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Shell Sarawak Berhad (Bintulu, Sarawak)

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Shell Malaysia is one of over 300 Royal Dutch/Shell Group operating companies in more than 145 countries around the world. Shell engaged in the full spectrum of the petroleum, gas and chemical industry. In Malaysia, the company has a more than a century old history, which began when it first traded at local and regional ports in the early 1890s. Shell Malaysia’s engages in 3 core business sectors, namely exploration and production, oil products and gas and power and has nine global, specialized service support hubs located in this country. Shell has invested over RM 70 billion in Malaysia over the past 4 decades and has a current investment of RM 12 billion from 2003 to 2007. Shell’s recent venture into the relatively more challenging - and costly - deepwater exploration and production in Sabah and Sarawak, is an affirmation of its long-term stance in the upstream oil and gas industry. Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies employing more than 124,000 people.
The Challenge:
  • When the need for additional fiber connectivity arose at this established SHELL site, the IT team first considered the conventional way of laying fiber cable for a redundant connection to the corporate wide area network (WAN). The effort and expense involved in laying fiber was considered and calculated. Significant recurring costs and the lengthy timeframe needed for securing appropriate work permits and trenching new-or accessing existing-fiber disqualified this choice from the list of options.
  • As safety of installation and reliability of equipment were among the driving factors in seeking an optimal solution to link the two buildings, the IT team of SHELL soon realizes that it became apparent that conventional connectivity methods would fall short of expectations.
  • SHELL IT team decided to explore wireless connectivity as the next viable method for linking these buildings. Initially, SHELL IT team looked at radio-frequency (RF) solutions but officials worried that RF was too vulnerable to interference and security risks. Because safeguarding highly confidential, proprietary client information is a top priority, an RF-only option was also taken out of contention as their networks must provide complete data protection. An RF-only solution couldn't meet the demands for the highest levels of security demanded by SHELL.
  • It appeared that FSO (Free Space Optics) could deliver last-mile connectivity between the two buildings without the expense and time constraints of installing costly fiber-optic cable or securing radio frequency spectrum licenses. SHELL IT team was most curious and concern about the impact of extreme physical weather conditions issues such as corrosive seawater, monsoon rain, thunderstorm and haze would have on optical wireless performance. After reviewing different weather tests and speaking to various references, these initial fears were allayed effectively. After carefully evaluation, SHELL IT team chose LightPointe's market-proven FlightStrata-G (Gigabit link) as the preferred choice.

The Solution:
  • FSO Technologies & Solutions Sdn Bhd, a solution provider for FSO technology for Malaysian market and a preferred LightPointe Flight Partner, took up this demanding challenge.
  • FSO Technologies installed the market proven LightPointe FlightStrata-G for SHELL Gigabit Ethernet link requirements. The performance of the system is simply overwhelming according to SHELL. It features Multi-Beam Array Tracking (MBAT), Automatic Power Control (APC) and Optical Beam Shaping (OBS) to ensure system redundancy via multiple send and receive paths, additional power during reduced weather visibility and continuous adjustment to address movement from building sway. All these features contributes to the stability and reliability despite extreme conditions experienced at this oil processing plant.
  • The entire installation was done in accordance to SHELL stringent worksite safety regulations and guidelines. No safety breeches were violated throughout the entire process and achieved a zero stop work record. The link was up and running by the 2nd day of the installation and SHELL IT team was able to begin to run a series of verification testing on data, voice and video the following day.

  • Over the next 4 weeks period, the FlightStrata-G was subjected to numerous vigorous test runs as SHELL IT team members began transferring massive amount of data, voice and video streams between these buildings on a continual basis. This bridge is currently running flawlessly and has truly live up to the stringent requirements as demanded by SHELL.

  • The FSA-G offer a speedy & convenient way to bridge LANs easily, allowing SHELL’s network administrator ample room for current applications demands and network capacity growth when their needs become apparent.