Blog · 24 Nov 2021

Delivering high-quality satellite connectivity to mining, oil and gas operations

To make operations safer, secure and more productive in unstable and remote regions of the world, satellite connectivity is vital to unlock the transformational benefits of real-time data.

Renato Goodfellow
Product manager, Satellite Network Services

In the mining, oil and gas industry, the pressure to increase efficiencies and improve operational safety is mounting as a result of rising production costs and increasing regulatory constraints.

Yet despite these growing external pressures, forward-thinking leaders are looking to improve business operations by implementing powerful new digital innovations. Companies are now leveraging real-time cloud-based data to transform their business, and gain a competitive edge

But this technology relies on high-quality, reliable network connectivity, which can be extremely difficult to find in the more remote and evolving regions of the world.

The importance of reliable connectivity

To meet the highest extraction, energy efficiency and safety standards possible, real-time data is now increasingly essential to optimise and automate operations from drills to HVAC equipment. Some operators have even started to create digital twins for their installations, using thousands of points of real-time data to deliver more responsive and predictive maintenance and improving operational processes through data insights.

But to achieve this level of real-time data in remote or offshore areas, high throughput and low latency network connectivity is essential. Often this can only be delivered by using state-of-the-art satellite technology.

Once established, satellite connectivity helps streamline operations and can directly improve working conditions. It provides easy access to online resources and video calling, improves healthcare through real-time video consultations, and gives workers more opportunities to connect with their friends and family via social media.

Providing stable connections in unstable regions

Regions like Iraq and Nigeria experience some of the most difficult conditions in the global oil and natural gas industry, and it’s not uncommon for terrestrial government-provided connections to be unexpectedly severed. This means companies need to have strong back-up capabilities to prevent disruption to critical operations.

In 2020, alongside our partners SES and Talia, we delivered a resilient infrastructure for one of our clients with sites in Nigeria and Basra, Iraq by deploying satellite-based primary and back-up connectivity networks. Our high-performance, fully redundant connectivity solution was capable of supporting critical services, while connecting local employees with business applications and the wider world. We delivered this service via SES Networks’ O3b Middle Earth Orbit (MEO) constellation operating 8,000 km away from Earth, providing multiple offshore platforms with access to real-time monitoring and cloud-based applications comparable to that of an onshore platform using terrestrial networks.

In Nigeria, our solution delivered a high throughput, low latency ethernet service. Certified to Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) standards (the defining body for carrier ethernet), the carrier class ethernet service guaranteed customers with a fibre equivalent connectivity, enabling the exchange of large amounts of data in real-time. This fibre-like connectivity continues to keep workers connected at all times, without interruption, and prioritises mission-critical data. Onshore and offshore, operations now run smoothly and efficiently, regardless of whether there’s fibre or communications instabilities in the local area.

A tailor-made, scalable solution

We’re now building on the success of the current solution, too. The upcoming O3b mPOWER satellite network deployment will allow us to quickly scale our network to meet anticipated extensive connectivity demands in the oil and gas industry with fibre-like performance. Using the O3b and the O3b mPOWER MEO constellation from SES alongside our infrastructure and connectivity solutions, we can deliver a tailor-made solution that enables bandwidth allocations to be adapted to meet changes in demand and output at critical sites. This will deliver uninterrupted access to critical digital technologies that enhance productivity and safety, and will make energy companies more agile.

If you’d like to find out about how we could help deliver reliable, satellite-enabled connectivity to your operations, please ask to speak to one of our specialists.