The explosive growth in demand for global communications has been met by a rapid evolution in the undersea fiber-optic technology, which in just a few years has become the predominant method of communication across the world's oceans and seas. As the scope of applications has become broader, the technology has become more diverse, and now comprises a range of products capable of providing economical, reliable service in any subsea environment, from ocean depths to coastal lagoons.

In this paper, we discuss how undersea lightwave technology is being applied to meet the communication and production control needs of the offshore oil and gas industry. We discuss the trends and technology developments that are changing the economics of undersea fiber-optic communication networks, as well as synergies in the offshore industry. We consider various applications for the industry and means of enhancing the profitability of platform operations through reduced downtime, reduced operating cost, and enhanced safety. Finally, we discuss extensions to exploratory drilling and land-based operations.

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