Home >> November 2013 Edition >> A Case In Point — Gas Production Supports Employee Welfare Comms
A Case In Point — Gas Production Supports Employee Welfare Comms
By Nick Miller, Sales Director + Satellite Specialist, Pactel International


The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities in the Southern Highlands and Western Provinces of Papua New Guinea, including liquefaction and storage facilities with capacity of 6.9 million tons per year. 

With more than 700 kilometres (450 miles) of pipelines connecting the facilities, PNG LNG will provide a long-term supply of Liquefied Natural Gas to four major LNG customers in the Asia region including: China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), Osaka Gas Company Limited, The Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc., and Chinese Petroleum Corporation.

Esso Highlands Limited (Company), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corporation, is constructing and will operate the Project on behalf of the co-venturers—Oil Search Limited , NPCP, Santos, JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration, Mineral Resources Development Company and Petromin PNG Holdings Limited. (Please see Figure 1 below).

The Challenge
Accommodation Camp B (pictured below) required a new communication system to respond to the welfare needs of 9,000 workers residing at the premises of the LNG Plant. The staff needed fast Internet connectivity for recreational purposes and reliable voice services to be able to communicate with their families. 

The link had to be optimized in order to cope with the high-volume recreational traffic, as well as allow bandwidth demanding applications, such as Video Streaming and File Sharing, to perform seamlessly across all user-owned devices. (BYOD=Bring Your Own Device, where employees bring their own mobile devices to the work site and then use them to gain admission to company servers and information they are allowed to access.)

Finally, the network design had to be rigid and simple with minimal hardware and maintenance costs as well as simple administration management.

To address these unique requirements, a collaborative partnership was formed between a local communications supplier, Rural Tech Development, and global satellite services provider, Pactel International. The partnership combined the local presence and expertise of Rural Tech Development, who have already performed the majority of fiber optic splice and termination as well as OTDR tests and end-to-end certification at the PNG LNG plant site, with the satellite expertise and global reach of Pactel International, who operate seven welfare networks globally and have more than 30, corporate-grade, satellite links into remote PNG. (Please see Figure 2 on the next page.)

Figure 1. The PNG LNG Project Map

The Solution
In late 2012, Rural Tech developed and implemented a wireless solution capable of providing uniform coverage across 1.2km2 camp accommodation quarters. The solution was designed to support voice calls via secure VoIP pay phones and Internet services via the workers’ personal devices and the Internet cafe. Using multiple bandwidth reserves and a carrier-grade, cost efficient Newtec platform, Pactel International provided a 10MB satellite link, while Rural Tech managed the complete onsite systems installation and layout. 

“Coverage penetration was, and still is, particularly challenging due to the geographical spread of the camp,” said Shahram Honarzad (Shaz), Technical Director at Rural Tech Development. “We didn’t want to risk having poor and uneven coverage in certain areas, so we had to reconsider the original P2P system layout and add additional access points, where the coverage was particularly poor—a system layout comparable to a multi-story hotel building.”

Extending on the hotel network analogy, Rural Tech developed a centralized management and billing system: Every worker can purchase a pre-paid Internet and VoIP card.

To ensure maximum efficiency and seamless operation, Pactel International completed the project by integrating its value-adding services:

— Bandwidth Acceleration: Required due to the high-bandwidth nature of recreational traffic.
— The NX-2700 is a 2U appliance that supports 10 Mbps of WAN bandwidth and includes 1TB of secure local data store in a resilient configuration. The NX-2700 is ideal for remote and branch offices.
— QoS: Rules were applied to prioritize voice over data traffic and manage video and other application allowances.
— Application Filtering: To limit video usage (as the highest bandwidth-consuming application) as well as DNS to block any offensive web pages.
— Online Network Monitoring: An online portal provides scheduled and on-demand reporting on all aspects of the satellite network, including bandwidth usage and voice performance.

Figure 2. LNG Plant Layout

The Results
Complementing each other’s assets, Pactel International and Rural Tech Development met all customer expectations in designing a reliable, efficient and simple to operate welfare network. As a result, PNG LNG workers can now communicate with their families via various platforms including VoIP Phone, Skype, as well as Messenger and Social Media.

As for the PNG LNG project as a whole, it shall enjoy the following benefits:

— Increased worker quality of life
— Significant time savings in managing the new network due to centralized management
— Improved worker retention
— Improved overall business efficiency due to satisfied and therefore productive personnel

“Retaining quality personnel while sustaining costs are the two primary challenges our customers in the resource industry are faced with. The PNG LNG project was another opportunity for us to provide a responsive welfare network to address these challenges as well as strengthen our market position in PNG by providing a large-scale link into a remote location of the country”, said Nick Miller, Sales Manager of Pactel International. “I thank Rural Tech Developments for their responsiveness and professionalism throughout. It was their expertise in the PNG LNG venture and local presence that made this project possible,” added Mr Miller.

Moving Forward
Throughout the multi-year deal, Pactel will continue monitoring the existing network and provide recommendations and adjustments to the QoS rules and acceleration technology to ensure link efficiency, maximize throughput and network uptime.

For additional information regarding Pactel International, please access their website at: http://www.pactelint.com

About Pactel International
Founded in 2003, Pactel International is an Australian-based global satellite communications provider, supplying connectivity across all areas of the Asia-Pacific region.The company’s offerings range from commercial and corporate to carrier-grade networks that support services such as Internet, Private WAN, Telephony and Voice and Mobile GSM.

Pactel joined the SpeedCast Group in May 2013. This reinforces Pactel’s customer commitment by enabling us to provide global coverage; expand our service portfolio to offer an integration of telecommunications, network management and maritime solutions; and have access to a wider, diverse-carrier network and infrastructure.

About Rural Tech Development
Rural Tech Development is a traditional and independent Information and Communication Technology (ICT) provider established since 2005 in PNG. The main focus of the firm is to provide professional solutions rather than selling products and to work closely with customers and adopt a collaborative approach during the design, implementation, and delivery of all solutions to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction.