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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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BSP the first to achieve Recognised Assessment Project Engineering 2/Project Service 2 standard by APM in Brunei

On Monday, May 22, 2023, Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) celebrated a noteworthy achievement – BSP was accredited with Route 2 Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) in Project Engineering and Project Services Level 2 by the Association of Project Management (APM). The ChPP is a professional benchmark that demonstrates attainment of defined level of technical knowledge and professional practice. As the first organisation to be accredited by APM in Brunei, this achievement reflects and recognises the strong professionalism and competency development in BSP. 

The road to this accomplishment was far from short – it required meticulous review of pre-existing competency assessment. In this case, the Asset and Engineering Projects (AEP) department focused on BSP’s Project Engineering (PE) and Project Service (PS) competency framework and analysed how it can satisfy the ChPP requirement. After 10 months of review and development, an opportunity in BSP PE/PS competency framework was realised as a Recognised Assessment – candidates that achieve PE/PS Level 2 certificates are now  recognised for the Chartered Project Professional standard  route 2 with the APM. This is a true testament of hard work and dedication as the process conventionally takes up to two (2) years to complete.

This milestone was celebrated at a commemorative ceremony on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the Atrium, BSP Head Office. Present at the event were Erik Legius, BSP Technical Director as the Guest of Honour; Michel Maistre, BSP Asset Director;  Jason Romero, Head of Operational Excellence in Human Resources; as well as members of the BSP Extended Leadership Network.

David Hughes, General Manager Project & Engineering  and key sponsor of the initiative, presented the BSP Accreditation award to Voon Oi Mee, Head of Offshore Projects, and Chairperson of the Project Management Community of Practice (PM-CoP).

“This is a very significant milestone for BSP as we celebrate this accreditation. It’s a showcase of pure collaboration between Project Management experts while working closely with our counterparts in Shell Global and APM with the support from Human Resources (HR) as well as Communications & External Affairs (CEA) – a true testament of I AM BSP values,” Oi Mee shared. 

Voon Oi Mee receiving the accreditation award on behalf of the PM-CoP

To honour this momentous occasion, a special award was given to Hj Zalani Lalim, Head of Rejuvenation Projects. Hj Zalani achieved Project Engineering Level 2 as part of this recognised framework, thus becoming eligible for Route 2 ChPP.

BSP Asset Director also took the opportunity to handover an amazing award to David Hughes, who was granted Project Engineering Level 4 (Project Director Level) competency by Shell, in addition to his pre-existing Chartership and Fellowship in Mechanical Engineering and Association for Project Management.

David Hughes commented “BSP has some very talented project engineering, project services and project management staff, this accreditation with the APM will allow those that achieve PE/PS level 2 to be recognised by an international, professional competency standard. This is a fantastic achievement for BSP and for the wider professional community in Brunei as we demonstrate the quality of staff that Brunei has developed through the Brunei Shell JV companies. I would like to recognise the small team led by Oi-Mee who put so much hard work into preparing for and achieving this significant accreditation”.

Through this milestone, the Project Engineering Community of Practice hopes to inspire more colleagues to join the community, increasing their capability for personal achievement while bettering individual and corporate standards. This effort is to support and adhere to the BSP Bersatu vision of fostering pride while future-proofing Orang Kitani and thus, supporting the nation’s goals for Wawasan 2035.

BSP-AEPLT and some of the PM-COP core team

Booths showcase on PM-COP activities and JCP (Job Competence Profile) framework

Celebrated the event with AD, TD, HD Delegate, AEP and the PM-COP community.

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When the Unwanted Happens, How Do We Ensure that We Fail Safely?

One of the most important aspects in safety is the Human element. As safety is our number 1 priority in BSP, it is critical for each employee to be accountable in operating our business safely, ensuring zero impact to our people, our assets, our community and our environment. This is captured in the theme for this year’s Safety Day: How do we Fail Safely?

