Petrobel gets voice and video for its oil rigs

Cisco Unified Communications implemented to link offshore facilities

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By  Brid-Aine Conway Published  April 20, 2008

Egypt’s Belayim Petroleum Company (Petrobel) has implemented Cisco Unified Communications as a link between its headquarters and oil rigs.

Using the system, drilling crews and staff at the headquarters can have voice and video communications through wireless IP phones and the wireless local area network (LAN).

Cisco Aironet mesh access points were used in the implementation as they can operate without a direct connection to a wired network, meaning a converged wireless LAN can be established offshore.

Employees and technicians can now take calls and share video images in real time – even on the drilling area – with colleagues at headquarters, according to Cisco.

“When presented with the opportunity to run a pilot of the new application, Petrobel not only jumped at the chance, but also decided to test it in the most demanding environment available to it – the Adriatic X exploration rig operating 75 kilometres offshore,” said Hani Abdel Aziz, Cisco general manager for Egypt.

“Industry figures estimate that typically 15% to 25% of drilling time is lost due to some kind of trouble encountered during the drilling process,” he added.

The wireless mesh LAN was established on the Adriatic X rig using just three Aironet access points, Cisco stated, and took two days to complete.

Said Rechchad, enterprise lead for Cisco Africa and Levant, expects to see the technology in place on all the rigs within the next five years.

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