospectus which Saward describes as offering to shareholders and the public a new capital of £600,000 of 8% preference shares: “Simultaneously with the issue of the prospectus, great exertions were made, both in private and in public, by the Directors and officers of the company; Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow were successively visited by Mr. Stuart Wortley, the Chairman, and Mr. Saward, the Secretary, when the position and expectations of the Company were explained to large meetings of shareholders and others, and an active canvass afterwards took place to test the feeling of the commercial community in those cities.” Unfortunately, there was now little enthusiasm for investment in what was viewed as a risky venture, and only £72,000 of promised subscriptions were received. Saward continues: “The Directors having failed to raise the proposed capital, a long pause ensued,

and except for the encouragement derived from the success of new cables in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf; all progress in Transatlantic Telegraphy ceased until the spring of 1862.” Despite the Civil War, Cyrus Field had not stopped promoting the Atlantic Telegraph, and on 1 January 1862 he wrote to the US Secretary of State, William Henry Seward (1801-72), to once again request US Government support for a new Atlantic cable. In this letter he referred to the diplomatic spat between the USA and Britain known as the ‘Trent Affair’, which brought the two countries to the brink of war. He wrote about the benefits of having such a cable as follows:

Captain Charles Wilkes (1798-1877)

‘What would have been its value to the English and United States Governments, if it had been in operation on the 30th November last, on which day Earl Russell was writing to Lord Lyons, and you at the same time to Mr Adams, our Minister in London. A few short messages between the two Governments and all would have been satisfactorily explained. I have no doubt that the English Government has expended more money during the last thirty days in preparation for War with this Country than the whole cost of manufacturing and laying a good Cable between Newfoundland and Ireland.’ The ‘Trent Affair’ began on 8 November 1861, when the USS San Jacinto intercepted the British mail packet RMS Trent and removed two Confederate diplomats, James Murray Mason (1798-1871) and John Slidell (1783-1871), claiming them as ‘con-

William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98)

traband of war’. The two men had been on their way to Britain and France to plead for support for an independent Confederate state. The British

Government demanded an apology for the illegal boarding of their vessel and increased its military presence in Canada. The US President, Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), could not risk a war with the British, and the crisis was averted after a few weeks when the two envoys were released and the US Government disavowed the actions of the San Jacinto’s Captain, Charles Wilkes (1798-1877). Field and Seward met shortly after Field’s letter, and Seward must have been convinced by Field’s arguments, because on 14 January 1862 he sent a letter to the US Ambassador to the Court of St James in London, Charles Francis Adams (1806-86), grandson of President John Adams (1735-1826) and son of President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848). Seward wrote: ‘Cyrus W Field Esqre, who is deeply interested in the Inter Oceanic Telegraph, goes to London with a view to aid in the resumption of that great enterprise. ‘Mr Field would desire to revive the consultations upon the subject with the British Government which were suspended with the failure of the line laid down under the common patronage of the United States and Great Britain… ‘If you think wisely of it, you are authorized to call the attention of Earl Russell to the matter, and, if you find him well disposed, you may say to him that the President entertains the most favourable views of the great enterprise in question, and would be happy to co-operate with the British Government in securing its successful execution, and such arrangements as would guaranty to both Nations’ reciprocal benefit from the use of the SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114


BACK REFLECTION Telegraph, not only in times of peace, but even in times of War, if, contrary to our desire and expectation, and to the great detriment of both Nations, War should ever arise between them.’ On arrival in Britain, Cyrus Field took a room at Fenton’s Hotel in St James’s Street in London, and on 27 February he wrote to the British Foreign Secretary, John Russell (1792-1878), 1st Earl Russell, requesting an interview. The interview was granted and took place at the Foreign Office at 15:00 on Tuesday 4 March. The interview appears to have gone well, and on 9 March, Field set out his proposal for Government financing in a memorandum and sent it to Earl Russell. With it he provided a copy of a paper sent to him by Messrs Glass, Elliot & Co on 17 March, which described the company’s recent track record in manufacturing and laying submarine telegraph cables. Both of these documents are part of the collection. In parallel, and probably co-ordinated with Cyrus Field’s efforts, Stuart-Wortley, armed with the Committee of Inquiry report, took a similar opportunity to lobby the British Government. For a short period of time, Stuart-Wortley had been secretary to William Gladstone, who in 1862 was Chancellor of the Exchequer, so he took advantage of this relationship to put the Atlantic Telegraph Co’s latest proposal for Government support before him. On 27 June 1862 he received a less than encouraging response: ‘I have examined to the best of my power the nature and effect of your



