In the dark blue seas of the Gulf of Guinea, 120km from the Nigerian coast, one of the world’s largest floating production, storage and offloading facilities, is tapping into new oil and gas resources from the Bonga North West deep-water project, which came on stream in August 2014.
Oil from the Bonga North West subsea facilities is transported by a new undersea pipeline to the existing Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility which began producing oil and gas in 2005. This FPSO facility is 300 metres long, about the same length as three football pitches, and can produce 200,000 barrels of oil and 150 million cubic feet of gas a day from beneath the seabed, helping Nigeria to become a major offshore energy producer.
Safety comes first
Safety is priority number one – everywhere from the existing production facility out at sea to the assembly yard where the Bonga North West project came to life, and the offices where the project was first proposed.
Jonathan Peters was one of around 300 Nigerian engineers and technicians who worked on Bonga North West. Over the course of four years, he and his fellow workers spent 4.16 million working hours on the project, without injury. They produced the first oil from the new wells three weeks ahead of schedule in August.
Jonathan is a workshop technician and assembler for FMC Technologies Nigeria, one of five companies* who were awarded major contracts by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) to design and build Bonga North West. It was his job to assemble and test advanced equipment that operates on the seabed at a depth of 1,000 metres.
He joined the firm in 2011 and was impressed by the safety culture that SNEPCo had instilled in employees and contractors alike.
“Here, safety comes before everything else,” he said.
Jonathan attended weekly safety meetings throughout his involvement in the project. He took part in regular online safety tutorials and learned always to intervene if anyone breaks a safety rule.
Creating lasting benefits
“We had to overcome many challenges and establish strict procedures to reach our target of zero incidents,” says Tersoo Gwaza, safety and environment lead for offshore engineering projects at SNEPCo.
All local contractors were vetted by SNEPCo in the usual way before they were awarded contracts. But they also received support throughout the project to ensure that they could meet and maintain the safety and environmental standards required.
Bonga North West brought a very large team together during millions of working hours to deliver safely a challenging deep-water project. The project has boosted the safety expertise and credentials of each local contractor. Now, it will help them to play a greater role in the future development of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas industry.
* The five companies were either indigenous or had a presence or investments in Nigeria. They are FMC Technologies Nigeria, Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Weltek, Aker Solutions, and Invensys/Sidler