Oil and gas exploration is becoming more complex as the places where natural resources can be tapped are increasingly remote and challenging. The advent of the digital oil field, which relies on the use of advanced satellite communications (SATCOM) systems, is helping in the actual monitoring of exploration and production equipment, and it is also proving essential in another function: improving operational security on the oil field.
Three different types of security are improved by using satellite communications: keeping workers safe, ensuring the privacy of data, and protecting the assets of the physical site itself.
Workers: In the event of any sort of illness, accident, or harm, instant communications can make a life-or-death difference. A SATCOM system that has reliable connectivity, fast data speeds, and optimized voice service is the best way to ensure workers in the field will get the attention they need as quickly as possible.
Data: A large volume of data is routinely generated on today’s digital oil field, and it needs to be shared in real time with geologists, engineers, and supervisors in several different locations – so that decisions can be made efficiently. There are also many oil industry regulations that require online reporting. For these data needs, a SATCOM system with built-in network management is critical so that private networks can be easily created and secured, and access to data and Internet use can be controlled.
Physical Assets: Remote monitoring of an oil exploration site makes it possible to protect the physical assets, which include drilling rigs, data vans, computers, and other equipment. A SATCOM system delivering broadband connectivity can handle streaming video and camera images, providing an essential security feature when there is a need to know what is happening on the remote site.
An information technology plan for the digital oil field is a necessity today for any oil exploration company that wants to operate securely and remain competitive. Fast, reliable SATCOM, which enables fast decision making, has become one of the most important tools in oil exploration today. With the harsh conditions that characterize many oil sites, it is also important to have satellite antenna hardware that is rugged and fully enclosed so that dust, dirt, snow, rain, and other environmental factors are not an issue in the antenna’s performance. The ability to have mobile SATCOM is another critical feature, enabling field personnel or data vans to keep their connectivity while moving from site to site without spending time on setup.