With assets worth millions of dollars at stake, oil and gas operators demand advanced communications equipment to boost field effectiveness, enable asset tracking and coordination, and keep employees connected during emergency situations.
As such, satellite communications has a pivotal role to play in ensuring a high level of operational efficiency at offshore exploration and production facilities. This is especially evident in cases where companies are required to expand their exploration and production activities further into remote regions, where satellite networks are often the only viable option for delivering reliable, “always on” connectivity.
Besides establishing vital communications links between offshore workers and head offices, satellite technology can make a key difference in maintaining morale among employees who are required to operate in remote environments for extended periods, by allowing them to stay connected with their family and loved ones. The growing demand for applications such as video conferencing, email communications and data transfer has further driven up bandwidth requirements.
Another key trend is the emergence of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications to support remote facility monitoring and real-time asset management across the energy sector. From facilitating oil pipeline monitoring at remote, unmanned sites to tracking operational assets that are constantly on the move, the widespread adoption of M2M applications will in turn lead to growing demand for more bandwidth and higher throughput speeds.
Fuelling the demand for mobile satellite technology
It is for these reasons that Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) have become a mainstay in the oil and gas community, particularly in addressing the gap between the communications capabilities enabled by GSM backhaul services and VSAT networks.
Service reliability is the foremost requirement for successful offshore operations. L-band satellite technology is not affected by rain fade, and has long been an attractive option for oil and gas operators in maintaining offshore communications. For geographically remote locations that are not served by GSM networks, offshore workers can leverage the strength and capacity of L-band networks to enjoy uninterrupted connectivity — even when operating under adverse weather conditions.
The cost and complexity associated with offshore exploration — where the search for energy resources often takes operators deep into the world’s most remote environments — present another key operational challenge.
Besides being less expensive to install than VSAT offerings, MSS products are also relatively easier to deploy and manage. For instance, operators can easily set up L-band terminals to establish high-speed internet broadband access — in a matter of seconds, and without technical assistance. By contrast, VSAT systems often require trained personnel to handle the installation process.
Delivering better value and greater flexibility
To ensure users gain the maximum value from their communications expenditure, Thuraya takes a highly tailored approach of working with its customers that are engaged in oil and gas exploration — by delivering customized MSS solutions that offer reliable performance over Thuraya’s congestion-free network to accommodate a wide range of offshore activities.
Satellite phones remain an important part of the communications mix for oil and gas operators, serving as the most fundamental means of connecting onshore offices to remote facilities. To this end, the Thuraya XT handsets have long established a strong market reputation as a flexible and cost-competitive choice for satellite telephony delivered across a broad geographic footprint. Thuraya’s ruggedized hardware has been proven to withstand the toughest operating conditions, while the low-latency of Thuraya's L-band network further enables operators to minimize voice call drop-out.
Addressing data communications needs
A key part of Thuraya’s commitment to boost its data product portfolio, the Thuraya IP+ is fast gaining interest among oil and gas operators looking to tap into its innovative capabilities to address increased bandwidth demands and the need for secure data transmission.
The main draw to the Thuraya IP+ is in the simplicity of its setup and operation, requiring no specialized training to establish fast and secure communications. Fulfilling the demand for high-speed data services, the Thuraya IP+ currently offers broadband speeds of up to 444kbps on standard IP and 384kbps on streaming IP with an integrated antenna — ready for connection in any location, to provide users with the capabilities they need to improve operational effectiveness at their offshore facilities.
Because of its portability and robust design, Thuraya IP+ can be deployed on relatively short notice to enable the transmission of critical operational data, support remote monitoring processes, and facilitate crew calling via VoIP solutions. In situations where high levels of bandwidth traffic are concentrated in a specific location, Thuraya’s network resources can be dynamically re-allocated to ensure uninterrupted data connectivity for broadband users.
The IP throughput speeds achieved are far superior to any other comparable service, and Thuraya’s ability to offer a range of competitive pricing packages tailored to the energy industry, from unlimited data plans to on-demand consumption rates, makes for a very compelling business case. The asymmetrical streaming capabilities of the Thuraya IP+ is another unique feature to help users better manage costs, by controlling their upload and download speeds based on specific usage requirements.
The introduction of Thuraya SatSleeve, the world's first and only satellite adaptor for the iPhone®, adds another interesting dimension to Thuraya’s efforts to deliver game-changing innovations that transform the mobile satellite communications arena. A significant milestone in Thuraya's efforts to make satellite technology more accessible and intuitive for end users, the Thuraya SatSleeve facilitates vital business communications and allows offshore crews to stay connected using familiar smartphones while stationed outside the coverage of terrestrial networks.
Thuraya is working closely with an ecosystem of product developers and solution partners to drive future technology developments that have the potential to enhance operational efficiency at offshore exploration sites.
This commitment to understanding and addressing our customers’ requirements is at the core of Thuraya’s innovation strategy. Going forward, Thuraya seeks to continue delivering mobile satellite products that meet the energy sector’s evolving demands for reliable voice connectivity and optimized data speeds at cost-competitive rates.
Director of Market Development, Energy