Oilfields monitored remotely with Inmarsat BGAN satellite service
The world’s first large-scale SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) network based on Inmarsat’s mobile BGAN satellite service provides previously unmatched remote site management options for the oil and gas industry.
This groundbreaking BGAN SCADA network has been deployed for a major oilfield services company to monitor and control several hundred remote unmanned sites.
Inmarsat distribution partner Stratos Global and its channel partner Zedi Inc., a specialist in end-to-end management of oil and gas operations, are installing the IP-based network at the customer’s sites. The network will enable the customer to monitor and control its worldwide sites from its global operations center.
With the expanded remote site management capability made available by the network, the customer will be able to monitor critical technologies used in the oil and gas industry, such as electrical submersible pumps and downhole pressure and temperature gauges. The deployment will be expanded to include progressive cavity pumps and other upstream facilities. This network will replace the end-user’s older-generation Inmarsat GAN mobile packet data service.
Satellite BGAN ideal for remote site management
BGAN uses highly portable, lightweight terminals to provide simultaneous, high-speed IP data (up to 492 kbps) and voice connectivity anywhere in the world. BGAN satellite service is ideally suited to enable communications in areas where terrestrial or cellular networks are damaged, congested, or non-existent.
The BGAN satellite SCADA service uses the reliable Inmarsat I4 satellites operating in the L-band frequency, which are proven to withstand rain fade and other environmental factors.
The network uses Addvalue’s Sabre Ranger, a ruggedized, compact BGAN terminal developed by Addvalue in partnership with Stratos and the end-user. The SABRE Ranger terminal is specifically designed for permanent fixed-site deployment and 24/7 network connectivity . It’s designed to withstand all environmental challenges associated with remote SCADA applications and to reliably transmit mission-critical data to the user’s corporate headquarters from hard-to-reach locations.
In this deployment, the BGAN satellite terminals are connected to the Zedi Intelligent Network, which delivers highly reliable and accurate data to the desktop via Zedi Access, a secure web portal. By using Zedi Access, the customer is able to make better-informed decisions and manage more wells.
“This groundbreaking global deployment is the result of a strategic partnership between Stratos, Zedi, Addvalue and the end-user that included nearly two years of rigorous testing,” said Stratos President and CEO Jim Parm. “Before this deployment, BGAN-based SCADA networks of this scale did not exist.”
Explorer 325: Smaller, lighter BGAN terminal for Vehicular Use Offers Low-Cost Option
The BGAN Explorer 325 is an entry-level high speed internet and voice terminal in the satellite communications-on-the-move market, one of the most rapidly-expanding markets in recent years due to the demand for constant access to communications regardless of location and situation.
The new Thrane & Thrane BGAN terminal has received Inmarsat Type Approval, and offers low cost of entry compared to other BGAN options in the on-the-move market. It’s designed to meet the needs of organizations and teams with limited budgets, while still offering a high level of performance in both data and voice.
For example, an Explorer 325 terminal is accompanying two Danish explorers on the first ever around the world electric car expedition, “Charge to Change”, which departed Copenhagen July 25, 2010 on its ten month journey. With the Explorer 325 the expedition will have global voice communication and broadband internet via satellite, enabling them to deliver photos and footage, maintain a blog, and communicate by voice and email with friends and family anywhere along the trip.
Traditional COTM markets include military, media and humanitarian organizations. Now more price-sensitive users that also need satellite communications on-the-move service, like transportation, utilities, rapid response and paramedic teams, can also enjoy a cost-effective solution to their mobile broadband connectivity needs.
The Explorer 325 BGAN terminal consists of three fully-integrated units: a transceiver, an IP handset and an auto-tracking and maintenance-free antenna with magnetic roof mounts. It’s really easy to install – just set the antenna on the roof of your vehicle and connect it to the transceiver for instant, global communications on-the-move.
The terminal offers a range of services:
* Standard IP up to 384kbps. This works well, for example, for long-haul trucks staying in contact with their suppliers who, in turn, can keep a watchful eye on their precious cargo. Also for rapid response teams who need to send photographs of disaster zones, to help with assessment of deteriorating situations.
