Driving offshore growth with satellite communications
The offshore market has long understood the value of digitalisation.
Recognising the value of digital technologies as a vital cost-cutting tool in an industry that places a premium on financial prudence, new digital applications are being developed and implemented for offshore today at a stunning pace. However, without robust and reliable connectivity, their effectiveness is severely restricted.
While the demand for bandwidth increases, delivering dependable connectivity to offshore rigs and platforms is becoming more complex as activity moves further into deeper waters. Installing cables may not be a financially viable option, and other terrestrial alternatives can’t reach that far out. Satellite connectivity bridges this gap.
The benefits of digitalisation
Modern monitoring equipment uses Internet of Things technologies to provide insights on every aspect of an operation. These sensors mean operational technology is becoming increasingly connected, feeding critical data into onshore IT systems that previously operated in isolation, while cloud computing platforms allow companies to process and analyse that data more effectively and cost-efficiently.
This enables more critical information to move onshore in real-time. Alongside improved communication equipment, including reliable HD video calling, it is enabling more staff to move onshore – cutting costs for operators.
In some cases, being able to access this data in real-time has meant more offshore functions can be performed remotely – while some have implemented a ‘digital twin’ of their operations to allow for better predictive maintenance and data-driven optimisation.
The rise of O3b MEO satellites
These ground-breaking digital applications rely on the existence of high-speed, low-latency connectivity – a pipe dream until 2014, when the O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellation became operational.
The O3b constellation represented a step change for connectivity, delivering up to 1 Gbps of aggregated bandwidth and latency of less than 150 milliseconds for data services. This level of connectivity paves the way for offshore sites to leverage the full range of digital applications that can help them increase profits through reduced operational costs and improved efficiency.
SES Networks’ O3b MEO constellation is currently powering connectivity for four out of the six oil and gas supermajors and other energy companies across offshore sites in Brazil, Guyana, Angola, Nigeria, and the Gulf of Mexico. And in 2021, SES Networks will launch O3b mPOWER, its next-generation MEO communications system. O3b mPOWER is a comprehensive managed communications system that directly addresses the throughput, performance, scale and flexibility requirements of offshore oil and gas operations.
Market conditions in recent years have made cost-efficiency an even more pressing goal across the oil and gas sector. However, cost-efficiency can only be unlocked with the appropriate tools, and high-speed, reliable and scalable connectivity solutions are crucial to enable the right set of applications that can fully digitalise operations. Demand for real-time data is growing, and it is critical that the offshore industry has the tools required to make the best use of the data revolution for their individual operations.
This article was contributed by Morten Hagland Hansen, VP Commercial Maritime and Energy at SES Networks
Protium Green Solutions targets Scotland hydrogen potential
Protium Green Solutions (Protium), a leading UK-based green hydrogen energy services company, has expanded its UK footprint with the opening of Protium Scotland, led by newly appointed Jon Clipsham as Chief Commercial Officer.
Following a year of "significant growth" for the London-based firm, Protium’s activity across the green hydrogen space continues to demonstrate the viability of green hydrogen for businesses accelerating their net zero strategies and its CAPEX totals more than £1 billion for projects across aviation, road transport, alcoholic manufacturing and food & beverage sectors.
Protium’s Scotland presence has been established to support its growing projects in the region, with three clients currently based in Scotland and additional projects in the pipeline. Clipsham will lead Protium’s client engagement team across all UK regions, further supporting existing clients’ decarbonisation efforts across its accelerating projects.
Clipsham has been hired to spearhead the Scotland-based office, bringing with him over 30 years’ experience having spent more than 25 years in the chemicals industry and more than five years in the green hydrogen space.
Previously he developed and led many of the projects which have driven the growth of the green hydrogen eco-system in Orkney, and he also plays an influential role in shaping Scotland’s hydrogen policies and regulation, as a Board member of the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA). He also holds various lecturing positions at notable Scottish universities and educational institutes (covering hydrogen and renewable energy).
Clipsham said he is fully aligned with Protium’s mission of taking action and delivering change while policy and industry catches up. "I look forward to working with the team and its clients in supporting the national energy transition and am proud to be joining forces with other experts in the field who share the same vision," he said.
Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium, said: “We can see first-hand how the appetite for green hydrogen is increasing so leveraging Jon’s expertise and technical capabilities will be instrumental in delivering the best result for our clients - I am confident we’ll be able to demonstrate how green hydrogen is an exciting solution for these organisations overhauling their decarbonisation efforts.
“As we approach the second year of the business this milestone marks an important step for Protium as our client portfolio continues to grow, government support steadily increases and as UK-brands explore sustainable energy alternatives.”
With Protium’s senior leadership team holding external decision-making roles in relevant hydrogen Associations and Institutions, together Clipsham with Jackson, and Head of Policy and Innovation, Jen Baxter, the team will play an influential role in championing hydrogen and its place in the green economy. Jackson is currently the Chairman of the UK’s Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association and Baxter is on the Board of Industry Wales.
The Hydrogen Map lists the following projects in Scotland: Big Hit (phase 2); Acorn Aberdeenshire (Blue Hydrogen); Hydrogen Bus Project (Aberdeen); Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre; and Levenmouth Community Energy project.