Failing Safely is ensuring that we remain vigilant to our surroundings, that we identify and safeguard against all possible risks in the event of a mistake or failure. This is part of creating a safe environment, which enable employees to focus on tasks at hand without fear of incident.

On Tuesday, July 4, 2023, BSP held a kick-off event for Safety Day at the Brunei Shell Recreation Club (BSRC). At the kick-off, Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis, Managing Director of BSP, emphasised the importance of Failing Safely, illustrating  how we have accepted this in our everyday lives by wearing seatbelt before driving as a way to protect ourselves in the case of an accident – the same approach should be adopted in our ways of working.

Failing safely should be seen as an opportunity for learning and growth rather than something to be feared or punished. By setting up a strong feedback loop and using failure as a learning tool, we can help each other to be successful and ensure that when we do fail, we do so safely” she shared.

Osmera Othman, BSP Head of HSE and Security, added that we must recognise mistakes as part of the human experience, and we need to create a system that allows for mistakes to be made without causing harm to anyone.

Recognising the network of partners involved in BSP operations, Safety Day was also open to Business Partners alongside students from selected educational institutions. This enables knowledge exchange as well as an opportunity to learn some of the safety culture and best practices in BSP.

At the launch event, BSP colleagues and business partners showcased new technologies and set-up interactive games to raise awareness of failing safely. The Services Transport & Logistics (STL) team demonstrated "Safe Driving" using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology by installing cameras in heavy fleet (large vehicles) that can monitor driver awareness during road travel. The Darat Pipeline team shared on their Hydro Test procedure, a process that minimises risks for potential line of fire. Agora, another AI tool adopted by the BSP Wells team, demonstrated its ability to assess safety conditions on the rig floor during drilling operations. The tool does this by monitoring the drill floor and triggering audio or visual alarm when personnel are detected entering the dangerous area or the Line of Fire.

BSP Safety Day is a yearly event that allows the organisation to take a step back and have conversations around BSP’s safety journey and safety commitments both at organisational and individual level. While formally kicked-off at a launching event, Safety Day conversations continue all year-round and are encouraged to be carried out by all departments alongside their business partner colleagues.

Safety Day embodies BSP’s commitment to its number 1 priority, which aspires for Goal Zero: Zero Harm, Zero Leaks.

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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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Successful Installation of Salman's Well Jacket Platform

Discovered in 2011, the Salman field sits between BSP’s Iron Duke and Champion fields. Benchmarked against other projects even at a global level, the project has trailed behind it hard work, tough decisions as well as recognition of once being the Most Competitive Portfolio within all Joint Ventures from Shell’s Upstream Impact Awards.

Plans to develop the Salman field dates back to 2017 after years of undergoing Decision Gates (DG) to assess feasibility. By 2020, the first steel cut commemorative event took place at the Marine Construction Yard (MCY) to kick-off the fabrication. The construction was carried out locally consisting of the well jacket, topside as well as water injection module.

Despite the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the following two years, BSP successfully loaded out and installed its Salman Well Jacket-01 (SLWJ-01) just 10 kilometres from its Champion 7 complex in October 2022.The Water injection module was also successfully installed on the CPWA07 complex. All were completed in October 2022 before the monsoon period arrived.

The platform is made up of the jacket and the topside, weighing approximately over 1600 metric tons – as heavy as eight Statue of Liberty!  Due to the size of the platform, it had to be transported in two parts, spanning over two days when weather and sea conditions were permitting. This means that stable sea state and wind speed were integral in ensuring a safe transportation and installation process.

Echoing its priority, Safety was at the forefront of the operation. The load-out process itself was an intricate procedure that required about 100 people on the ground. But focus did not waver even as the modules travelled the one-day ride from onshore to infield offshore, with the offshore team fully prepared for the arrival to proceed with installation.


But Salman is more than just a story of an engineering feat. It is about the talent and perseverance of Orang Kitani. At the height of construction, it took more than 300 personnel at MCY to deliver the next milestone for the company.