renewed application on behalf of the Atlantic Telegraph Company. … Under all circumstances my opinion is that the Government ought to pay for its messages. And as to its interference, without giving any opinion as to particular modes or forms of proceeding, I must say that I demur to all claims which make the Government in any sense cover with the public purse the private undertaker, & decline to admit any even prima facie or presumptive argument by and thus that the question may happen where & when in respect of its share of benefit the Government may fitly, the need being first considered, come in for a share of contribution.’ Having been rejected once again by the British Government and finding little enthusiasm from private investors, Stuart-Wortley would next look for support from France. How his approach to the French Government would go we will see next time. STF BILL BURNS is an English electronics engineer who worked for the BBC in London after graduation before moving to New York in 1971. There he spent a number of years in the high-end audio industry, during which time he wrote many audio, video, and computer equipment reviews, along with magazine articles on subjects as diverse as electronic music instruments and the history of computing. His research for these articles led to a general interest in early technology, and in the 1980s he began collecting instruments and artifacts from the fields of electricity and communications. In 1994 a chance find of a section of the 1857 Atlantic cable inspired a special interest in undersea cable history, and soon after he set up the first version of the Atlantic Cable website <https://atlantic-cable. com>, which now has over a thousand pages on all aspect of undersea communications from 1850 until the present. Bill’s interest in cable history has taken him to all of the surviving telegraph cable stations around the world, and to archives and museums in North

America and Europe. He has presented papers on subsea cable history at a number of conferences, and in 2008 he instigated and helped organize the 150th Anniversary Celebration for the 1858 Atlantic cable at the New-York Historical Society. Most recently, in 2016 he was involved with the celebrations in London, Ireland and Newfoundland to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1866 Atlantic cable. Since graduating in 1970, STEWART ASH has spent his entire career in the submarine cable industry. He joined STC Submarine Systems as a development engineer, working on coaxial transmission equipment and submarine repeater design. He then transferred onto field engineering, installing coaxial submarine cable systems around the world, attaining the role of Shipboard Installation Manager. In 1986, he set up a new installation division to install fibre optic submarine systems. In 1993, he joined Cable & Wireless Marine, as a business development manager and then move to an account director role responsible for, among others the parent company, C&W. When Cable & Wireless Marine became Global Marine Systems Ltd in 1999, he became General Manager of the engineering division, responsible for system testing, jointing technology and ROV operation. As part of this role he was chairman of the UJ Consortium. He left Global Marine in 2005 to become an independent consultant, assisting system purchasers and owners in all aspects of system procurement, operations, maintenance and repair. Stewart’s interest in the history of submarine cables began in 2000, when he project managed a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the submarine cable industry. As part of this project he co-authored and edited From Elektron to ‘e’ Commerce. Since then he has written and lectured extensively on the history of the submarine cable industry. From March 2009 to November 2015 he wrote Back Reflection articles for SubTel Forum. In 2013 he was invited to contribute the opening chapter to Submarine Cables: The Handbook of Law and Policy, which covered the early development of the submarine cable industry. To support the campaign to save Enderby House—a Grade II listed building—from demolition, in 2015 he wrote two books about the history of the Telcon site at Enderby Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula in London. The first was The Story of Subsea Telecommunications and its Association with Enderby House, and the second was The Eponymous Enderby’s of Greenwich. His biography of Sir John Pender GCMG The Cable King was published by Amazon in April 2018.

CONTINUING EDUCATION Dear Readers, I am very pleased to announce that last week, the first PTC Academy online course debuted! SubTel Forum is proud to support the Academy with continuing education accreditation. The first course is set to run from September 14 through the end of the month. Participants will be meeting every few days for 90 minutes to discuss a superb list of topics designed to prepare the next generation of managers and C-Level executives.


PTC Academy provides exceptional management training to rising industry leaders. Learn about the global telecom sector, strategies to identify and solve business challenges and opportunities, emerging technologies, and more. A core team of expert instructors with senior executive experience lead each course using a mix of presentations, in-depth case studies, and interactive exercises.


