Ichthys LNG and Prelude FLNG, major capital projects currently under development by INPEX and Shell, respectively, have announced plans to invest in a subsea optical fiber cable system to provide a high-speed data and voice communications conduit for the two facilities linking them to shore from Australia’s Browse basin.
Winning the contract to build, own and operate the system is Australian communications firm Nextgen Group. The subsea cable will span 2000 kilometers between Darwin and Port Hedland and work on the project is to commence immediately with completion scheduled for 2016. According to NextGen, the contract value is worth upwards of AU$100 million.
The system will provide an initial design capacity of 3.2 Tbits/s with future upgradeable potential of up to 32 Tbits/s according to Alcatel-Lucent, the Paris-based communications firm which will provide the undersea cable technology for this project.
Shell Prelude Asset Manager Jim Marshall said Prelude FLNG’s close proximity to Ichthys represented a significant opportunity for INPEX and Shell to achieve a better technical and commercial outcome. “The subsea cable will give us a highly reliable and stable high-speed voice and data service which is essential for effective and efficient operations at our future offshore facilities,” Mr Marshall said. “It means that workers at Shell and INPEX will have an ultra high speed communications link so they can stay in touch with their friends and families while working at offshore facilities. Our investment will also establish a valuable piece of infrastructure that has the capacity to support the development of future offshore resources in the Browse Basin.”
Last week Alcatel-Lucent completed an upgrade of two transatlantic optical fiber links from the US – UK and US – France enabling each cable to hit 25 terabits-per-second data transfer speeds.
Further reading: “The Global Subsea Interweb”