“Through Salman, we are witnessing the restart of major activities such as fabrication at our local yard,” Afiqah Zainulabidin, Greenfield Project Lead, shared in reference to MCY, which had been dormant for six years. “Lots of job opportunities have been created for our local workforce and alhamdulillah, we have reached our local employment target by 2021 and I hope that more of our local talents will be part of this milestone in the future.”

With a total of 1.8 million manhours under their belt, predominantly spent in operational bubbles to manage the COVID-19 infection, the sailaway was a testament of close-collaboration and Bruneian capabilities directly contributing towards Bruneian progress.

Involvement in the project for our local engineers was not only as a job opportunity, but an upskilling experience. This is showcased by the seven young engineers who successfully became welding inspectors.

“These inspectors are certified by the internationally-recognised institutes in their skillpool. In addition, we do have more than 50 IBTE students who graduated from Salman upon completion of their HSE task books. This project has been a reflection of our BSP Bersatu strategy – Pride in Orang Kitani in making sure our local workforce is future-ready.” Voon Oi Mee, Head of Offshore Project, proudly shared.

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Brunei Energy Hub: Showcasing Bruneian Energy Journey

The newly launched Brunei Energy Hub Dermaga Diraja stands as a significant tribute to the country’s history and serves as an interactive educational centre for the public to learn about the importance of the energy industry to the local economy as well as everyday lives.

Launched on Sunday, October 23, 2022 by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Hub is a significant collective initiative from founding partners Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP), Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd (Brunei LNG), Brunei Shell Marketing Company Sdn Bhd (BSM) and Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd (BGC), in close collaboration with the Government of His Majesty.

The Brunei Energy Hub Dermaga Diraja is “a gift to the nation” that enables visitors to explore what life in Brunei was like before the discovery of oil in 1929, learn about the industry today and the strategies that are in place for a greener future with affordable and sustainable energy.


The Hub is located in the historic landmark of the Royal Customs and Excise heritage building at the heart of the capital. Touching on the decision to convert this building to an interactive oil and gas museum, the statement notes that it is closest to Ayer Berkunchi, one of the earliest exploration sites for oil and gas in Brunei Darussalam, and is in line with the government’s aspirations to repurpose old buildings.

“Since 2019, BSP, Brunei LNG, BSM and BGC have been working closely with the Government of His Majesty, which includes relevant parties from the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Development and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to successfully bring into life the vision of making Brunei Energy Hub Dermaga Diraja a reality,” shared Hajah Zainab M.A. Omar, BSP Human Resources Director and the Business Opportunity Manager who led the project on behalf of the four companies.

“Alhamdulillah, the Brunei Energy Hub Dermaga Diraja is now set to be a key hub for the public and tourists alike to learn more about the rich history and contributions of the oil and gas industry in Brunei,” Hajah Zainab continued.

Meanwhile, BSP Managing Director and Shell Country Chair Brunei Darussalam Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis hopes that the Brunei Energy Hub Dermaga Diraja will inspire the next generation.  “Energy is such an important part of Brunei’s past but also the future. I hope that as the public brings their family for a visit, they will get inspired by the rich history of the oil and gas industry in Brunei and how it has contributed immensely to the country. I also hope that everyone will learn and understand better about what we do and what the future energy can look like – especially for the next generation so that they too can contribute further to Brunei and make history,” shared Agnete.


Sharing her hopes for a more sustainable future, Agnete added, “As we move forward, we want to inspire the next generation. We need energy, the world needs energy, and there’s an opportunity here for our local youth and adults to come explore, experiment and learn about renewable energy  and what that could mean for Brunei in the future.”

Brunei Darussalam has been blessed with a prosperous oil and gas industry since the first drop of commercial oil which was discovered in 1929 in Seria. Today, over 90 years later, oil and gas continue as a backbone of Brunei Darussalam’s economy. The Energy Sector including the oil and gas industry contributes to more than 50 per cent of our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

“BSP, Brunei LNG, BSM and BGC have contributed to the country’s growth and economy over the past decades, and we intend to continue powering our nation’s future,” said Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis, BSP Managing Director and Shell Country Chair Brunei Darussalam.

