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A team of deep-water specialists is on alert in New Orleans

A team of deep-water specialists is on alert in New Orleans

Deep-water oil and gas production requires many advanced technologies to operate in remote and often challenging environments. Catching and fixing small issues before they grow into big ones is critical. This helps keep oil and gas flowing from Shell projects in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Brazil.

But with nearly 300 wells, 11 production platforms in the Gulf and underwater systems serving two production vessels off the Brazilian coast – each with thousands of pieces working together – maintaining smooth operations around the clock is a huge task. Monitoring all those systems and being able to spot potential glitches requires highly skilled specialists.

That’s why The Bridge exists. The Bridge is a team of 18 wells engineers and other offshore technical specialists housed in Shell Upstream Americas deep-water headquarters in New Orleans. It is a vital part of the global monitoring and surveillance approach used by Shell for deep-water operations.

bridge facts
Bridge facts
· 18 engineers + other technical experts work 12-hour shifts, 365 days a year
· Monitoring 13 vessels and platforms and nearly 300 wells in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Brazil
· Monitoring seabed systems for two floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels off the coast of Brazil
· Examining well over half a billion data points in around 180,000 checks every day
· Greater production reliability and better equipment performance.

Continuous computer analysis

The team serves as a bridge between platform operators running equipment and problem-solving engineers working on specific fixes and projects.

Advanced computer programmes sift well over half a billion pieces of information – including details of pressure, temperature,oil and gas flow rate and power consumption – and run 180,000 checks each day. They are looking for the smallest sign of an abnormality.

Much like an engine warning light in your car, Bridge computers issue an alert upon finding early indications of a potential problem. Engineers, such as Ryan Kirchner, may be called in to take a closer look.

“This automation of routine tasks frees our technical experts to work on other important tasks,” says Ryan.

The team aims to improve efficiency and make operations more economic by improving equipment performance.