5 mins

Shearwater GeoServices is a global provider of powerful geophysical marine seismic acquisition and processing services. It has a fleet of modern purpose-built vessels, along with innovative 3D marine seismic data, imaging products and data processing software, to help clients in the resources industry with exploration and maximise their production efficiency.

“Our partnership with Telstra on this project has shown the strategy works and I am excited to use this model for the future.”

Simon Telfer
Global Vice President of Processing and Imaging at Shearwater

The Challenge

A new contract in India

Shearwater signed a major contract with a client in India, which engaged the company to acquire and process data on the east and west coasts of the subcontinent. Indian law classifies such data as key to national security, which meant it could not be taken out of the country.

While Shearwater typically processes data in its facilities in the UK and Norway, it needed to house its data processing and analysis facilities in India for this project to meet its contractual and legal obligations. To complicate matters further, the client set challenging timeframes for the project, with penalties for not meeting deadlines.

Simon Telfer, Global Vice President of Processing and Imaging at Shearwater and Nick Riddalls, Shearwater’s Processing and Imaging Manager, described the timeframe as the main challenge, noting that they had to start work no later than eight weeks after the contract was signed or face penalties.

When the contract was signed, Shearwater had no experience of working in India and had no facilities or staff in the country at all. The company needed to set up its sites from scratch, with all the necessary computing, connectivity, and office space for its staff.

Simon and Nick knew they needed to work with a partner who could provide access to local expertise. That partner had to help Shearwater achieve three key objectives for its Indian operations. First, they needed to set up operations without a high fixed cost. Second, they needed the flexibility to easily scale the solution. Most importantly, they also had to enable Shearwater to meet the client’s deadlines.

“We had had contact with Telstra in the past and we knew that they were a high-quality provider, and they were able to offer us a flexible solution that would work for us,” Simon said.

The Solution

Telstra designed a ‘one-stop shop’ solution for Shearwater. It set up a project office in Mumbai including secure office space, rack space, colocation services, connectivity, processing equipment and bespoke cabling. Telstra also provided ongoing support through its managed network services for the life of the project.

Using its expertise and capabilities on the ground, and collaborating with its teams in Singapore, Sweden and the UK, Telstra had the solution operational well ahead of the client’s deadline.

“Nobody thought it was possible but we actually did it within six weeks with the help of Telstra,” Simon said. “We also had a deadline at the end of the project. If we missed that deadline to complete all requirements then the penalties were extremely high. The fact that Telstra got us up and running very quickly and then provided us with an excellent service throughout the contract meant that we delivered on time and avoided all of those penalties.”

The Benefits

Telstra’s solutions also helped Shearwater’s team in India deliver to the company’s exacting standards, and those of its client.

“For this project, we needed to connect our supervisors in the UK to the geophysicists based in Mumbai. We also needed to interact with our clients who often needed to download terabytes of data at a time,” Nick said. “They expected to press a button and have it downloaded promptly. In order to meet those expectations we had to have low-latency, high-bandwidth connectivity and it has to be up 100 per cent of the time. If there’s a delay, if the link goes down then it’s a problem for us but that didn’t happen. We operated in Mumbai for 18 months and it was very fast reliable service the whole time.”

Telstra provided a flexible commercial model based on operating expenditure (opex), instead of high fixed costs for Shearwater to set up operations and scale quickly. This solution required working with local partners for co-location, office space and on-going service, as well as for connectivity. The Telstra team served as a single point of contact for Shearwater throughout the set-up and operational phases.

“We have a strategy where we have hubs for processing and we don’t aim to have centres in every country. Yet for that model to work we need to work with a company like Telstra to provide that nimble solution and get us operational quickly.

“Telstra’s ability to provide an opex model meant that we didn’t have to allocate significant capital to setting up an office in India. At the end of the project we were able to shut down and remove all costs. None of our competitors are doing that at the moment so it is a huge differentiator for Shearwater,” Simon said.

“Our partnership with Telstra on this project has shown the strategy works and I am excited to use this model for the future.”