Introduction to Telecom: Key Trends and Changes in Business Models - Provides an overview of the global telecom industry business drivers, with special emphasis on key business challenges faced by C-level executives. 5G and Beyond - A closer look at mobile and wireless segments of the industry as they relate to fixed networks and overall business models. Pipes to Platforms: Cloud and Data Centers - Examines the role and importance of cloud computing and data centers in relationship to the connectivity business.

Your Career, Your Ladder Explains how your skills, tasks, and knowledge will change as you move up the ladder to the C-Suite. Doing Well While Doing Good - Examines C-level challenges of balancing the interests of many stakeholders: owners, managers, employees, customers, partners, and society. How Would You Do It? - A workshop allowing participants to grapple with C-level issues of revenue, competition, customer demand changes, cost, innovation challenges, and social responsibilities. OTT: Opportunity or Threat? - Over the top apps and services sometimes compete with, but can complement, connectivity provider strategies. What are the key challenges and opportunities? The Connectivity Business in an Internet Era - Understand how changes in regulation, consumer demand, technology, and the Internet shape the connectivity business.


At the completion of this course, participants will understand: • Key business model changes in the telecom industry since deregulation and privatization • Business models and revenue drivers in key industry segments • The ways OTT apps and services shape provider strategy • How the telecom ecosystem has changed since deregulation and

Internet emergence • How cloud computing and data centers shape the connectivity business • How C-level executives can satisfy key stakeholders and constituencies while growing revenue • Thinking like a top executive about revenue, competition, cost, innovation, and social responsibility • Tips for making the transition from mid-level to C-suite • How changes in regulation, consumer demand, technology, and the Internet shape the connectivity business


Participants of this course will receive: • 1.2 Continuing Education Units administered by Submarine Telecoms Forum, an IACET-accredited continuing education provider • PTC Academy Certificate of Completion The September course is well underway, but there’s still time to sign up for future courses!


More information about the course and how to sign up: https://www.ptc. org/outreach-initiatives/ptc-academy /#coursedetails STF

Kristian Nielsen, Vice President SEPTEMBER 2020 | ISSUE 114



Ciena welcomed Jürgen Hatheier to the team as Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Strategic Sales for EMEA. In their announcement, Ciena stated that Jürgen has more than 20 years of telecommunications expertise and “will lead a team of technologists and engineers who will focus on helping customers transform their networks to be more agile and flexible to rapidly adapt and support 5G, FTTx, and the Internet of Things.”


Seaborn announced the appointments of Pete Hayes as Interim CEO and Don Shassian as Interim CFO and in early July. “We are excited about the future and sincerely thank all of our employees, customers, providers and other business partners for their continued commitment to the company”, said Andy Bax, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Seaborn. “Our world-class team will continue to work hard to deliver innovative advancements and new, industry-leading solutions for our customers and partners for years to come.”


After 18 years with AT&T Wireless, Jeff Bradley joined Globys in June of this year as an Executive Advisor “to assist with go-to-market strategy and ecosystem development withing the Communications market.” Jeff said,



“I am very excited to join Globys and work with its board and leadership team to support the effort to commercialize an out-of-the-box SaaS platform that dramatically improves the customer experience as businesses procure and manage products and services from their service provider. I look forward to leveraging my expertise to help the company grow its impressive assets and realize its tremendous potential.”


On July 15, Global Cloud Xchange announced the appointment of their new Chief Executive Officer, Carl Grivner. Carl has 25 years experience at the executive lever and at major telecommunications companies across the globe. In the GCX press release Carl said, “It is an exciting time to get back into submarine networks, as the demand for global bandwidth is multiplying, and there is an increasing need for fiber optic interconnectivity to support the rising global data traffic.”


Just this month, Global Cloud Xchange also announced the addition of Jim Fagan to the GCX team as the new Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer. Jim stated “I am thrilled to join GCX during this transformative and exciting time in its corporate history, and I am eager to work with the GCX team on implementing

growth strategies for its global business. As the owner and operator of one of the world’s largest privately-owned submarine networks, with connectivity solutions reaching all industry verticals, GCX has an incredible opportunity to deliver the future of connectivity across emerging markets.”


Ryan Wopschall was recently appointed as the General Manager of the International Cable Protection Committee. “On behalf of the organization, we are very pleased to have Ryan on board. Having been involved in previous ICPC initiatives and outreach in the past, plus a vast background in the submarine cable industry, he is a great asset to the ICPC and its membership.” Said CPC Chair Malcolm Eccles.