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Day In The Life Of: IFM Maintenance Coordinator

By 7:00am, the Salam team is already parked outside of Sanggang, the office sheltering a segment of the expansive team under the Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) organisation. As we drag our heavy feet and bleary eyes into the office for our DILO (Day in the Life Of) shadowing session, Azeez welcomed us with sheer enthusiasm and bright eyes. 

Early mornings are commonplace for Azeez, IFM’s Maintenance Coordinator. Even before the start of official working hours, Azeez is already in the office reviewing the relevant documentation such as Hazard Identification Plan, Job Hazard Analysis prior to approving the assigned multiple Permit to Work (PTW) under his area of accountability to enable the contractors to carry out the day’s necessary operations. 

Permit to Work is a documented procedure that authorises certain people to carry out work at a specified place, date and time. It is an essential license that can enable people to assess not only the scope of a work but determine the associated risks and mitigations that come along with it. This is especially integral for Azeez every morning before he sets off for his daily patrol, which requires him to oversee that these works are carried out according to what’s specified in the PTW and scope of works.

As the maintenance coordinator for IFM, Azeez’s portfolio not limited to the quaint community of Panaga which  oversee the maintenance and rejuvenation of house for over 700 Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) families, may it before, during or even after their occupancy but also covering BSPIndustrial assets inclusive of offices, Panaga School, clubs and health centre. 

Although less than a year on the role, we can tell that Azeez is already familiar with the in-and-outs of the trade. When asked about how he finds the role so far, Azeez shares his answer as he drives us to our first destination of the day. 

“The pace can be intense, but it’s a great learning experience. You get familiar with the how-dos pretty quick,” he says casually, weaving through the maze within the Panaga compound effortlessly, “And you get to meet a lot of diverse people, may it be tenants, government stakeholders or even our many contractors.” 

We’re heading towards the E1 area located at the end of Jalan Tengah, where apartments, bungalows as well as single-storey houses are nestled. When we arrived at the destination, on one of the near completed houses, Azeez did a final verification to ensure that the house is delivered with acceptable quality and now ready for move-in before allowing the maintenance team to be mobilised to another location. 

And off we went to the second destination. During this travel time, we took the chance to pry. 

We ask Azeez to share his most significant experience so far on the job. 

“It’s definitely being involved in the preparation work for operation bubbles,” he mentions, “Our onshore and offshore colleagues had to go in isolation prior to entering their operation bubbles as an effort to minimise the COVID-19 spread, and we had to prepare the accommodations to enable that.” 

While the second wave was unexpected, the IFM team was well prepared with learnings from the first wave, to get in motion – they had the accommodations ready within a week with the good collaboration and support from relevant teams including business partners.

When we arrived at our second location, we were lucky enough to find the working team meeting in the rest area having their toolbox talk.

While the Salam team is all too familiar with the dangers and mitigations discussed in production operations toolbox talk, we learn a lot of regular day-to-day house renovation associated risks in this one.

Paint fumes, tools housekeeping and being in the line of fire during the simple act of hammering are meticulously considered, with every risk given a mitigation. Azeez plays a role during this discussion by not only listening in and verifying the discussed risks, but to add on in case some are missed – paying close attention to the quality, understanding of the team members on the delivered TBT and the detail of today’s operations as described in the PTW & display board.

With the sound of the chirping birds, talks of wildlife risks in the background, and a monkey staring at us from the tree – it’s safe to say that Azeez’s secondary office is very interesting in comparison to our corporate cubicles. 

This goes to show that in a company of 4000 staff, with almost 20,000 contractors, there is never a dull day in BSP. Everyone plays a part in making sure that not only production continues to keep the lights on in Brunei, but in keeping our people and our operations safe in different ways. Azeez is one of those people.

