Sustainably Powering Brunei

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Exploring the World of Geochemistry: A visit to the BSP Production Chemistry Lab

On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, the Geochemistry and Production Chemistry (OPC) department in Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) welcomed 23 second year Geoscience students from the University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD). Since 2022, BSP and UBD has fostered a strong relationship in advocating for petroleum engineering knowledge through the Petroleum Engineering Forum, a BSP-driven platform where students and industry expert get to meet and establish valuable networking connections. This visit further highlights the close collaboration between industry and education to produce industry-ready graduates.

During the visit, the students were hosted to various sections of the OPC lab, including the sample and oil library area, the oil lab, gas lab, mud cement lab, and water and environment lab. Throughout the tour, lab technicians provided insightful explanations on how the data generated in the lab contribute to crucial business decisions. This hands-on experience exposed the students to a spectrum of laboratory analyses and their relevance to the oil and gas business.

“Overall, the experience was very informative and fun!” shared Nur Izzati Muhammad Seni, one of the students from UBD. 

This lab tour visit is anticipated to be a transformative learning experience for UBD Geochemistry students, broadening their horizons and enhancing their understanding of the industry. Furthermore, it exemplifies BSP's commitment to social investment and its pivotal role in nurturing local talent in alignment with Brunei Vision 2035.

The journey into the world of geochemistry at the BSP Production Chemistry lab serves as a testament to the power of collaboration between academia and industry, enriching the education of tomorrow's geoscientists and contributing to the realization of Brunei's vision of Wawasan 2035.

Dr Elena Ifandi, Assistant Lecturer and Postdoctoral Fellow for UBD Geosciences Programme shared her gratitude for the collaboration, “We would like to express our cordial thanks to you and all the team for yesterday’s exciting and informative visit to the Operation Chemistry facilities! Our students have been enthusiastic with everything they learnt and from the opportunity to see a real-world application of Geochemistry.”

Today, the Geosciences program at UBD stands as a beacon of excellence, holding the prestigious distinction of being the only academic program in Brunei to receive international accreditation from AUN-QA (ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance). Committed to continuous improvement and adaptation to global market trends, the program aligns its goals with the vision of Wawasan 2035, emphasising quality education and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In response to recommendations from AUN-QA assessors, the Geosciences Program is in the process of revising its curriculum to ensure that future graduates are equipped with the skills to excel nationally and internationally.

In pursuit of these objectives, UBD and BSP have worked together in crafting this invaluable exposure to the practical application of geochemistry in the oil and gas industry. This exposure allows the student to immerse themselves in the real-world demands and practices of the industry to better prepare to meet the challenges of their future careers.

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Brunei Shell Petroleum bags Brunei Technology Excellence Award for Automation - Oil & Gas at the Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2023

Brunei Shell Petroleum bags Brunei Technology Excellence Award for Automation - Oil & Gas at the Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2023

The  pioneering automated solution has contributed to the timely delivery of project targets.

Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sendirian Berhad (BSP) has won the Brunei Technology Excellence Award for “Automation - Oil & Gas at the Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2023” for developing the innovative data science solution “Wiggles-to-Wells”. The automated 3D path planning solution allows for the reduction of turnaround time in delivering Wells trajectory.

The oil and gas industry’s subsurface space presents great rewards, but BSP recognises that this is a highly complex space. Extensive navigation is required to acquire the rewards, but pre-existing manual ways of working makes it challenging to explore this opportunity due to inefficiencies in the flow of information. When a new set of data is introduced into the workflow, multiple revisions and iterations would be needed – this also means more time is required.

Deciphering wells trajectory is a joint effort involving multidisciplinary teams. In BSP, this takes the collaboration across up to 5 teams in order to derive the best path. Considering the expansive network, on top of manual ways of working, there has been challenges in incorporating new data or data changes into the end product. Not only does this impact delivery time, but end-state design might also not be optimised to maximise value.

All these factors could be resolved through automation–a factor that reduces heavy reliance on individuals. With this, Brunei Shell Petroleum developed a data science-based solution ‘Wiggles-to-Wells’, inspired by the automated path-finding technology used in automated driving assistance systems.

The technology promotes a consistent and effective interface in various disciplines of subsurface, surface, and wells, and optimises multi-well trajectory design option to pre-defined subsurface risk and commercial constraints.

Faizal Mahmud, Data Scientist from BSP’s Digitalisation team expressed how the project and award recognition are a testament to BSP’s in-house capabilities in digitalisation, “The project marks a milestone for BSP's Digitalisation journey and highlights the close collaboration between Orang Kitani. Not only does this project contribute to our mission of Sustainably Powering Brunei through delivering hydrocarbons safely, reliably and responsibly, it also provide validation on Orang Kitani capability within the global scene."

Wiggles-to-Wells uses an automated 3D path planning solution that cuts the turnaround time to deliver a Well trajectory with an integrated risk-reward system. This solution provides an adaptable system that enables an optimal well path projection, allowing engineers to come up with multiple alternative scenarios without significantly affecting the design process timeline and providing the first indication of trajectory feasibility.