Jim Lynch was named Interim Chief Executive Officer until a permanent CEO is appointed. Having previously served as the CEO for FiberLight, Jim has the necessary experience to guide the company between permanent appointments. ““I am honored to have been appointed and trusted with this position. I look forward to working with the team and together guiding FiberLight’s core commitment to developing solutions to support its customers as they look to harness new digital opportunities.”



play for offshore wind. Climate Change

While the telecom industry has been operating for quite some time and has made significant advances in our knowledge of benthic marine environments, climate change is one issue that we will have to face in conjunction with all offshore maritime industries and the wider world. The push for projects concerning environmental monitoring and communications is spreading throughout the industry, with a current focus on issues relating to marine megafauna and fisheries targets. Initiatives such as SMART cables and similar monitoring systems in offshore wind will go a long way towards narrowing existing knowledge gaps and ensuring that we have lengthy and reliable data records as our seas undergo this period of immense change. As mentioned previously, interdisciplinary initiatives such as ROSA will be integral in encouraging data sharing and data tracking as some common fisheries and conservation target species exhibit spatial and temporal distribution shifts. By working together, industry and local stakeholders can broaden our collective knowledge of how the oceans around us will be impacted by climate change related phenomena. As such, we can hope to mitigate issues to the best of our abilities and focus on nurturing sustainable growth of both telecom and offshore wind industries, keeping the world connected and providing reliable sources of clean, renewable wind energy. Similarly, collective knowledge on natural system faults, both for subsea cables and offshore wind infrastructure, will contribute to our understanding of how best to shift future engineering and operation innovations to cope with an increase in strength and frequency of inclement weather events and other climatic factors. Summary

those of public perceptions, will help to pave the way for community buy-in and long term success of these installations. In the past century and a half, humans have come to understand a significant amount about our oceans and how they function. Through the course of hundreds of subsea cable installations, the telecom industry has been at the forefront of uncovering benthic knowledge. Our understanding of seafloor hydrology, shifting sediments, ecological interactions, and even earthquakes and tsunamis has greatly increased. By taking what we have learned and applying it to the burgeoning offshore wind industry, we can best position ourselves to reap the rewards of an extensive renewables network while mitigating social, environmental, and ecological impacts. We have extensive local fisheries and communities networks, professional guard vessels and crews, broad knowledge of the marine environmental and applicable requirements and legislation, and, above all, we have a vision for long-term, sustainable success in harnessing our renewable natural resources for clean energy. To our partners in the offshore wind industry— we are ready and willing to help you reach your goals. Emma Martin is the Marine Systems Associate at Seagard. She has her BA in Biology from Boston University, USA and her MSc in Marine Systems and Policies from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has performed marine field work around the world and looks forward to continuing to support maritime infrastructure developments.


Throughout both industries, a common theme is the importance of early and continued stakeholder engagement. “We stand by the idea that stakeholder engagement and outreach with other maritime users and operators is incredibly important,” Ryan Wopschall, ICPC GM states, “Raising awareness of subsea cables within the offshore renewable energy sector and encouraging developers and stakeholders to contact us in regard to new and ongoing projects will further facilitate safe and efficient use of marine resources and long-term protection of seabed infrastructure.” All marine users must be considered throughout project development, and these considerations, alongside











CS Responder Sank During Firefighting Efforts

Canada to Connect North Shore with Submarine Cable

CS Responder Fire, All 60 Personnel Evacuated

Facebook Drops Bay to Bay Express Cable

GCX, E-marine Repair Falcon Submarine Cable

Algeria to Be Connected to a Fourth Submarine Cable

Submarine Cable Glitch Slows Internet in Bangladesh

Global Marine Awarded Desk Top Study for SING Cable

Somalia Internet Restored Temporarily

Third Undersea Cable Pointless, Says C&W


CURRENT SYSTEMS Quintillion Names Lance Dubsky Chief Security Officer Vodafone, Avaroa Cable Announce First Customers on Manatua Cable

Google, Facebook Dump Plans for US-Hong Kong Cable OLL and NEC Launch MIST Cable System Construction Facebook to Resume Drilling on Oregon Coast in January Seabed Survey for NO-UK Submarine Cable Completed Nunavik Prepares for Increased Demand for Internet Bandwidth Cayman Islands Considers New Submarine Cable