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Local Take On Sand-Retention

Controlling sand during production is one of the industry’s biggest challenges in the pursuit for hydrocarbons. For BSP, surrounded by the distinct nature of the regional geology in Borneo, this is a shared challenge.

To extract oil and gas, wells are drilled to reach pockets of hydrocarbons underground – while the journey might seem easy on paper, drilling through rocks is just one of the barriers our engineers have to overcome.

Sand is one of the common materials that can hinder hydrocarbon extraction process by entering the well. To manage this, Sand Retention is utilised, a process in which sand is held back from entering wells by wire screens. Much like a coffee filter, which separates coffee ground from precious caffeinated liquid, the screens work to prevent sand from seeping into a well hole.

However, the selection of the best screen is a highly technical process, with many factors to be considered. Upfront numerical modelling and computer simulations are trending to become the key to a successful and maximised hydrocarbons production.

Bringing Outside In: Localising Sand Retention Needs 

Recognising an opportunity to develop local capabilities in this space, BSP signed a three-year contract in 2020 in partnership with Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB). The contract aims to create a commercial sand screen testing facility at UTB providing new and more efficient tests to identify how to reduce sand production by selecting proper downhole sand screens. 

The research sees the collaboration between BSP, UTB as well as Imperial College London (ICL) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). 

Professor Stephen Tyson, the Principal Investigator of the project said, “This project represents a transformational moment for UTB. We are showing that UTB and its research partners are capable of delivering the highest quality of research to local industry. We are employing and training young, Bruneian engineers and technicians and I am very proud of their achievements.”

The focus on local capabilities is echoed by the 12 Bruneian researchers and technicians who are employed to support the project –  a true testament highlighting Bruneian talents who are creating solutions for an industry-wide technical problem.

What’s Next?

With research outcomes progressing the project, the research team is refining the calibration of the lab equipment to match its current counterpart – a sand retention testing facility in Houston.

Paired with continued and consistent sand retention testing experiments that can hopefully come to commercial fruition, this opens up a potential not only for UTB to have the capability to test all types of sample screen, but to be the testing hub in the Asia region.

Amal Majeedah Aji, BSP contract holder for the project, shared positive outlook on the project. 

“Through this project, not only do we see close collaboration between BSP and UTB, but the opportunity to deepen local understanding on sand screen designs that could positively impact life of our wells. This project is a great example of public-private partnership to create local capabilities that will progress Wawasan 2035 of having highly-skilled individuals.” 

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A Field to be Proud of: Champion Field Celebrates Golden Jubilee

2022 marks another milestone for Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) as it celebrates its Champion field’s 50th anniversary. Let’s recount its early beginning. 


The Champion field that we know so well today started with “Big John”, the drilling rig that hailed all the way from the U.S in 1970. Located 40 kilometres offshore from Berakas water, the field was aptly named after its location on the Champion shoal. 

By May of the same year, the exploration well was production tested, and hydrocarbon presence was further confirmed – and so began the journey of the largest producing field for BSP today. 

But the road to full-on production was not immediate. It was only in 1972 that the first producing oil flowed from the Champion 4 (CP-4) well on the Champion Drilling Platform 1 (CPDP-1). Soon after, the oil made its way from the offshore production station to the onshore Seria Terminal, now known as Seria Crude Oil Terminal (SCOT), approximately 100 kilometres away.  

Since then, the field has played a significant role in enabling BSP to contribute to the development of the country and the nation of Brunei Darussalam.


Boasting several technical firsts in its life, Champion’s history of firsts began only one year into its production. 

By 1973, Champion became the first field to launch a jacket from a vessel into the water, for its CPDP-4 platform. This practice was commonly executed via lifting by crane barges, however due to the size and weight of the jacket, a launch from a ship was required instead.

Less than a decade later, a new method of launching was devised for Champion’s Drilling Platform AL. The jacket was launched from the stern of a barge sideways (side-launched), and the procedure marked a first in the industry for both Brunei and Shell worldwide. 

