Meet the First Generation of Nigerian Deepwater Oil Engineers

The deepwater Bonga oil field offshore Nigeria is opening up a unique opportunity to train Nigeria’s first generation of deepwater oil engineers.

One of the skilled Nigerian workers that keeps this complex offshore development running is Dare Famuyide, shift supervisor for Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company (SNEPCo). When the Bonga field first came online, it was a novel project, Famuyide said.  “We were possibly the first deepwater offshore asset in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Shell’s deepwater Bonga production facility uses one of the world’s largest floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels in more than 1,000 meters of water offshore Nigeria. It is 300 meters long and as tall as 12-story building with a deck that spans an area the size of three football fields.

In addition to being a significant revenue earner for the Nigerian economy, the Bonga field has also contributed immensely in developing the deepwater skills of the local workforce, while aiding in the Nigerian government’s aspirations to build truly Nigerian companies that can stand on their own.

Today, 95 percent of Bonga’s core offshore staff is Nigerian.

That workforce also include Prince Nwocha, the first engineer in his family and operations supervisor for SNEPCo at Bonga. Nwocha spends nearly six months of the year deployed at the FPSO, a profession that helps him support his family and also opens up opportunities for his son.

“My son, Justin, likes computation, mathematics, playing with things. And I can see that engineering streak coming out in him,” Nwocha said.

To learn more about the Bonga field, view the video above.

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