shell employees discussing
Teams from Shell and the fabricator MMHE prepare for the Gumusut-Kakap “superlift", where platform’s topsides were carefully mounted onto its hull

The platform is the latest of more than 20 major deep-water projects that Shell has delivered around the globe. It operates off the coast of Sabah state in Malaysia, producing oil from wells that stretch around 3 kilometres below the seabed. It is expected to have a peak annual average production of 135,000 barrels of oil per day, contributing up to 25% of the country’s production and providing important economic benefits. Tapping into resources at great water depths poses technical challenges. To overcome these challenges, we use advanced technologies, strict safety procedures and rigorous design, construction and maintenance standards.

Shell brought decades of expertise in deep water to the project, enabling the local workforce to develop the skills to construct the platform and run it from day to day. It was built by Malaysian Marine and Heavy Engineering (MMHE).


The Gumusut-Kakap platform weighs around 40,000 tonnes, roughly the same as 30,000 family cars. Its four decks with processing facilities, an accommodation block for up to 140 crew, and technical buildings alone weigh some 23,000 tonnes.

These “topside” units were mounted onto the hull in April 2012 in a delicate operation which earned the project team a world record for the largest and heaviest lift of its kind on land.

Watch a short video with Shell Project Manager Milan Hendrikse and see time-lapse footage of the Gumusut-Kakap “superlift”.

Built for capacity

The platform is a semi-submersible floating production system. The hull floats on four huge columns which are partially submerged.

It is attached to a 200 kilometre-long pipeline which transports oil to a terminal onshore. The capacity it provides could enable future energy discoveries nearby to be brought on stream using the existing platform as a hub. It can also be moved easily to a new location. 

Smart sensors for more efficiency

The Gumusut-Kakap project uses Shell Smart Fields technology to monitor and adjust production from the field’s undersea wells to achieve greater efficiency. Initially, it will produce from 14 wells, and a further five will be added later. The technology is being deployed on Shell projects worldwide to provide a real-time flow of information supporting decision-making.

Around 40,000 sensors are built into equipment in the field such as valves and pumps, which are designed to be operated from the platform’s control room. Data about temperature, pressure and other field conditions are sent on to three control centres on land.

engineers in gumusut-kakap
Engineers on the Gumusut-Kakap platform are connected to colleagues onshore who monitor all aspects of operations. Together they decide how to optimise oil production and quickly fix problems

Around 100 engineers in Kota Kinabalu, Miri and Kuala Lumpur share a single detailed picture of facilities and production. Engineers at each centre specialise in a different aspect of the project. Using high-quality videoconferencing, teams pool their expertise.

It means they can take important decisions faster about how to best extract oil, and spot problems early on. The onshore centres interact with the platform’s control room in real time, where engineers can activate valves remotely to resolve a problem or increase production by better managing the oil flow. We use a similar approach at our New Orleans remote operating centre which serves the Gulf of Mexico.

“Smart Fields is about integrating people, processes and technology,” said Joseph Low, a senior engineer based at the Kuala Lumpur centre. “You can make decisions or solve problems in a day whereas before they might have taken a week and have slowed production down.”

Safer, more productive

The technology is one way engineers keep facilities running longer without unscheduled shutdowns, helping to increase the total oil or gas recovered from a field, and generating greater income. In some areas where Shell operates, this can be as much as 10% and 5%, respectively.

Above all, Smart Fields also helps to keep employees safe. Many challenges can now be solved on land without sending engineers and other personnel offshore. That means fewer helicopter flights and less exposure to safety risks in the field.

more in gumusut kakap

Gumusut-Kakap - overview

See key facts, a brief project history, and learn how Shell has been contributing in Malaysia through environmental and social programmes.

Gumusut-Kakap in numbers

Discover an engineering masterpiece in numbers, weighing as much as 30,000 family cars and built using nearly 700 kilometres of steel tubes.

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