iDirect’s Denis Sutherland considers HTS and the capacity to accommodate offshore O& G
The adoption of HTS in the oil and gas market will be impacted by the cost of the service compared to the uptime and availability that can be delivered.
More than two Tbps of HTS ( high throughout satellite) capacity is projected to fill the sky over the next 10 years. This should provide a welcome opportunity for the offshore oil and gas sector, where throughput demand continues to escalate, says Denis Sutherland, senior manager, sales system engineering, iDirect. Offshore rigs and platforms around the world remain heavy users of voice, video, and data applications, ultimately driving up the average consumption of bandwidth. Be it: applications connecting rigs with onshore production teams; safety applications and equipment monitoring to track operations; or personal connections for crew welfare, this growing use of data presents a service challenge that network operators will need to face in the near future. Both Ku- band and C- band have served the oil and gas offshore market for a number of years. C- band is the most reliable choice for operations where uptime is a must, but is also the most expensive choice per site. Ku- band is more cost- effective and is the most deployed satellite solution in the market. It is used in many areas where weather has less impact on performance. HTS will add new capacity and services launched in the higher frequency known as Ka- band, where more capacity is available. This frequency has the most available spectrum for use, and requires smaller hardware, but is more susceptible to rain fade interference.
Impacting the cost of the service
The adoption of HTS in the oil and gas market will be impacted by the cost of the service compared to the uptime and availability that can be delivered. In tropical areas closer to the equator, C- band services will still have a strong role to play as rain fade could impact the reliability of the service. In markets where the weather has less of an impact, you will see Ku- band ~ and now the increased use of HTS ~ to meet the expanding application requirements that are driving up bandwidth. Many of the satellite service providers, supporting customers in these challenging offshore environments, will use all of these different beams to deliver appropriate services regarding the uptime requirements of their clients.
The last word
New HTS satellites, with smaller focused spot beams, will offer greater throughput. But they will need the ground infrastructure to make sure the reliability, uptime, and speed of the service is delivered, as well as meeting the service level agreements being offered by the service providers. iDirect, as an infrastructure manufacturer, continues to develop its platform to support connectivity on any band, on multiple satellites. While HTS will offer the bandwidth to accommodate the growing connectivity requirements for offshore exploration and production, reliability of the service will remain key for this market.