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
Hydrogen Map shows 57 projects are operational globally
Currently there are 57 projects operational and a further 58 will be in development by the end of 2021. Construction of another 92 are slated to begin in the next decade.
Western Europe and Asia Pacific, which account for more than 83% of known low-carbon hydrogen projects, are driving growth, but US projects are rising. The US is well positioned to lead the green hydrogen economy due to the abundant, low cost renewable energy sources needed to produce it, such as wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear, according to McKinsey.
A hydrogen production facility being built at the Tabangao refinery in Batangas, Philippines is slated to be the first to generate blue hydrogen, in which hydrogen is produced using fossil-fueled sources but the resulting carbon emissions are captured, stored or reused.
"Low carbon hydrogen and ammonia production is the key to decarbonising the hard-to-decarbonise sectors like transportation, industry and buildings”, said Pillsbury energy partner and Deputy Energy Industry Group leader Elina Teplinsky.
"This map will be a helpful tool for a broad audience of policy makers, industry participants and investors, sustainability analysts, advocates and journalists tracking the development of low-carbon hydrogen projects and encourage dialogue between those parties to further accelerate adoption of this transformational technology."
"With governments and enterprises worldwide increasingly prioritising decarbonisation goals, we are laser-focused on helping clients capitalise on the enormous opportunities that the ongoing energy transition presents,” said partner Sheila Harvey, who serves as firm-wide Energy Industry Group leader at Pillsbury and co-leads the firm’s Hydrogen practice.
Hydrogen practice group co-leader Mona Dajani, who heads Energy & Infrastructure Projects and Renewable Energy teams, said energy demand is driving significant innovation in the hydrogen space.
"Green hydrogen projects, which combine renewable power sources with hydrogen production, are unlocking new possibilities for regions previously constrained by weak grid connections and transmission bottlenecks and marking a crucial step in the development of the green hydrogen business case," she said.
New Australian clean energy storage startup Endua aims to build hydrogen-powered energy storage and deliver sustainable, reliable and affordable power.
Endua is backed by $5 million in funding, technology and industry expertise from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency; Main Sequence, the deep tech investment fund founded by CSIRO; and Ampol, the country’s largest fuel network.