FD Radar and new communication systems for Bay of Campeche

Following the recent installation of the first C-Scope Frequency Diversity System on the American Continent, at the Dos Bocas station located in Tabasco, Mexico, Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) has contracted Kongsberg Norcontrol IT to provide the same radar enhancing technology on six platforms in the Bay of Campeche oilfield. The leading VTS developer has also been tasked with the contract to upgrade and extend the VHF communication systems for logistics and marine in the Bay of Campeche.

The new Frequency Diversity System at the Dos Bocas station is based on Kongsberg Norcontrol IT’s new C-Scope Extractor and Tracker technology. This sophisticated solution uses advanced signal processing techniques to extrapolate an even clearer image from the raw radar signal without the need for expensive new hardware. It enables high-resolution real-time vessel tracking for the VTS, higher performance out of existing radar sites and improvements to sites already using the best antennas and transceivers.

“By installing C-Scope Extractor and Tracker, PEMEX is again leading the way in VTS technology,” comments Pedro J. Cruz Gonzalez, Project Manager, Kongsberg Norcontrol IT. “After the installation at Dos Bocas station and the following good performance of the system, PEMEX has also signed a contract with us to extend the technology onto six oil platforms. This represents a whole upgrade of the VTMIS in the Bay of Campeche and all of PEMEX’s remote sites should be using the Frequency Diversity System based on C-Scope technology by summer 2009.”

The new VHF and Frequency Diversity systems are a continuation of Kongsberg Norcontrol IT’s vessel traffic monitoring at the Bay of Campeche, the largest oilfield in Mexico and the world’s largest offshore oil development project, which started with the installation of the company’s VOC 80 solution in 1981. The VTS is now based on Kongsberg Norcontrol IT’s VTMIS 5060 architecture and is responsible for monitoring 200-300 vessels per day in a high-risk maritime domain.

PEMEX has previously signed a long term maintenance contract with Kongsberg Norcontrol IT, reflecting the high requirement to ensure the ability of the VTS to efficiently monitor and track all vessels in the domain. There are a number of challenges to ensuring safety in the Bay of Campeche. It is only 40-50m deep in most areas so there is a real danger to underwater infrastructure from fishing activity. Additionally, the numerous supply and personnel vessels in the field are generally fast moving targets, so PEMEX requires a solution capable of tracking these in an already crowded area.

Kongsberg Norcontrol IT has developed a total of seven radar sites and eight AIS base station sites to monitor traffic in the bay. Because it is so large, with so many small vessels, two control centres were required, one shore-based (with three VTS workstations and a supervisor station) and another on a platform with two VTS workstations. The two control centres are approx. 100 nautical miles apart and responsible for monitoring the traffic in distinct areas. Both control centres share VTS information and are connected by microwave link.

In addition to the developments in Frequency Diversity Systems, the new contract to upgrade and extend the VHF communication systems for logistics and marine use for the Bay of Campeche oilfield, will provide an added level of safety and security.

“The appointment of Kongsberg Norcontrol IT to supply the communications upgrades and extension is the latest development in our relationship with PEMEX, which has lasted over a quarter of a century,” says Fred Fredriksen, Key Account Manager, Kongsberg Norcontrol IT.