5G - its role in connecting offshore oil and gas operations
26 June 2020

5G - its role in connecting offshore oil and gas operations

26 June 2020

Earlier in the month, we discussed two African whys:

  • why many of our customers on the ground in rural Africa are more interested in our 2G and IoT capabilities than discussing distant future migration to 4 or even 5G.

However, as an innovative and fast-growing global operator, of course we are preparing our portfolio to meet demand for 5G from a variety of sectors.

This week we’ll focus on where 5G is actually making headway, namely in mission-critical private cellular networks for the offshore oil and gas industry.  So, we’re talking about telecoms requirements that go way beyond the capabilities of commercial public cellular networks in terms of reliability, latency and security.

5G and the automation of offshore oil and gas operations - perfect timing

The analyst house Frost and Sullivan recently published an interesting opinion piece 5G a Critical Enabler for Digitalization in Oil and Gas: Emerging Use Cases and Opportunities

Put simply, as demand for oil and gas continues to grow, new offshore fields with platforms in deeper seas and further offshore need to be fully exploited.

However, the remoteness and isolation, harsh sea conditions, strong and unpredictable winds, water, extreme temperatures, and distance from the shore are some of the many challenges strengthening the need for a robust communications system” to and from these platforms.

Frost and Sullivan report that each platform and vessel needs a dedicated satellite link which can cost more than $200,000 per annum and predicts that “5G is one of the leading technologies that could add significant value to oil and gas companies by providing ultra-high speed and low latency communication between drilling sites, vessels, and offshore platforms”.

The timing is practically perfect:  5G technology has matured at the same time as the “oil and gas industry itself is going through significant transformation and greater automation leveraging technologies like IoT, machine learning, and robotics” to improve productivity and reduce costs.

Although 5G user cases are still being identified across all sectors, according to Frost and Sullivan, the key ones for the oil and gas industry will be:

  • Video surveillance and analytics: self-explanatory and increasingly sophisticated;
  • Mega campus management including diagnostics, maintenance, training and employee productivity;
  • Remote control and management of machines: the use of drones, cranes and robot arms;
  • Cloud Robotics and Process Automation: to simplify processes, increase efficiency and eliminate human errors.

offshore gas blog

Telecom26 and the oil and gas industry - providing mission-critical comms now and in the future

For the past few years we have been providing network services for connecting vessels and offshore oil and gas operations. We can fully customise our offering for digital services, and IoT device data management as well as P2P communication for crew and visitors, something that is often an afterthought for ship owners and operators.

Our star performers are:

  • Our Multi-IMSI global SIM cards enable access to multiple networks both in-country and across borders and remove the need for anyone to have to worry about the coverage of a single MNO, or the existence of roaming alliances.  This means that when a vessel is within 12 nautical miles of the shore, our global SIMs can access multiple terrestrial cellular networks using 2G, 3G or 4G radio - and pick the most appropriate network according to voice and data needs, and the network’s capabilities.
  • Our advanced router which enables data transfer to be optimised accessing terrestrial networks when in range and satellite while at sea. It controls data transmission and chooses the optimum path - based on application - to make better use of the available backhaul and connectivity options.

  • When a platform and/or vessel is outside terrestrial coverage, we can provide a maritime network.

Telecom 26 - Innovation First

We know that innovation is critical to the evolution of most industries including oil and gas - and indeed telecoms. We want to see new ideas that extend the boundaries of mobile services and applications take off and flourish.

As a truly global mobile operator, we have a unique worldwide environment, in which new ideas are tested and evaluated, before being launched.

We offer a full range of connectivity options including 5G, LTE, WiFi, NB-IoT, RFID, private networks, 2G, 3G and 4G, as well as offshore connectivity capabilities.

So please Get in touch to find out how Telecom26 can help improve connectivity for your team, wherever they are in the world.



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