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Timely Oil Rig Decommissioning Requires Unique Solution from Bill Young Productions


- Clear-Com’s LQ and Agent-IC come to the rescue in Gulf of Mexico -

Bill Young Productions (BYP), a company known for their bold and innovative technology solutions in both live events and the corporate sector, was recently approached to document the decommissioning of an oil rig based in the Gulf of Mexico. The project presented several challenges, including syncing communications between a widely geo-dispersed team, unique environmental considerations related to the dismantling process, and the onset of COVID-19. Ultimately, Clear-Com’s Encore Party line, LQ® IP Series Interfaces, and Agent-IC® Mobile Intercom App were the most appropriate solution for this tall order.

The decommissioning project began in 2012 and was in the last stages of completion, which would involve detaching the rig from the ocean floor by strategically placing explosives along the cables anchoring it in place. The sensitivity of this task required explosive specialists to board a separate vessel that would take them onsite for the placement and detonation process. En route, a crew member tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and the vessel was forced to return to shore, so crew members could be properly quarantined for the next 14 days.

Rather than postponing an additional two weeks, BYP was asked to architect a solution that would allow the quarantined team to connect with the BYP personnel already aboard the rig, in near real-time, to supervise the process of allocating explosives.

Sid Farbstein, Sr. Vice President of BYP contacted Clear-Com on Friday, they worked out the system design over the weekend, and the equipment was on site by Sunday. “When a client says ‘jump’, we jump and find a solution to reduce money lost and time sitting idle,” said Farbstein, “And we rely on the service and support of partners like Clear-Com to help get it done.”

The solution required low-latency audio, video, and bidirectional communications to be transmitted from the rig via the internet to a secure webpage that could be accessed by the quarantined group. Full-duplex multichannel intercom allowed hands-free communication between several geo-dispersed groups—personnel onboard the rig, in the quarantined location, personnel at BYP’s headquarters in Houston, and team members at multiple locations across the country—all speaking as if in the same room.

With explosives on board, RF and WiFi could not be used so a hardwired partyline system was connected to an LQ box and then uplinked to a satellite internet connection to distribute audio between locations. Remote personnel could then tap into LQ using the Agent-IC mobile app over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi.  Simply put, staff on the platform could communicate hands-free to any team member, at any location, in near real-time. “LQ in concert with Agent-IC is what allowed us to distribute comms with very low latency literally anywhere in the world, and we couldn’t believe how well it worked,” explained BYP Sr. Vice President, Sid Farbstein. “We had a rock-solid system.”

BYP was the sole video provider for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and are known for orchestrating solutions quickly and efficiently. Though they are widely known for their work in live events, they have a sizeable corporate market that they serve, including marine and offshore projects. “No matter the project,” Farbstein concludes, “you can’t call a show without Clear-Com.”