Deal with Enitel

March 22, 2000, 13:30 CET

Access to a fibre-optic network in the northern North Sea has been secured by Statoil and Norsk Hydro under a deal with telecommunications company Enitel.

Due to be financed, built and owned by Enitel, this submarine system is due to be operational in February 2001.

The deal commits the telecommunication company to provide services via the network for 10 years, with an option to extend this for another decade.

Statoil's aim is to tie all its licences in the area to the network, reports evaluation manager John Knapskaug, who negotiated the contract.

"This will give us a high-speed link between land and offshore, and between the installations, which means we can use new applications as efficiently on a platform as on shore," he explains.

"That in turn opens the way to better interaction between our offshore installations and land-based facilities."

The cable will be roughly 200 kilometres long and run from Troll, via Veslefrikk, Huldra, Kvitebjørn, Gullfaks and Snorre to Oseberg.

Troll A, Gullfaks C, Snorre and Oseberg are the field centres due to be initially connected to the network. Other installations in the area can be tied in through local high-capacity radio links and infield fibre-optic cables.

Enitel already operates communication cables across the North Sea, running from Statoil's Draupner platforms via Ula, Ekofisk and Valhall to the UK.

Statoil also operates several fibre-optic cables, including one between its Kårstø gas treatment complex north of Stavanger and Draupner. Enitel has user rights to this.

Mr Knapskaug reports that communication between sea and land today largely uses radio links with limited capacity. Fibre-optic cables offer very large transmission capacities and improved communication quality.