Continuing its records of firsts, in 1982, the Champion 3D seismic survey was proposed to improve the structural interpretation of the massive Champion oilfield. The two-boat operation consequently saw the acquisition of the seismic data in the world by 1983. 

By mid 2000s, Champion recorded two more firsts as it executed the installation of Brunei’s first SMART platform on Champion West, before achieving the completion of the longest snake well in Champion West Phase 3A field in 2006. 


While its beginning started with a humble platform, Champion has grown well into the massive complex it is today. With 46 offshore structures built and more than 420 wells erected, totalling to 850 kilometres in distance – Champion has been a marvel for progress. 

In its 50 years of life, Champion has produced more than 900 million barrels of oil equivalent, enabling 50 years of powering Bruneian homes, schools, and hospitals. And behind these achievements are generations of talented workforce who undoubtedly will help propel Champion into a greater future paving the road for BSP to sustainably power Brunei.

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Petrofes: Sew it Begins

2020 marks a milestone for a Bruneian company as the ink dries on a contract between Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) and Petrofes, further generating In-Country Value in the local supply chain. With the agreement, Petrofes is now the go-to provider for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for BSP, providing fire-retardant coveralls, headscarves as well as balaclavas.

This is a huge milestone not only for Petrofes, but for the local capabilities’ scene. Behind Petrofes, driving the business from planning all the way to production, are our very own Bruneian talents. What started as a humble team of four has now expanded to a group of 18 highly driven employees by 2022. 

At the time of the interview, it is interesting to note that not all staff are cut out from the same material. 

We have Hazlim, who oversees the overall day-to-day operations; Hafiz, who ensures the quality of each PPE produced; and Adibah, who has an important role of a seamstress. 

Interestingly, Hafiz did not start in production – but rather, in safety. 

This got us asking Hazlim, the General Manager herself. 

“It is because we want our people to expand their knowledge here in Petrofes,” she says, as we stand amidst cut fabric, humming sewing machines and muted K-Pop tunes. “While we look for a certain criteria during recruitment, we make sure that they have room to grow in the company. That’s why some of them go into rotation,” she motions to Hafiz as an example. 

However, the group of all-female seamstresses are on a different development path. As the skill lie in the woman-hours put into the work, the team of seamstresses began their journey with a 3-month training period. But of course, going above and beyond, the talented group of ladies managed to complete their training half of the time needed. Since then, they have produced 451 (as of end of March 2022) pairs of coveralls, on top of the 675 headscarves and balaclavas ready to protect the 4000 something Brunei Shell Petroleum employees. 

Adibah, who is coming to her first year in the company shares, “We have all grown and learnt a lot since our start at Petrofes. Our strategic production model has helped us produce more than what we aim every month.” At only 19 years old, Adibah is steadily and surely building the skills to master the art of cutting and sewing. 

But while the people play an integral role in making sure the business runs, Hazlim also stresses the importance of being agile and having a learner mindset in managing Petrofes. Feedback is particularly important for Petrofes’ improvement journey and in making sure they remain competitive in the market. They have been sensitive and intuitive to customers’ feedback and queries. 

“We make sure to listen not only to responses and feedback from our contract holder,” Hazlim explains, “But also those who dropped by our branch and make their opinions known.” 

These inputs have been instrumental in helping Hazlim and the team shape their planning, from cutting adjustments all the way to product evolution – this is how fire-retardant headscarves came about as part of their line of product. 

On top of that, it is also about learning from experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a challenge in the supply chain for fire-retardant fabric in 2020, but they quickly take the learning as a reason to re-assess their business plan and fabric orders. By 2021, Hazlim and the team are familiar with what are needed to keep the business going. 

Despite the outstanding success so far, there is still an aspiration to grow for Petrofes. 

“We wish to expand our product line – perhaps one day to produce complete Personal Protective Equipment, and we also want to grow our people, in numbers and capabilities,” Hazlim shares.  

They also endeavour to create more local employments opportunities in the near future, and considering the success they have left in their path, we are sure this will be realised soon.

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