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Schlumberger to resell ERF Wireless WiMAX service

A major communication provider to the oil and gas industry plans to resell wireless broadband and WiMAX services to oil companies in North America.
Schlumberger, a leading oilfield services provider, has been providing the oil and gas industry communications services – including satellite, wireless, terrestrial, data and voice technology – for 15 years. Now Schlumberger has entered into an exclusive deal with ERF Wireless that will allow Schlumberger to offer broadband wireless technology to existing customers and allow ERF Wireless to expand its business into the oil and gas industry. The three-year contract includes two one-year extensions.
Schlumberger will exclusively resell wireless broadband and WiMAX terrestrial communication products and services from ERF Wireless, under the agreement. ERF will not sell directly to the oil and gas market but will be able to continue to work with a handful of companies that have already signed up for service.
“This is a major step for our company,” said Dr. H. Dean Cubley, CEO of ERF Wireless. “This contract allows us to grow much faster than we would have so that means better services to all our customers.”
Cubley formed the company in 2004 outside of Houston, and has built the network through 13 acquisitions. The company’s service area includes 150,000 square miles in portions of Texas, eastern New Mexico and Louisiana.
ERF recently moved into the oil and gas industry and has signed 11 customers prior to its contract with Schlumberger. ERF Wireless’ first clients were banks in rural areas. The company serves more than 120 individual bank locations and also has about 10,000 residential and commercial customers. The company employs about 100 workers and last year had revenues of $5 million.
With the ERF Wireless network, Schlumberger is looking to extend its IPresence and IPerformer services with high-speed, low-latency wireless WiMAX coverage. ERF is evaluating WiMAX equipment from three providers: Alvarion Ltd., Redline Communications and Solectek Corp.
With the agreement, Schlumberger will have the “ability to deliver cost effective communications to the oil and gas industry in the ERF Wireless coverage areas,” Slavo Pastor, Schlumberger VP of information solutions, said in a statement. “This will increase real-time activities and collaboration between remote sites and office-based asset teams.”
Cubley said his company is interested in expanding its network in areas specific to the oil and gas industry and is now working to add WiMAX to its network.
“I believe at this point WiMAX has reached maturity and is an obvious next step,” he said.
Cubley is also excited to take advantage of Schlumberger’s workforce to sell ERF Wireless services to the industry. Schlumberger employs more than 84,000 workers in 80 countries and in 2007 had $23.28 billion in revenues.
“Schlumberger adds literally thousands of people on the street and presence where we need to sell,” Cubley said.
Cubley said another reason for the agreement is wireless technology can be more cost efficient for oil and gas companies than utilizing existing satellite networks.
ERF Wireless can deliver real-time data and high-speed Internet bandwidth to remote drilling, production and pipeline facilities. The company’s wireless network also enables voice over IP, video conferencing, security surveillance and monitoring systems to protect the employees, the environment and on-site assets.
The financial details of the agreement between the two companies is not being disclosed but Cubley said Schlumberger has agreed to provide ERF Wireless with a guaranteed level of revenue in each year of the contract.
“This gives us a huge incentive to expand our network,” Cubley said.

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