Tampnet Agrees to Acquire BP GoM Cable System


StrataNet Signs with NTT for Trans-Pacific Connectivity

Ocean Networks Contracted to Repurpose OOS Cables

Internet Prices in Papua New Guinea Being Reviewed

US State Dept Announces Clean Network Program

Mosaic Networx and Southern Cross Sign Agreement

Duterte Threatens to Shut Down Globe, Smart

PM to Inaugurate CANI Submarine Cable on August 10

Businesses in Batam Cheer News of SEZs

Mertech Marine Recovers Bermuda-US-1

Rhodes Academy-ICPC Writing Award for 2020 Awarded to Yang Wenlan

Aga Khan Bids to Buy Fibre Cable Seacom

Carl Grivner Appointed CEO of Global Cloud Xchange

Manatua Consortium Confirms One Polynesia Cable RFS

Google Announces $10bn India Investment



Chennai to be Second Largest India Data Centers Market

Infinera Upgrades Capacity on MainOne for Orange

Big Data Exchange to Launch Singapore Data Center

Google Says It Might Be Possible to Detect Earthquakes, Tsunamis With Submarine Cables GÉANT Awards Infinera Contract to Deploy 600G Sparkle Upgrades Curie with Ciena’s WaveLogic 5

SUBTEL FORUM SubTel Cable Map – August 17, 2020 Changelog Submarine Cable Almanac – Issue 35 Out Now!









here has the year gone, I can smell pumpkin spice everywhere and the leaves are turning colors already! There’s a lot I’d like to address this issue, but frankly my sales team is firing away, and spaces are already starting to fill in for our end of year publications! So, what is up next? The annual Submarine Telecoms Industry Report is in full production! Our diligent analysts are scouring the industry for the latest trends, news and industry rumblings. Find expert analysis on regional activities, supplier profiles and for the first time ever, will be presented as an interactive web experience. Advertising is offered as exclusive sponsorship of individual topic sections. Act quickly, three (3) spaces are already sold! Check online for ordering information: product/submarine-telecoms-industryreport-advertisement/ Completely ahead of our publishing schedule, and demanded by our spon-



sors, the 2021 Submarine Cables of the World printed wall map is officially open for sales! Typically, we don’t announce this product until November, however you’ve asked and we shall deliver. The Cable Map is printed on high quality, high color paper and will

be distributed at PTC’21 and mailed to our readership list. This product sells quickly, order as soon as possible to lock in the best placements! Ordering information: https://


I was speaking with Wayne Nielsen regarding the next issue of the Magazine, Datacenters and New Technology, he tells me that we already have three articles lined up and two advertisers. Folks, we haven’t even finished September yet and we have a queue ready for the next issue. So, again, if you’re looking for the right place to make some noise, promote your brand and reach the entirety of the Submarine Telecoms industry, I can point you to no better place. Don’t forget, budgets are locking in for 2021 and we offer bulk discounts! Issue Themes and ordering information: subtel-forum-magazine-advertisement/

We don’t just offer advertising at SubTel Forum, since 2017 we’ve helped tens of companies with their analysis and market research needs. Which brings me to…


Every quarter, our diligent analysts perform a rigorous outreach to system suppliers, owners and everyone in between. Our quarterly data validations are the foundation of the extraordinary Submarine Cable Database and the laser focused analytics. If you are interested in the submarine cable market, these Market Sector Reports are for you.

Some ten years ago I started a spreadsheet so that I could edify myself on the submarine cable industry, if you were in the industry then you know well how tight-lipped we were. As we had just released the STF News Now feed, I was uniquely placed to glean as much public domain information about cable systems as possible. Since then, the Database has grown into a massive entity consisting of over 500 current and planned systems detailed by over 60 unique data fields. This database fuels nearly every SubTel Forum publication, including the Cable Map, Almanac and Market Sector Reports. The Market Sector Reports start at US$1,500 and are available immediately after purchase. LAST CHANCE! Available until the end of September, take $500 off any Report with the following promo code. Use REMOTE in the cart during your checkout to take $500 off each report purchased. Take advantage of this great offer before the next update is made in October! STF Humbly yours,

Kristian Nielsen Vice President