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A Case In Point: ROCKs In Papua New Guinea
by Katia Gryadunova, Marketing Manager, Pactel International

The challenge—communications and logistics are one of the most complex decisions that must be faced by mining, oil and gas companies. The decision’s complexity is further complicated for companies that require frequent site relocations. The exploration team needs to communicate as if every remote site is but an extension of their corporate network. The logistics process associated with relocation must be optimized and the costs must be minimized.

PactelFig1 Communication Challenges
Finding a solution compatible with specific network requirements, yet portable enough to suit frequent site relocations, can be a most difficult task. In this particular instance, the communications infrastructure has to be ruggedized as well as easy to deploy and operate. Furthermore, the network service must meet the corporate needs as well as those of the workers living on site, while being scalable to allow for future growth and expansion.

Failure to address corporate and personal communication requirements will compromise productivity and result in unhappy personnel. Ideally, the company should be offered a solution that provides reliable industry-specific communications, all the while being robust enough to support frequent site relocations.

Logistical Challenges + Solution
Establishing a traditional VSAT service can be a challenge as well as resource-consuming when relocation must occur every few weeks or so. Dismantling, transporting and installing the equipment often requires the service provider’s help. Such incurs extra time and additional costs. In this situation, quick deploy communication becomes a far more viable solution.

To overcome the communication and logistical challenges associated with frequent site relocation, Horizon Oil—a company exploring for oil and gas in Papua New Guinea (PNG)—needed a solution that would combine the portability of quick deploy equipment with a satellite service in conjunction with an immediately available and flexible bandwidth pool.

PactelFig2 The exploration activities required a camp relocation every two to three months until a permanent camp could be established. In PNG’s Western Province region, transport infrastructure is limited, with heavy lift helicopters the primary freight option for camp relocation. Consequently, the equipment had to be highly portable, and simple to set up and operate with minimum technical support in a hot and humid tropical environment.

The key communication requirement was the availability of dedicated bandwidth for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that supports Internet and voice applications. In addition, instant wireless and voice access had to be available, the worker welfare solution incorporated into the network, and the voice communications prioritized.

The resource sector’s unique requirements prompted Pactel International to design a Remote Office Communications Kit (ROCK) solution with a set of options specific to temporary network deployment at mining, exploration and construction sites. Although, the solution can be standardized, the customer has an option of choosing their desired hardware, service and the antenna type.

In the case of Horizon Oil, the solution included a 2.4 meter semi-fixed antenna, a ruggedized equipment rack and a VPN service with dedicated bandwidth. Based on one of Pactel’s corporate C-band platforms, the service supports simultaneous, but separated, corporate voice and Internet applications and recreational traffic. An additional QoS platform ensures that the priority is given to the voice traffic. The dedicated bandwidth pool allows for sharing of satellite bandwidth between operations in the day and welfare applications such as Social Media and Skype at night.

The equipment and antenna were designed for rapid and simple deployment with training for company self-install and commissioning, saving time and the costs associated with logistics and equipment operation and maintenance.

PactelFig3Having access to a communications network which could be up and running with short lead times, whilst minimizing the logistical challenges is important during the initial exploration stages”, said Graham Madsen, KDC—Project Consultants to Horizon Oil. “We congratulate Pactel on developing a solution that precisely meets our customer needs and allows us to cost-effectively manage bandwidth and equipment across all locations", added Mr. Madsen.

About Pactel International
Founded in 2003, Pactel International is an Australian-owned global satellite communications provider, supplying connectivity across all areas of the Asia-Pacific region, with offerings ranging from commercial and corporate to carrier-grade networks that support services such as Internet, Private WAN, Telephony and Voice and Mobile GSM. Complete service customization; 24x7 network monitoring and customer support as well as superior quality and reliability of service and equipment during harsh environments and extreme weather conditions within the Asia-Pacific Region are all priorities for Pactel Intentional. The primary mission is to provide remotely-based businesses and communities with peace of mind by keeping them connected: constantly, reliably and efficiently. Accordingly, the company is committed to providing a communication infrastructure that reflects the diversity and support for end-user requirements.

About Horizon Oil
Horizon Oil Limited is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and is one of Australia’s leading junior upstream oil & gas companies. It is currently included in the ASX 300 index with a market capitalisation of around US$400 million (April 2012). Horizon Oil’s ASX stock code is HZN. Horizon Oil’s head office is located in Sydney, Australia and oversees the Company’s international operations. Horizon Oil’s focus area is South East Asia and Australasia where there is a strong demand for oil and gas, a mature operating environment and limited competition from big companies. Horizon Oil’s portfolio includes offshore production and exploration assets in New Zealand and assets under development and/or appraisal offshore China and onshore PNG. Horizon Oil’s PNG assets include a 50 percent interest in PRL 4, which contains the Stanley gas / condensate field and a 50 percent interest in PRL 21, which contains the Elevala and Ketu gas / condensate discoveries. Horizon Oil has been active in PNG since the late 1990s, establishing a permanent office in Port Moresby in 2009.