Shell Deploys First Unmanned Vessel for Pipeline Route Survey in Nigeria

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) has deployed an Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) for a pipeline route survey in the Niger Delta. The USV innovation saves time and cost and reduces exposure to personnel and the environment.

Last month, the remotely operated USV conducted a pipeline route survey at Bonny for a total of 166 hours. It is the first deployment of a 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 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.

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.

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