It seems that prospecting for oil in the Middle East is not the licence to print money that it once was, and industry leaders are now keen to make the actual extraction of oil, as well as the day-to-day running of their businesses, as cost-effective as possible. One such leader is Petroleum Development Oman, PDO, majority-owned by the Omani government but managed by Shell, which has a 40% stake. PDO put out a tender for a high-speed network system to run its existing IBM, DEC and Hewlett-Packard-based computer operations more efficiently, and despite receiving applications from Bull HN, British Telecommunications, DEC and Ungermann Bass, it has chosen Luton, Bedfordshire-based BICC Information Systems and Services Ltd BISS – to supply the network and manage the project in a contract worth an initial $2m. The network is to be installed as part of a new administration and operations complex at PDO’s base in Mina al Fahal, and will initially link around 1,200 terminals over a number of local area networks each attached to a 100Mbps fibre-optic backbone. BISS, which forms the systems and services arm of BICC Technologies, will be using products from its sister company BICC Data Networks, such as the Isolan FDDI range of fibre-Token Ring and fibre-Ethernet communication devices, concentrators, as well as from other sources such as Gandalf; all relevant components will support the nascent Fibre Distributed Data Interface standard for data transmission over fibre. Project manager Colin Page says the network will also be used to process geoseismic information pertaining to the actual location of oil, and BISS is currently talking to PDO with a view to designing a control management system that will enable remote equipment used in the mining of oil to be monitored centrally. Managing director Mark Hayden is optimistic that the network project, due to start in November, will give BISS the visibility needed to do more business in the Middle East.