* Streaming data at 32, 64 and 128kbps - suitable for paramedics sending continuous vital signs back to a medical centre while still on the move and for disaster recovery teams streaming video and interviews to the media.
* Voice services. Offering one cross-border roaming rate, international rail services can provide a single, reliable service independent of specific country networks. First responders also have access to independent, reliable communications while restoring an area hit by natural disaster.
It works down to a 5 degree elevation - whether stationary or moving at speed. Inmarsat’s efficient spot-beam handover allows it to operate seamlessly over long distances without losing voice or data connections. It’s also able to withstand some degree of outage thanks to Inmarsat’s clever blockage-recovery algorithm. And the Explorer 325 even tolerates going under bridges and behind buildings and trees without loss of connectivity.
FB150 High Speed Satellite Service a “Winner” in Research Vessel Trial
A FleetBroadband 150 (FB150) terminal, an Inmarsat 2009 entry in the marine satellite communications market, completed a successful three month trial aboard the New Zealand Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) vessel Kaharoa.
The FB150 is designed for coastal merchant, small leisure, fishing, and government vessels. Service provider Wright Satellite Connections approached NIWA about placing a Thrane & Thrane Sailor® FB 150 aboard for a test run.
NIWA expressed interest in a terminal that would allow communications from the Southern Indian Ocean and offer higher data rates than the ship’s existing Mini M terminal.
The ship’s heavy workload and three month voyage from New Zealand, across the Great Australian Bight, into the Southern Indian Ocean to Durban, South Africa, with return to New Zealand on an even more southerly route, provided a real test of the FB150 high speed satellite internet and satellite voice service. The trial was a success!
Kaharoa’s master, Simon Wadsworth said: “FleetBroadband is a winner. We were able to send and receive large emails, PDFs and so on with no problem - and it was super quick.”
The FleetBroadband 150 terminal allowed the crew to enjoy data exchanges of up to 150kbps – compared with the 2.4kbps possible using the Mini M.
The crew liked the FB150’s compact size and the high speed satellite service turned out to be more economical for data transfer, resulting in considerable savings on the usual airtime bill. The terminal also saved on manpower as the Kaharoa was able to download weather forecasts directly. The crew was also impressed with the voice quality of the FB150 compared to their existing satellite terminals.
The service made such an impression that when the Kaharoa arrived back in Wellington after her three-month voyage, NIWA’s John Hadfield bought the trial FB150 unit so it could remain aboard.
More about the Kaharoa:
The Kaharoa is a 28-metre (92ft) “advanced floating research centre” with purpose-built trawl nets designed to catch targeted species of fish. It has an onboard laboratory for hydrology, chemistry and marine biology, and carries six crew and six scientists.
Philippines Search and Rescue Teams Aided by BGAN Satellite Communications
Lives were saved after Typhoon Conson struck the Philippines on July 13, 2010, in part due to BGAN mobile satellite communications. A BGAN-powered emergency telecoms kit donated a few months earlier by an Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency was used by the Philippines National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) to direct rescuers to areas most badly affected.
Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) is intended for mobile satellite communication users who need reliable broadband access when working in locations where telecoms networks are poor or non-existent. Reliable mobile satellite communications can be an excellent solution.
In the Philippines it was a life-saving solution. Power and land communications were lost in several regions due to severe flooding caused by the typhoon and at least 24,000 people were affected; 79 of them were killed. But it could have been worse.
Satellite Communications Proved Essential
The BGAN-powered emergency mobile communication kit deployed on July 14 enabled the regional disaster coordinating center to maintain contact with search and rescue teams working to find and assist survivors on one of the islands. Frederic Bragas, information and communications technology officer for the NDCC, who was trained to use the kit by Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), also reported that over 200 emails of alerts, situation reports and weather bulletins were sent via BGAN in one single day.
The kit (one of ten donated) contains a satellite terminal, data transmitter to establish internet connections, IT equipment and a solar-based power box. BGAN offers simultaneous satellite voice and broadband data when both terrestrial phone and data networks are not available.
Reliable communications are essential, not only in emergency situations, but wherever traditional telecommunications are not a reliable option. The BGAN-powered mobile satellite communication system proved itself during Typhoon Conson.
Source: Inmarsat and International Satellite Services Inc.