This automated solution also provides engineers with the capability to explore 3D space to generate the most optimal solution. As the 3D environment is more complex and computationally expensive than 2D, Wiggles-to-Wells optimises several approaches to maintain sufficient details such as randomising points within targets, changing the level of granularity, and environment confinement with starting points and targets.

BSP’s Wiggles-to-Wells equips engineers with a technology that can achieve quicker first solutions whilst maintaining engineering integrity. This automated solution’s operation anchors on the use of knowledge, experience, and skills of the engineers. Through the technology, businesses can unlock deeper integration of their functions across various technical disciplines that result in higher quality decisions, and a more efficient overall workforce.


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From Rigs to Regional

With her jovial demeanour and penchant for vivid colours, Liyana Matdanan carries with her an energy as bright as the sun. Despite having been in BSP for more than a decade, her passion for her craftsmanship has never wavered.

Liyana is currently undergoing her Short Term International Assignment (STIA) as Integrated Gas (IG) Wells HSSE Advisor in the IG Home Team based in Kuala Lumpur. Integrated Gas scope pans over Wells operations in Qatar, Sakhalin, China, Australia, Malaysia and Brunei. Prior to this STIA, Liyana held the position of  Senior HSSE Advisor (Drilling Rigs) & the Rig HSSE Commissioning Lead for BSP Technical Wells. 

Liyana trails behind her an interesting background. Unlike most of her colleagues, Liyana does not hold an engineering degree, but rather, a B.A in Geography (Major) and English Language Studies (Minor). However, that has not hindered her career path in Wells.

Liyana entered BSP after being successful in a walk-in interview apprenticeship scheme. It was not long after that, Liyana was enrolled as an apprentice in TSW (Previously known as Technical Services for Wells). Given the choice of working in the field of CWI or Rigs, Liyana chose the latter – and so began her decade-long relationship with Drilling Rigs.

Other than pulling the feat as the once longest-running HSE apprentice (two and half years), upon her formal graduation into BSP’s workforce, Liyana also holds the achievement of being BSP’s first female Wells HSSE advisor.

“At the start of my career, I was already pushed out of my comfort zone. As I was going into a new territory, I made sure to do my own personal homework including learning the engineering jargons. I was blessed to have supportive senior colleagues who mentored and tutored me throughout the way,” Liyana shared.

The support system in her workplace enabled Liyana to progress into the Shell Graduate Programme in BSP after her apprenticeship. It became a learning experience of moving from one role to another. From a grad to a commissioning lead – soon enough, Liyana wanted to learn more.

“I see STIA as an opportunity to know more about HSSE and Wells beyond BSP’s perspective. Shell is a massive ecosystem and I want to learn how other Operating Unit (OU) are tackling the same shared issues.”


As an organisation that is tied to Shell group, it is common for BSP to adopt best practices, standards  as well as regulations from the Group. However, oftentimes, OUs are at the receiving end of a finished product. As such, Liyana has the opportunity to be part of the creation process for an upcoming safety manual.

“As the adopters, it can be difficult for us to integrate or comprehend how rules and regulations come to us the way they do. For instance, at the scrum level & being the project manager for Wells Assist and Assure online training programme, has given me first-hand experience from the creation until execution process.”

Liyana further added that communication among the IG team dynamics was also an interesting experience especially due to different time zones & COVID restrictions. While she crossed the border to be closer to the KL office, work interaction between the Integrated Gas scope was still predominantly virtual.

“This STIA experience has been more than just a professional development endeavour. You become tenacious to learn and adapt accordingly to different situations. Acclimatising not only to a new work environment, but also adapting to buying groceries only for one instead for the whole family!” Liyana joked, referring to being used to buying groceries for her family’s household back home.


Nearing the sixth month of her assignment, Liyana is just getting started. She plans to further stretch the border around her comfort zone, especially in looking into HSSE requirements in contracts and competencies.

Liyana added that she also wants to gain more experience in verifications.

“For me, knowing where we are right now also involves benchmarking against recognised standards. It’s important for us to check-in with other functions to know where we are in our performance, and how we can strive to be better than just the current best. I believe that just because things have been working well, there is always room to make it better – a leaner process, more efficient & working smart rather than working hard.”

Working amongst the regional Wells General Managers and under IG Wells Vice President’s leadership, Liyana is not short of resources to learn from the industry’s best.

When asked about the next step in her career, Liyana further proved the learner mindset she always don.

“For now, I am making the most of my international assignment experience. We talk a lot about “bringing the learnings of the outside world into BSP and vice-versa. I would very much like to achieve that by also sharing the tremendous dynamic work BSP has been doing (the complexity of our operations and manhours, the skills of our OrangKitani etc) to Global Shell. Similarly, secondment opportunities in the future will be ideal.”

Considering her illustrious professional journey, we have no doubt that Liyana will be paving a vibrant career path in her future.

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