Guar­an­tee­ing the con­ti­nu­ity of crit­i­cal data

In­creas­ing en­gi­neer­ing com­plex­ity and reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments are com­bin­ing to present the Oil & Gas sec­tor with unique chal­lenges at the edge of the net­work.

OffComm News - - CONTENTS -

Bob Legg at iOra looks at the chal­lenges

The oil and gas sec­tor is rife with reg­u­la­tions ~ with good rea­son. The chal­lenge is en­sur­ing that the right peo­ple have ac­cess to up- to- date data when­ever it’s re­quired. Fail­ure to do so can run up thou­sands of dol­lars per day in NPT. Georgina El­ring­ton spoke with Bob Legg, busi­ness manager for Off­shore Mar­kets at iOra ( pic­tured), to find out what can be done to guar­an­tee the con­ti­nu­ity of crit­i­cal data.

OCN: So, in your opin­ion, what do cus­tomers want from their re­mote net­works to­day?

When op­er­at­ing at the edge of the net­work, clients want to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of op­er­a­tions/ com­ply with reg­u­la­tions; safe­guard the safety and in­tegrity of their peo­ple and as­sets; and make their off­shore and re­mote lo­ca­tions just like any other of­fice. The main mar­ket ar­eas im­pacted by net­work dis­par­ity in­clude: mar­itime, off­shore oil & gas, and the mil­i­tary, as well as min­ing and con­struc­tion ~ par­tic­u­larly in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

OCN: How does iOra de­fine the net­work edge?

We de­fine it as a break­down of the ex­pected norms of ser­vice lev­els for cor­po­rate and in­ter­net ser­vices; whereby band­width is be­low that re­quired/ de­sired, is un­re­li­able; where la­tency can rise and make net­works un­us­able; or where net­work links be­come to­tally un­avail­able. While net­work band­width is in­deed in­creas­ing, so is the vol­ume and com­plex­ity of ap­pli­ca­tions, data, and reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments re­quired for ex­plo­ration and min­ing. In the mar­itime in­dus­try, the in­crease of reg­u­la­tions for op­er­a­tions, Safety Man­age­ment Sys­tems, crew wel­fare, digital­isation of ves­sel sys­tems, and route op­ti­mi­sa­tion all de­mand an in­creas­ing flow of in­for­ma­tion.

OCN: Where does iOra come in?

iOra en­sures that crit­i­cal cor­po­rate data is repli­cated to the lo­ca­tions where it is re­quired ~ ready to be ac­cessed by those who need it ~ even when the link goes down. Through smart, patented math­e­mat­ics and logic we are able to syn­chro­nise ter­abytes of data over satel­lite, RF, GSM, and WiFi links. The files are so small they can “thread the camel through the eye of the nee­dle” so to speak. The ef­fi­ciency of the net­work link be­comes op­ti­mised in terms of cost ~ and the vol­umes of data are dramatically re­duced.

OCN: Can you ex­plain fur­ther with some ex­am­ples?

Sure. We’re help­ing a ma­jor in­de­pen­dent oil com­pany en­sure that its up­stream emer­gency re­sponse plans are up to date to the field. We also have two tanker fleets syn­chro­nis­ing Safety Man­age­ment Sys­tems from the shore to the ves­sels. A ma­jor drilling com­pany is syn­chro­nis­ing well log­ging data from the field to HQ to sup­port de­ci­sion mak­ing be­tween head of­fice and the field teams con­cern­ing well sta­tus and pro­duc­tion lev­els. We’re also work­ing with a Mid­dle Eastern Na­tional Oil Com­pany to repli­cate data and CAD draw­ings from its En­gi­neer­ing Data Man­age­ment Sys­tem to/ from its off­shore rigs in SE Asia.

OCN: What are the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of doc­u­men­ta­tion not be­ing in place at the right time?

When an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an in­ci­dent starts, it ex­am­ines if all laws and reg­u­la­tions have been ad­hered to, which comes down to the ques­tion: “Was ev­ery­thing that could rea­son­ably be done, done?” Fail­ure to do so can cause fa­tal­i­ties, shut­downs, im­pound­ing of ves­sels and equip­ment, fines and even im­pris­on­ment. An­tic­i­pat­ing the im­pact of un­pre­dictable net­work is­sues can act like an in­sur­ance pol­icy in th­ese in­stances.

OCN: Do you have any ad­vice for the in­dus­try?

If con­di­tions are suf­fi­ciently ex­treme all wire­less net­work links can be found want­ing. By plan­ning ahead for pos­si­ble net­work out­ages iOra will pre- pro­vi­sion crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion where it is needed ~ be that ev­ery five min­utes, ev­ery day, or ev­ery month.

Bob Legg, busi­ness manager for Off­shore Mar­kets, iOra

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