Submarine cables: Facebook leaves 25,000 liters of drilling fluid in the seabed


When drilling for the landing of the Jupiter submarine cable for Facebook, an accident occurred in the small town of Tierra Del Mar in Oregon, after which 25,000 liters of drilling fluid, 340 meters of pipe and the drill head remained in the seabed. Like the newspaper Oregonlive reports (Paywall), the drill hit an unexpected hard rock area around 15 meters below the seabed. Facebook and its contractor Edge Cable Holdings have no plans to recover the equipment, according to the report.

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  1. ING-DiBa AG, Nuremberg
  2. S-Kreditpartner GmbH, no information

No information was given on the drilling fluid used. In the process, organic, mineral material such as bentonite is sometimes used, but it is common for the drilling fluid to be sucked off again after removal. Edge Cable Holdings notified the local government of the accident on May 5, but did not specifically mention the equipment that was left behind.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the company’s new plan is to return in early 2021 to drill a new hole. A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed to Oregonlive that the drilling equipment was staying below the ocean floor offshore, but denied that the administration was notified too late.

The Oregon branch of the submarine cable belongs to Facebook alone, it consists of two fiber pairs with a total length of 740 km. The entire Jupiter submarine cable will be 14,557 kilometers in length and consist of three main segments including the Oregon branch, the main cable with five fiber pairs and the Filipino branch with two fiber pairs. Each fiber pair has a capacity of 12 Tbit / s per fiber pair, which corresponds to a total of 60 Tbit / s for the entire Jupiter submarine cable.

The submarine cable will be owned by a consortium consisting of Amazon, Facebook, NTT, PCCW, PLDT and Softbank Telecom. The landing points are in the Philippines, Japan and the USA.

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