In the last few years, mobilizing for various seabed surveys in the shallow waters of Nigeria (Gulf of Guniea) have been a daunting task, issues faced including in-country vessel suitability & availability, expertise and security. The pecularity of these issues and the associated difficulties have affected project delivery schedule.

This has been further compounded by the security challenges experienced in the Niger-Delta (Nigeria Gulf of Guniea). Typically we mobilize two security vessels to provide security cover for survey operations within this region due to the the security risk assessment resulting in significant personnel exposure hours. With the pilot deployment of MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships), we have drastically reduced personnel exposure by 90%. However, there are still some inherent security risks – such as theft and sabotage – which we have mitigated with the use of one security vessel to safeguard
the MASS unit.

The pilot deployment of MASS has optimized the turn-around time for data acqusition and processing and therefore reduced the operating expenditure for surveys by about 40%. The opportunities for the deployment of MASS are numerous, albeit there are some challenges around having a proper regulation and policy framework for its deployment and use within the Gulf of Guinea.

As an organisation with a commitment to net- zero emissions by 2050, the use of an hybrid MASS contibuted to this ambition by reducing our GHG by 90% and 95% reduction of plastic waste.

This paper highlights the success of the first deployment in Nigeria, challenges encountered and potential and gaps for the future that needs to be mitigated.


Olajide Fagbewesa

Olajide Fagbewesa is an experienced Project Surveyor and HSEQ professional with over a decade of experience in the energy and offshore fabrication industry. Olajide is presently employed by Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited as an Operations Surveyor has worked on various multi-million dollars projects in the  Shallow & Deep waters of the Gulf of Guinea (West Africa). 

Prior to joining Shell, Olajide worked as an HSE advisor with Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG), Hartlepool UK, having obtained a master’s degree in Environment, Health, and Safety. Olajide is regarded as a HSE Champion in Shell as he has contributed significantly to the numerous safety and environmental campaigns in Shell, amongst which is the “Reduce boot-on-ground” campaign that has birthed the first MASS pilot in Nigeria. 

Olajide has been married for nine years to Bisola and has a son Ayomide, and enjoys watching football, playing chess, listening to Jazz, bee-keeping, and farming during his leisure time.  

Awotiwon Olusola

Olusola Awotiwon is a Senior Offshore Operations Surveyor at Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC). With over two (2) decades of surveying experience (spanning the energy & offshore construction industries), Olusola has accumulated a wide range of experience in the Exploration and Production business. 

Olusola’s drive emanates from the desire for simplification and reduction of HSSE exposures during offshore operations and this has led him to implement some novel initiatives in SPDC, which includes the remote positioning of jack up barges.  

He served as a committee member on the National Survey scale of fees for Nigeria in 2017/2018 and is currently a Surveyors Registration Council of Nigeria (SURCON) examiner for the Survey professional examination and interviews. 

Apart from traveling, he spends his leisure time swimming and walking.