Hitting the ground running in Kurdistan
Written by David Greenwood on July 16th, 2012
The early, reconnaissance stages of a project are critical. Not only must you understand your client’s requirements but you must also learn everything you can about the location you will be working in.
Early in 2012 an ISN infrastructure project consultant travelled to Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to scope a project for Afren plc. Afren required a sustainable and reliable ICT infrastructure that was flexible and adaptable enough to support them from start-up through to production and beyond. All of this needed to be delivered in a region with frequent grid power failures and inconsistent mobile phone coverage.
Our project team spent time at the location gathering information about local suppliers and the existing infrastructure and deepening their understanding of the base level requirements for the project start-up. The project needed to guarantee data security, provide integrated telephony services and access to corporate information systems.
With a fast turnaround required, it is vital to build a team of contractors and locals who can get the ICT working as quickly and effectively as possible. Decisions are made as to which expertise and equipment can be sourced locally and which will be imported into the site.
By the end of this first stage (April 2012), we had established internet and telephone connectivity for three operating locations on the ground in Kurdistan including field operations, local offices and staff quarters. We also had VHF radio system operating throughout the field locations.
From nothing to up and running
As a part of transition Phase 1 of the project we will bring new sites into the network and improve system resilience, for example by providing alternative network routing. We are overseeing the fitting out of an office building, starting from an empty shell and turning it into a fully-equipped regional headquarters complete with data centre, video conferencing and CCTV. Eventually VHF radio communications will link the field sites and regional HQ some 80 km away.
The next stages of the project will see us rolling out point to point microwave and continuing to improve internet connectivity between the sites on the ground and corporate headquarters. By the end of 2012, the ICT will be fully integrated with the rest of the global IT infrastructure providing the full suite of services and we will continue to provide Afren with the support and infrastructure they need to maximise their investment in Kurdistan.
Working in Kurdistan
Every project we work on is different and each location brings its own challenges. We aim to provide exactly the right ICT infrastructure and support our clients need – exactly when they need it. We combine tried and tested project methodologies, a deep understanding of our clients’ needs, collaborative approaches, experts on the ground and world class support and project management. To that we can now add “experience of making things work in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.”
SMi Oil & Gas Communications – ISN’s conference highlights
Written by David Ellison on March 23rd, 2012
Like many companies involved in the oil industry, ISN get a lot of cold calls asking us to attend or sponsor events taking place around the world. However we were lucky that some of the most worthwhile ones we attended last year took place within walking distance of our office in Notting Hill. This year we decided to sponsor SMi’s 5th annual conference on Oil & Gas Communications on 21-22 March. Last year’s conference was a great opportunity to meet people involved in comms at oil and service companies. This year we were looking forward to some entertaining presentations, catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. Here are some of my own personal highlights from the presentations given:
Professor Ifiok Otung, Professor of Satellite Communications at Glamorgan University, started by reclaiming the word “bandwidth” from the sales and marketing world and explained the science behind satellite bit-rate and the limitations that prevent faster links. He issued a challenge to satellite providers asking why they will not break with the status quo and simply design satellites with bigger antennae to give us faster satellite communications.
Hassan Karim, Saudi Aramco’s charismatic Communications Engineer, explored some of the potential security threats to the oil industry in a new era where the systems exposed to threat (attack surface) is much greater and the sources of danger (attack vectors) have increased exponentially. He showed us how attacks on VSAT might take place and provided some suggestions for countering them. Conferences can soon become dull if there are no questions from the floor, but there was no danger of this when Hassan took his seat in the audience.
Dennis Vause, Tullow Oil’s new Head of Infrastructure, discussed some of the challenges of delivering comms to onshore well sites in Africa and made the point that a slower more expensive VSAT link that works all the time is far better than a fast, cheap fibre or WiMax solution that works sometimes.
Hugh McIntyre, Head of IT infrastructure at Wood Group outlined the company’s value system: safety, relationships, social responsibility, people, innovation, financial responsibility and integrity. Living those values is a key reason why they are one of the most successful and fastest growing service companies in the industry. He illustrated his talk with stories of how those values were applied in their work worldwide. At ISN we agree wholeheartedly that it takes more than technical skill to deliver the best IT, comms and services to customers.
Kassim Al Hassani has been involved for many years in the comms regulatory institutions of Iraq and his explanation of how things are done in Iraq was invaluable for our own new projects in Kurdistan.
Our pick of forthcoming events relating to IT infrastructure in the oil industry are, Finding Petroleum’s conference: IT Infrastructure for the Digital Oilfield in Aberdeen on 7 June and SMi’s Oil and Gas Cyber Security Conference 14-15 November 2012.
Come and meet us at the Aberdeen event where we will be presenting our own experiences of how oilfield technology is evolving and looking ahead to future possibilities.
ISN works for 3 out of 4 largest UK independents
Written by David Ellison on August 19th, 2011
Afren now ranked 3rd in UK main board peer group
After the entry of ISN client, Afren plc (AFR.L), into the Kurdistan region of Iraq, they are now ranked 3rd amongst UK independent oil companies by last reported net 2p and 2C reserves.
The acquisition of Kurdistan’s Barda Rash and Ain Sifni assets increase Afren’s recoverable reserves from 136 mmboe to 1,026 mmboe.
ISN continue to provide IT support and consultancy to Afren at their London HQ as well as Houston, Lagos and their African production well sites.
ISN are currently working on a drilling comms project for Tullow Oil plc Ghana (TLW.L), the UK’s largest independent, equipping the Sedco Energy rig with VSAT and IT systems.
ISN has worked with 4th ranked Premier Oil plc (PMO.L) for a number of years on a range of IT and comms projects.
Many congratulations to Afren on their newest acquisitions and continued growth!
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...we recognised the need to partner with an organisation that had the track-record and expertise in project management for the oil and gas industry. ISN Solutions delivered.
Petroceltic International plc
Our partnership with ISN Solutions began in 2007 and has grown with us as Afren has expanded. We rely on ISN Solutions for direction and technical guidance. The relationship is not about money, but about partnering with competent and knowledgeable specialists who know our organisation, understand the oil and gas exploration and production business and are able to work as our IT department to help us improve and enhance our operation and maximise our investments in IT.