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Reliable, real-time surveillance of operations

Our BGAN M2M service provides a low-cost solution to support real-time M2M applications, offering a scalable solution for smart metering, SCADA, remote asset monitoring and environmental data reporting.

Running on our ultra-reliable L-band satellite network, our BGAN M2M service offers up to 99.9% uptime, so that important infrastructure assets located in the remotest places around the world can be monitored and controlled. This means businesses can be confident that their infrastructure and operations are operating with maximum efficiency.

Customer challenge

As part of the oil and gas industry’s drive to reduce costs, lower safety risk, increase production and improve efficiency, pipeline monitoring is key to ensure the smooth flow of product to its desired destination. The long distances that pipelines cover mean that there are strict regulatory requirements on pipeline monitoring to ensure operational and lone worker safety throughout these locations, and to enable fast and accurate responses to any damages or leakages.

This careful monitoring means that revenue losses can be avoided as unexpected downtime can be minimised with these valuable pipeline operational insights. It also means that accidents, such as explosions and leakages and the ensuing environmental damages, can be prevented.

As the length of the pipelines can be vast and they can travel along inhospitable terrain, not only are they are often badly served by cellular services but they are difficult to manually monitor. The key issue is that the cost of building infrastructure to support cellular connectivity (or any other form of terrestrial communications) along the length of the pipeline would be too high and impractical.

Manually monitoring of these pipelines requires constant costly and dangerous travel for engineers to assess conditions and performance, which is also unfeasible. These options are inefficient and high risk for employees, and the periods between maintenance visits could leave the pipeline exposed to the risk of unplanned outages and costly downtime if operation is sub-optimal and potential damage if a problem occurs.

Our solution

Inmarsat’s BGAN M2M service enables continuous monitoring and controlling the flow of product through an oil or gas pipeline, which is vital to ensure the product reaches the refining and market area for sale and consumption.

The Inmarsat BGAN M2M service operates on our L-band network, which provides military-grade safety and security. It is the most reliable satellite network available, and is the ideal satellite network for pipeline monitoring, as it provides up to 99.9% uptime, in any continental location aside from the far poles. Its robust capabilities operate even in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, where other satcom networks may struggle.

The strict communication requirements of pipeline monitoring can be met by multiple valve stations which are installed along the pipeline. These stations are appointed with numerous sensors and flow meters that are connected via Inmarsat’s BGAN M2M.

These connected communication points allow operators to monitor and control the status of the product in the pipeline. When the flow rate drops, as gauged by flow meters, operators can immediately identify the problem and the point where the flow rate shifts. This enables operators to accurately pinpoint the problem area and begin the remedial process. The meters and sensors also monitor cathodic corrosion in addition to changes in pressure and can send an alert triggering an investigation and mitigating loss.

Connected to a central point, sensors and flow meters can be configured to trigger an alert when certain indicators occur. Once the sensors have been triggered, indicating that a parameter or value has dropped below or risen above a certain point, a message is sent to a central data collection point using Inmarsat BGAN M2M to initiate corrective action. This action prevents costly loss of product and damage to the pipeline.

The service features robust and compact terminals, such as the Hughes BGAN 9502, which are easy to install and are Class 1 Division 2 certificated, so can withstand hostile and hazardous environmental conditions.

With low monthly data usage rates and hardware that has a long lifespan of at least ten years, the total cost of ownership for the Inmarsat service is minimal compared to the cost of dispatching technicians to a remote site, and include the added benefit of achieving a higher continuity of service.

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