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Mexico Opens Its Offshore O&G Market

The market for submarine fiber optic systems for offshore oil & gas (O&G) platforms has been struggling in recent years due to the low price of oil, which is stunting investment throughout the O&G industry. 

Moog Focal announces the successful qualification and release of the Quad Serial Server (QSS) module. This product combines a 4-channel serial server with integrated 3-port Ethernet switch on a single 3U Eurocard to seamlessly integrate serial interface sensors with modern Ethernet-based control systems. It also enable transmission of Ethernet data over legacy serial telemetry links. The low power, space efficiency, and remote configurability of the QSS facilitates subsea integration and significantly reducing costs of subsea upgrades and new developments.

Siemens has successfully developed and tested a new cost efficient product for better subsea Ethernet communication. The Advanced Converter & Switch (ACS) is making it possible to communicate at higher data rates and over longer lengths, then with the current electrical distribution technology. The ACS increases precision and effectiveness of subsea communication. This transparent communication solution can be used for connecting to existing subsea fields, for field extensions or for new developments. Over all resulting in a simple and cost-effective solution for both brownfield and greenfield applications of subsea Ethernet. The ACS is qualified to industry standards and ready for the market May 2016.

The ACS is a reliable and cost-efficient alternative to conventional upgrades of existing subsea equipment from old communication standards to Ethernet and/or fiber. It does so by linking the existing, reliable and cost-efficient technology of copper cables with fiber technology for longer lengths which achieves high speed communication for longer distances in a subsea communication network. This includes communication between sensors and control systems subsea, as well as subsea to topside communication. The result is a product that can be installed to enhance communication and data transfer from brownfields and new developments on longer and more complex step outs.

Siemens has developed a fully-qualified product that can combine and convert various types of communication up to 84 km at 3000MBSL. Today, costly umbilicals, canisters and control modules are used to distribute and convert different types of signals over longer distances subsea.

Ethernet is commonly used technology for communication from platform or land to the sea floor, and for communication on subsea applications such as interfacing sensors and as the main communication tool between electronic control modules. Its capability to provide an extended capacity is due to the relatively high bandwidth. In line with conventional standards, Ethernet-based communication on twisted copper pairs is today limited to 100 meters, thus making communication limited within the confines of the same Christmas tree. Conversely, optical fiber is capable of longer distances and, if used instead of electrical lines, the maximum distance for distributing Ethernet is increased dramatically, making communication between different Christmas trees feasible.

The basic design of the ACS comprises one-atmospheric chamber housing, a PCB card (Printed Circuit Board) and a glass-to-metal penetrator on the copper side and glass-to-glass on the fiber side. This gives a field proven sealing for the one atmospheric chamber. Its modular design may be configured in various ways, providing the possibility to combine several fiber optic and/or electrical Ethernet interfaces integrated to a flying lead, sensor harness, umbilical termination, or even a subsea Ethernet switch. The solution is based on the well field-proven Siemens Subsea products, as it is based on proven distribution technology for fiber and electrical signals and umbilical terminations. Same sealing technology as used on the Siemens Advanced Fiber Terminations (AFT) and Advanced Cable Terminations (ACT).

Performance can be monitored continuously or when necessary and does not require reconfiguration if units connected to the electrical subsea interfaces are replaced or upgraded. Challenges in power consumption, EMC, signal monitoring and conversions have been solved with the development of the modular PCB card, specially designed for installation in existing and field proven subsea technology.

ASN to Deliver Subsea Control Infrastructure for Statoil

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Nokia, has been awarded a turnkey contract (EPCI) by Statoil to supply and install DC/FO™ technology as the subsea control infrastructure for the Johan Castberg field in the Barents Sea.

  • Acquisition allows Tampnet to introduce new services and technology in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Strengthens Tampnet’s network infrastructure for the benefit of all customers
  • Enters into a long-term strategic roaming agreement with a leading telecom carrier

Tampnet Inc., the US subsidiary of the Norwegian-based leading offshore high capacity and low latency communications provider Tampnet AS (“Tampnet”), has reached an agreement to acquire Broadpoint LLC (“Broadpoint”), a pioneer within offshore communications to the Oil & Gas (“O&G”) industry in the Gulf of Mexico (“GoM”). In addition, Tampnet has entered into a long-term strategic roaming agreement with a leading telecom carrier.

Broadpoint owns and operates a 2G/GSM (“2G”) network consisting of around 50 base stations with placements on rigs and platforms in the GoM, as well as certain telecom frequency licenses, and is serving the offshore industry in the GoM. Broadpoint also provides roaming services to telecom carriers who, in turn, offer voice and data services to their clients in remote offshore areas. Tampnet will with the acquisition offer premium, Gulf-wide 4G/LTE (“4G”) coverage to the O&G industry in the region, its resellers and its roaming partners by upgrading the existing 2G network to offer robust and reliable 4G service. In parallel to the very strategic acquisition of Broadpoint, Tampnet has entered into a long-term roaming agreement with a leading telecom carrier – enabling the carrier to utilize the state-of-the art, offshore 4G infrastructure to offer high-capacity and low-latency data and voice services to its clients in the GoM.

“This is an important strategic step for Tampnet’s presence in the GoM and also a great leap for the O&G industry in the region. We are excited about being able to provide the industry with the latest high capacity and low latency 4G-technology in the same manner as we do in the North Sea. We believe that this will not only enable OPEX reduction potential for the O&G industry, but more importantly, also improve the HSEQ standards”, said Per Helge Svensson, Managing Director of Tampnet.

“Tampnet is already operating the world’s largest 4G/LTE network serving the O&G industry in the North Sea and they are clearly the leading company with skills to build and operate a network infrastructure in a harsh offshore environment. We feel confident that Tampnet can develop the GoM infrastructure to the next level introducing 4G/LTE services”, said Jonathan Foxman, President & CEO of Broadpoint.

Tampnet operates the largest offshore high capacity communication network in the world and serves more than 240 O&G platforms, Floating Production Storage and Offloading units (FPSOs) and exploration rigs on the Danish, Norwegian and the UK continental shelves of the North Sea as well as in the GoM. In total, Tampnet owns and operates a redundant offshore infrastructure network based on 2,500km of subsea fiber optic cable in the North Sea, complemented with a large number of high-capacity, carrier grade radio links and 4G base stations. Tampnet is since 2012 owned by the EQT Infrastructure I and EQT Infrastructure II funds (“EQT Infrastructure”). EQT Infrastructure is part of EQT, the leading private equity group in Northern Europe with over EUR 22 billion in raised capital. EQT Infrastructure has extensive experience from both the communication and O&G sectors, and sees strong growth and strategic development potential for Tampnet with the acquisition of Broadpoint and the long-term partnership with the telecom carrier.

The foregoing transactions are subject to customary closing conditions, including Federal Communications Commission approvals. The transactions are anticipated to close in late 2015 or early 2016.

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