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SNEPCO Adopts ‘Digital Twin’ Technology to Ensure Smooth Operation on Bonga FPSO


By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme

Lagos, Nigeria – Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), operator of the Bonga North West oil field has adopted a new technology known as ‘digital twin’ to continuously operate safely on the Bonga Floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel located offshore Nigeria.

Bonga is the first deepwater project for the SNEPCO and for Nigeria, which lies at a water depth of more than 1,000 metres (3,300 feet). The Bonga project helped create the first generation of Nigerian oil and gas engineers with deep water experience and stimulated the growth of major industries.

Bayo Ojulari, SNEPCO’s Managing Director and General Manager Deepwater projects, made this known to our correspondent while speaking in an exclusive interview at the side-line of the Sub-Saharan African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC) held virtually from 19 – 21 May 2021.

According to him, the Digital Twin is a new technology that can be used to virtually identify critical areas for prioritised inspection, maintenance and repair, reducing the need and frequency on safety exposures associated with physical inspections.

In his words, “Our digital twin is the headline at SAIPEC 2021. There is a quick win to get a Nigerian company to do another digital twin for SNEPCo, to open opportunities. It is key if we support a company to build capabilities around digital twin.

“I have been part of SAIPEC since inception with the NC team and you would see my contribution through the years. I was also among the team that inspired PETAN to start this event.

“At the first SAIPEC, SNEPCo was the only IOC to sponsor it. We believed in its impact. So, glad to see that our foresight is confirmed.”

The Bonga project, which began producing oil and gas in 2005, was Nigeria’s first deep-water development project. A project that increased Nigeria’s oil capacity by 10% when output began in 2005. Oil from the Bonga North West sub-sea facilities are transported by a new undersea pipeline to the existing Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) export facility.

The Bonga project is operated by SNEPCo, which holds a 55% stake. The other project partners are Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria (Deepwater) Limited (20%), Total E&P Nigeria Limited (12.5%) and Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (12.5%) under a Production Sharing Contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water production comes from the Bonga and Erha fields.

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