Shell worker in the uniform

New milestone for Shell thanks to its ‘longest’ USV deployment foray for pipeline route survey

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), a subsidiary of Britain’s energy giant Shell, has launched an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) for a pipeline route survey in the Niger Delta.

The image is for illustration purposes. Source: Shell

According to the company, the USV innovation offers time and cost savings while minimizing personnel and environmental exposure.

In the preceding month, the remotely operated USV completed a pipeline route survey at Bonny, Nigeria, spanning 166 hours. This marked the first utilization of a USV for such a survey in shallow Nigerian waters, also constituting the longest single mission of its kind within 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 of 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.”

SPDC collaborated with stakeholders to implement the technology, encompassing the 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.

Continuing its Nigerian content development programme, SPDC collaborated closely with Compass Survey Limited, a Nigerian vendor, who deployed the vessel with assistance from their foreign partners, Unmanned Survey Solutions, based in the 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.”

The announcement about the USV deployment comes shortly after Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) finished the first remotely controlled well completion operation in a 1,060-meter water depth off the coast of Nigeria.

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