Santos Voice & Data Network

The Client

ASC satellite dish at a Santos remote siteSantos is an Australian oil and gas exploration and production company with high quality assets and projects throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The company supplies over 20% of eastern Australia’s domestic gas and produced 54.4 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2008. Santos has the largest Australian exploration portfolio by area of any company - 192,000 square kilometres. The Cooper Basin, in north-eastern South Australia, which Santos and its joint venture partners have developed, is one of Australia's largest onshore resources projects.

The Brief

ASC's transportable satellite antenna at a remote siteSantos had 18 transportable VSAT systems together with 3 fixed sites used to provide voice and data communications for their drilling operations in the Cooper Basin. They required a system to provide dedicated private satellite network capacity shared between the various remote VSAT sites with a connection back to the Santos Adelaide office. The system was also to provide internet connectivity for Santos contractors at these sites together with Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity for various 3rd party systems at the remote sites. Reliable voice communications was paramount for the remote sites in order for the remote operations to run effectively.

The Solution

transportable satellite dishAustralian Satellite Communications (ASC) was chosen by Santos to provide the solution for their remote satellite communications requirements. ASC proposed a solution utilising the iDirect Broadband IP VSAT Technology which provided Santos with a dedicated portion of satellite capacity which was totally separate from ASC’s other satellite customers. This was  implemented by providing a dedicated line card in ASC’s iDirect Hub at it’s Adelaide Teleport for Santos’s exclusive use. The line card was configured to provide 1536kbps Hub to remotes and 512kbps (later upgraded to 1024kbps) remotes to Hub, which was shared between the remote sites. Each of the transportable VSAT systems and the fixed sites were upgraded with the installation of the new iDirect satellite modems.

The Result

ASC provided the necessary routing at its Adelaide Teleport in order to route the various traffic to either the internet or dedicated terrestrial service to Santos House in Adelaide. This enabled both Santos staff and subcontractor staff to utilise the same VSAT equipment at the remote sites.

The Voice over IP (VoIP) service that was provided for Santos utilised the services of ASC’s third party VoIP provider, ISPhone, who provided the PSTN gateway services. ASC utilised it’s dedicated terrestrial link to ISPhone to ensure Quality of Service (QoS) as opposed to sending VoIP traffic via the internet. QoS over the satellite was also configured to ensure that VoIP packets were given priority over data packets and thereby provide good quality voice services.

ASC also provides ongoing on-site support for these VSAT systems in the Cooper Basin and has technical staff travel to these sites most months of the year. With a dedicated 4WD service vehicle stocked with test equipment and spares, our people fly in, fly out or "making our visits expedient and efficient" sometimes at short notice.