April 16, 2024

Shell employs unmanned vessel for pipeline route reconnaissance in Nigeria

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Adebayo Obajemu

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) said it had deployed an Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) for a pipeline route survey in the Niger Delta. The USV experiment is cost and time -saving and reduces exposure to personnel and the environment.

In January, the remotely operated USV conducted a pipeline route survey at Bonny for a total of 166 hours. It is the first employment of an USV for a pipeline route survey in shallow water in Nigeria and the longest such single mission in the Shell Group.

“This is the new face of survey in Nigeria, in which on-site and remote operators deployed the Uncrewed Surface Vessel” said SPDC’s Chief Surveyor and Head, Offshore Survey Operations, Steve Keedwell. “We recorded increased productivity and better data acquisition at the survey at Bonny. Deploying the USV reduced CO2 emissions by 97 per cent because the vehicle is designed as diesel electric. The efficiency of data acquisition coupled with improved data quality whilst reducing personnel exposure to zero is transforming how we execute surveys.”

SPDC partnered with a wide range of stakeholders to deploy the technology. They include Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services; Nigerian Content Development and Management Board; Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office; and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

In furtherance of its Nigerian content development programme, SPDC worked closely with a Nigerian vendor, Compass Survey Limited, which deployed the vessel with support from their foreign partners, Unmanned Survey Solutions, UK.

The vendor is training on-site remote operators to build local capacity. “This is an exciting chapter in our efforts to develop Nigerian content in the conduct of surveys,” said SPDC General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, ‘Lanre Olawuyi. “Already, the innovation in the survey at Bonny is attracting interests from the oil and gas industry and beyond, which means it stands a good chance of being widely used in Nigeria. We will continue to support Nigerian companies in the domestication of technology and innovations.”

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