Tyco Telecommunications to Build Undersea Fiber Optic System for BP

Tyco Telecommunications, a business unit of Tyco Electronics and an industry pioneer in undersea communications technology and marine services, has signed a contract with Houston-based BP America Inc. to supply an undersea fiber optic system serving offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The system will comprise the undersea backbone of a regional communications network, providing diverse connectivity from BP's Gulf of Mexico offshore production facilities back to the regional operating center in Houston, Texas.

The system will initially link seven deep water production platforms with landings in Freeport, Texas and Pascagoula, Mississippi. The network incorporates an upgrade capability designed to support 64 platforms.

The project has put emphasis on robustness and reliability as an outgrowth of the devastating 2005 hurricane season, which was particularly challenging for traditional communications systems. To achieve this, Tyco Telecommunications will deploy long haul undersea telecommunications technologies adapted for the unique requirements of offshore applications. Each platform will be served by a branch off of a deep water trunk. Using optical multiplexing in undersea branching units, each platform will have direct optical connectivity to both landing stations, ensuring continued operations, independent of any other platform in the system during hurricane events.

"Communications systems to high value production platforms, now further offshore in deep water, require the innovative application of undersea fiber optic technologies, especially in an environment that is susceptible to hurricanes," said Rob Munier, managing director for global solutions at Tyco Telecommunications. "The system we are building will set a new standard for offshore communications systems."

Tyco Telecommunications will manufacture the key elements of the fiber optic system at its plants in Newington, New Hampshire and Lowell, Massachusetts. The Tyco Decisive, a versatile, 140 meter cable laying vessel based at Tyco Telecommunications' depot in Baltimore, Maryland, will deploy the undersea plant and make the connections to the offshore platforms. The vessel has an American Bureau of Shipping dynamic positioning system 2 classification (DPS-2), enabling a variety of complex offshore operations anywhere in the world.

Tyco Telecommunications expects to deliver the system to BP in mid-2007.