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Insight article

Hotspot Low Earth Orbit LEO Satellite Internet

1 Jan 2023

The Shearwater seismic acquisition fleet has benefitted from satellite internet access for many years. When this connectivity was first established it changed the industry by introducing the concept of survey collaboration and significantly reducing survey data access time. 

With seismic acquisition surveys taking place in the most isolated corners of the Earth, geostationary satellite solutions with high latency and low bandwidth have given us a telescopic view of the operations offshore. For real-time data driven decisions, onboard expertise was limited to sharing images or highly compressed volumes. 

Bringing vessels closer to shore

Now, by utilizing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite internet providers, the Shearwater seismic acquisition fleet is upgrading its connectivity. This is exciting for seismic data projects. Being better connected means working closer together, in real-time collaboration. Meetings between vessel and office have direct project achievement, with data sessions now interacting with entire spreads and volumes. Real-time operational decisions can involve teams of experts. More bandwidth increases access to data historically siloed onboard, and more articulation with our fast-track processing team and the edge computing clusters aboard our fleet.

Reduced operational exposure

This connectivity will provide exciting options for remote teamwork. MMO (marine mammal observer) and PAM (passive acoustic monitoring) observers working remotely, increases operational efficiency whilst reducing HSE exposure and risk. This advance in technology also significantly improves quality of life for our offshore team members, providing them with a valuable and reliable connection to the outside world.

SW Mikkelsen with Low Earth Orbit phase-array antenna among the other masts.

As solutions are being deployed across our fleet, our vessels will no longer be remote outposts, but fully integrated scientific data platforms. The implications for this for interaction with our onboard fast track seismic processing teams are large and will allow Shearwater to develop opportunities to make the most of the large scale HPC onboard our vessels.