Stolt Offshore, a contractor to the oil and gas industry, specializes in offshore and subsea engineering, flowline and pipeline lay, construction, inspection and maintenance services.
The offshore industry is making ever-greater use of satellite communications, as businesses rely more heavily on data-rich communication and at the same time the costs of ownership and operation close the gap with MF and HF (medium and high frequency) equipment. Next-generation satcom, which will offer even higher rates of data transfer, will accelerate this steady encroachment and the continued development of data alongside voice.
But it is not only the rise of hardware technology that is driving the offshore communications market. Increasingly, companies outsource more of their non-core operations to drive down cost and improve performance. One growing element of this is in equipment service and technical support.
Stolt Offshore, a contractor to the oil and gas industry, specializes in offshore and subsea engineering, flowline and pipeline lay, construction, inspection and maintenance services. The company recently changed satellite communications provider and gained an approach to outsourced maintenance and support. The new supplier, Nera Satellite Services Ltd (NSSL), provides Inmarsat-A, -B, and -M equipment and airtime services with voice, data and high-speed ISDN capabilities for data transfer. The company is also providing a worldwide 24/7 service and maintenance solution covering all of Stolt's on-board navigational equipment as well as the satellite and terrestrial communications hardware.
Access to the NSSL service is via a single phone number from anywhere in the world. Additionally, in a move to simplify tracking equipment status and repair progress, NSSL developed a password protected website where Stolt personnel can view an up-to-date equipment inventory and service log for every ship, and also gain access via e-mail to a 24/7 service center. The website also carries dedicated spares and support documentation covering the company's equipment so that operators have appropriate information to make minor repairs.
Nader Haghighat, Offshore Account Manager for NSSL, said "To maximize efficiency, lean companies focus on their core expertise and outsource the remainder to specialist suppliers. As soon as we're notified of an equipment problem, we'll send a service crew out to meet the ship at its next port of call, or get a crew out to an installation as fast as necessary."