Petrobras is one of the world's leading oil companies and the largest company in Brazil. It is the dominant player in the Brazilian market, responsible for all hydrocarbon activities in the country, and is the third largest industrial company in Latin America with revenues close to US$100 billion.
Petrobras has been dramatically expanding its operations in Brazil and consequently needed to invest in advanced radio technologies to support its staff in the newly developed northern states of Bahia, Sergipe and Alagoas. Within these three states Petrobras workers operate in fertilizer plants, oil and gas pipelines, a gas processing and distribution plant, several oil fields, on land and at sea on oil platforms.
Given the need to provide reliable service over a wide coverage area within the states (while minimising the number of sites and cost) APCO P25 was selected as their preferred digital technology. P25 technology also allowed Petrobras to re-utilize their existing frequencies in 800MHz. Furthermore, P25 trunked communications were chosen due to the large range of services it offers, such as registration, priority calling and roaming. It also enables a more efficient use of available channels.
Petrobras then looked to Tait as a trusted, reliable and P25-compliant supplier to provide 1657 trunked digital P25 terminals that could be used on their existing ASTRO 25 network.
These 1657 radios included portables, mobiles and fixed station units, and were acquired separately from the network infrastructure via a leasing contract. Given the hazardous nature of the environments where the radios are deployed all Tait P25 portables were supplied as Intrinsically Safe. Some terminals were also supplied with high-level DES encryption for added security for sensitive communications between high level staff.
Given the importance of worker safety to Petrobras, Tait P25 trunked radios are also capable of making emergency calls and alarms, have Lone Worker and Man Down functionality, and can be disabled and enabled remotely via the network in the case of radio theft.
Open-standard APCO P25 technology was also of critical importance to Petrobras so that they were not "locked in" to purchasing from one manufacturer and could benefit through price competition. Indeed Tait Communications competitive pricing was one of the key factors as to why Tait was awarded the contract. Moreover Tait Communications entry into the oil and gas market in Brazil has resulted in significant savings for Petrobras, as market prices for P25 terminals have been reduced some 30-40% thanks to this competition.
As well as providing interoperability with their existing manufacturers' P25 radios, Tait radios can also make or receive telephone calls over the P25 network (via the PABX), have built-in VOX capability and have all menu text displayed in Portuguese.
Petrobras have been highly impressed by the exceptional audio quality, roaming capability and robustness of Tait P25 digital radios and are now benefiting from these advantages in the field.
This paper provides a technical comparison between DMR and TETRA voice coverage, providing a simple ratio between the number of base stations each requires to cover a given area.