BP set to load out deepwater fiber optic system

BP is preparing to load out its deepwater fiber optic cable in two weeks, according to Steve Fortune, BP's Gulf of Mexico information management director. Fortune spoke on the benefits of using fiber optics with BP's GoM deepwater facilities versus satellite communication at Microsoft's Energy Forum in Houston.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON --BP is preparing to load out its deepwater fiber optic cable in two weeks, according to Steve Fortune, BP's Gulf of Mexico information management director. Fortune spoke on the benefits of using fiber optics with BP's GoM deepwater facilities versus satellite communication at Microsoft's Energy Forum in Houston.

With massive amounts of data coming in from our deepwater production facilities through satellites, we found it created a bottleneck, Fortune explained. BP's 800-mi fiber optic loop will initially link to eight of its deepwater hubs.

"The fully functional system provides our assets with an amount of bandwidth equivalent to 5,000 satellites for every platform that we operate today," he said.

Fortune said the massive increase in bandwidth with fiber optics will help the company's offshore teams access important documents and systems more efficiently. This also will improve the remote real-time monitoring of BP's Gulf deepwater facilities, and may eventually lead to remote operations, he added.

Fortune noted that BP plans to expand the system beyond its initial eight deepwater hubs.

"The fiber optic cable is being constructed in a way where it can be expanded to additional BP hubs as they come out in the GoM," he said. The company also plans to eventually share it with other operators in the Gulf.

Installation of the fiber optic cable is scheduled to start in April, with a functional system expected by the end of September.

3/9/2007

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