Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Shell introduces unmanned vessel for undersea pipeline evaluation as concerns rise

Shell had said it had deployed an Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) for a pipeline route survey in the Niger Delta.

• February 27, 2024
oil spills in Niger Delta and Shell
oil spills in Niger Delta and Shell

Stakeholders have called for caution in deploying artificial intelligence and technologies, which may result in job losses in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

The stakeholders made the call following Monday’s announcement by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) that it had introduced surface water drones for pipeline surveys in its shallow water operations.

Shell had said it had deployed an Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) for a pipeline route survey in the Niger Delta.

The USV, a water surface drone with no human crew, could be used for underwater pipeline examination and integrity assessment, among others.

SPDC announced the innovation, the first in Nigerian oilfields, in a statement by its spokeswoman, Abimbola Essien-Nelson.

According to the energy firm, the USV saves time and cost as well as 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 an USV for a pipeline route survey in shallow water in Nigeria and the longest such single mission in the Shell Group,” the statement said.

Steve Keedwell, SPDC’s chief surveyor and head of offshore survey operations, described the deployment of the USV as the new face of surveys in Nigeria.

According to the statement, on-site and remote operators deployed the USV.

”We recorded increased productivity and better data acquisition at the survey at Bonny. Deploying the USV reduced carbon dioxide 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,” it added.

The statement further said SPDC partnered different stakeholders, such as the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services and the Nigerian Content Development and Management Board, on the initiative.

Others were the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

It noted that 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 and Unmanned Survey Solutions, UK.


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