With the launching of the world's first commercial maritime satellite over the Atlantic, a new era in communications will open for the offshore industry. The Atlantic satellite will be followed by a Pacific satellite -to form the space portion of the new MARISAT System. After launching of the two satellites, the operational phase will start approximately 30–45 days thereafter.
The MARISAT Satellite Communications System. the first of its kind, will be capable of providing service to 95% of the world's present offshore petroleum exploration and production areas. With the availability of maritime production areas. With the availability of maritime communications via satellite, fast and reliable communications can be established on-demand between shore offices and vessels, barges and rigs working in the offshore industry. These channels can be configured to provide a variety of services which facilitate offshore operations. Instantaneous telex and telephone circuits can be established between the rig and any telex machine or public telephone anywhere in the world. Special arrangements will allow rigs to talk by either teletype, telex, or voice to their own shore offices. Special data circuits can be provided, enabling data generated on the rigs to be analyzed by on-shore computers in real time. For example, seismic data transmitted at a speed of 240 KBPS can be sent from ship-to-shore, which will facilitate on-the-spot quality check and better management of both vessel and data processing center.
The equipment on the rig is small and easy to install or move from rig-to-rig, ship-to-ship. A fully stabilized four-foot antenna is used, and solid-state technology is used throughout.
The following are examples of operational applications of satellite communications which will increase the efficiency of offshore rigs, construction spreads and seismic ships.
The operational pattern of seismic ship exploration is uniquely suited to satellite communications. These small ships range at sea on an average of 22 to 31 days per month.
These ships, during an average exploration operation, run approximately 150 miles per day at a speed of about seven knots collecting seismic data. This data is accumulated and stored on tapes for unloading a month or more later at a foreign port of entry for transmittal back to the home office. or to a computer center that may be located thousands of miles from the operational area. MARISAT high-speed data capability would enable these ships to transmit almost in real time to the computer center. The ability to transmit reliably, 24 hours per day, direct ship-to-shore has both real and intrinsic value for the oil company, as well as the seismic contractor.
The oil company will have a better control over at-sea operations. Their geophysical department can quality check incoming data and redirect exploration within hours instead of rescheduling an entirely new survey. The seismic contractor also can bypass special delivery of thousands of roles of tape per month, and can avoid costly loading and unloading per month, and can avoid costly loading and unloading procedures. In addition, the standard services of telex and procedures. In addition, the standard services of telex and telephone will create a better communication posture never before obtainable by seismic exploration management real time, reliable 24-hour communication. Productivity can increase and a distinct cost savings can be realized over current HF telex charges.
The large construction barges and pipe-laying spreads, beset with many logistical and coordinating problems, will be able to afford the utility of communicating through COMSAT General's MARISAT.
These barges, with up to 350 personnel on board, will be able to interchange instantaneous communication with their regional operations offices. Telex can be handled over a voice grade circuit at a far greater speed than conventional telex by accumulating messages and transmitting them by teleprinter. This could realize tremendous cost savings. The flexibility of COMSAT General's mobile terminals will give the operator maximum opportunity to switch his terminals to where it can be most appropriately used.
The use of L-band in transmitting over the system gives the operator a communication link of higher quality and privacy. In most areas where HF and tropospheric communication networks exist, and where there is a large amount of offshore activity, both confusion and queueing are the order of the day. The circuits are crowded and the weather needs to be right for proper communication.