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It took a total 166 hours to complete the remote operation in the shallow waters of Nigeria. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

In a first, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) has taken the optimisation route by deploying an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) for a pipeline survey at Bonny, Niger Delta 

This will help the company to not only limit time and cost significantly but also carry out operations safely, both in terms of personnel and the environment. 

The longest such single mission ever taken up by the Shell Group, it took a total 166 hours to complete the remote operation in the shallow waters of Nigeria.

“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% 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.”

Besides SPDC, the successful completion of the survey can be attributed to a wide range of stakeholders from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and the NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, to the 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.”