Brunei Darussalam has been a pioneer in oilfield technology since the very start of the oil and gas business. The nation has forged an enduring partnership with Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) that reaches back 90 years – and it is firmly set on fuelling Brunei’s future too. Shell and the Government of Brunei are both shareholders in Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP).
BSP has developed into by far the largest oil and gas company in the country, boasting a diverse and highly-qualified skill pool of around 4,000 employees and more than 20,000 contractors. BSP’s core activities include exploring and producing oil and gas from onshore and offshore fields for domestic use and export to international markets.
The discovery of the Seria oilfield in 1929, Asia’s longest producing oilfield, and an abundance of oil and gas, has fuelled most of Brunei’s rapid development.
Thanks to this natural wealth, the country has one of the highest standards of living in the world where its people have access to free healthcare, a well-established state education system and affordable housing.
That giant oilfield alone produced one billion barrels of oil equivalent by 1991, an achievement marked by a distinctive monument, officiated 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. BSP’s production since the early days came on the back of a string of “made in Brunei” innovations used in dozens of fields.
Energy is vital to our daily lives. BSP has built a longterm track record as a “company of firsts” to supply energy, and has been leading the global industry along the way. Their engineers have consistently invented new drilling techniques to access Brunei’s complicated underground reservoirs.
When the Champion West field was discovered in 1975, engineers simply couldn’t figure out an economic way to develop it, and it lay untapped for 25 years. Hundreds of small oil and gas accumulations in thin reservoirs made it uneconomic to develop.
By inventing techniques to overcome this challenge, BSP became one of the most technically advanced oil and gas companies in the world.
Today, Champion West still demonstrates BSP’s leadership in two key technology areas: “snake wells” and “smart fields” that have become standard in the industry. The snake well design created in 2001 by BSP provided a solution to improve reservoir access: the well was designed to weave to several pockets of oil and gas that would otherwise be uneconomic to access.
Combined with smart technology, a single snake well can access multiple pockets of oil and achieve output equivalent to several individual wells – reducing cost and ensuring no oil is overlooked. Champion West field is the longest in Brunei exceeding eight kilometres in length.
BSP’s smart fields integrate digital information technology with the latest drilling, seismic and reservoir monitoring techniques. Smart Fields can help increase the total amount of oil recovered from a field by 10 per cent and gas recovery by five per cent, while also boosting the rate of production.
Throughout the decades, both the business climate, and the oil and gas industry have changed considerably. BSP has continued to be a global business leader, and world class oil and gas company, by developing and utilising some of the world’s most advanced technologies.
For example, the high-resolution 3D seismic survey at Rasau completed in 2015 is one of the most advanced and largest onshore surveys BSP has undertaken in more than 20 years. The Rasau 3D Seismic Survey Project was carried out over an area spanning 244km2 in the Belait District, including the town of Kuala Belait and adjacent onshore and offshore areas. This modern seismic data enabled BSP to gain a better picture of the underground in its continuous quest to locate and produce more oil and gas.
Thanks to Rasau’s seismic data, BSP discovered the Layang-Layang Well in 2017. This well, in the Lumut area, marks BSP’s first significant discovery onshore in 37 years. Layang-Layang is the first of its kind confirming the existence of a new geological concept called a “shale diapir trap”. A shale diapir is a large cavity containing shale – all under immense pressure. Such a geological structure had never previously been considered as being able to trap oil and gas. The Layang-Layang well belongs to the Seria Field.
Even though Seria oilfield is 90 years old it is a “gift that keeps on giving”. Seria was the birth of the oil and gas industry in Brunei and will continue fuelling Brunei’s future for generations to come.
More recently, elsewhere in the Belait District, BSP produced its first gas at the Darat Gas Project. The project was completed three months ahead of time at the end of 2018. It is capable of producing up to 2 million cubic metres of gas daily.
BSP is still the backbone of Brunei’s economy today. It contributes around 90 per cent of Brunei’s oil and gas revenues, which in turn accounts for over half of the country’s GDP and 90 per cent of Brunei’s total export earnings.
BSP has always made People and Country top priorities over the last 90 years. The main objectives – still to this day – have been to provide jobs for Brunei’s workforce; nurture, develop and support Bruneian talent; and to play an active role in developing the capacity and capability of Bruneian businesses for the sustainable development of Brunei. This is aligned with His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei’s Brunei Vision 2035.
BSP established LiveWIRE Brunei in 2001, a programme to groom and mentor current and future entrepreneurs. Since its launch, it has helped more than 9,000 Bruneians through its various programmes. In 2018, five local entrepreneurs were granted BND155,000 under BSP’s brand new LiveWIRE initiative: LiveWIRE Business Awards Start-Up Funding Scheme.
That included a home-based salted duck egg manufacturer, Nur Haziyah Abdul Rahman, who thanks to her Duck Farm managed to take her remote Temburong family out of poverty. Her business, Hazeeyah Agro Farm also received the “LiveWIRE Brunei Most Outstanding Award” during the LiveWIRE Business Awards 2017-2018. The Duck Farm in Temburong now houses 800 ducks producing 400 eggs daily.
I-Usahawan is a youth entrepreneurship development initiative by the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI). I-Usahawan targets aspiring and existing indigenous business owners between 21 and 40 years, who have yet to earn a contract with the government-linked companies or BSJV Companies – which include BSP, Brunei LNG and Brunei Shell Marketing.
The business areas targeted by the programme include everything from grass-cutting services, landscape maintenance and horticulture to canteens or cafés. It also covers domestic waste management, recycling waste management, videography and photography services, and event management. Under this scheme, participants follow entrepreneurship training and compete for tenders. Successful candidates are awarded a three-year contract with the possibility of an extension.
In line with Brunei Darussalam’s vision to develop an educated, highly-skilled and accomplished workforce, BSP places great importance on the value of good education. Apart from annual BSJV Scholarships that the companies award to promising Bruneian students, BSP also focuses on education as one its main thrusts in its social investment programmes.
Key highlights of its education-related activities for 2018 include the regional Shell Eco-marathon held in Singapore, where students were challenged to design and build a vehicle that can travel the farthest using the least amount of fuel. The Brunei contingent comprised students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Universiti Teknologi Brunei and Politeknik Brunei.
Their participation was supported by BSP in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE). Students from Politeknik Brunei designed and built a battery-powered electric prototype car and managed to get 10th place on the podium. BSP also organised the inaugural “Pesta Sains 2018” through the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre (OGDC), a festival which combines Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in several scopes.
The science festival, supported by the Ministry of Education; Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism and Jerudong Park Playground, was aimed at presenting STEM in a fun and entertaining manner while showcasing an interactive approach to teaching and learning.
That in turn supported BSP and OGDC’s mission to advance STEM in Brunei Darussalam among the younger generation in particular. Other highlights include Brunei Entrepreneurship Scheme (BEES), introduced in 2012 and now has trained nearly 2,000 students.
BSP recognises that sustainable management of the natural environment is the key to sustained human development. The company has always been committed to protect the environment, to respect its neighbours, and to cause no harm to people.
For BSP, “responsible” means respecting national laws and international standards, matching or exceeding global best practices and setting our own rigorous performance standards. Being responsible also means understanding the impact BSP can have on the environment and the communities we share it with – before, during and at the end of our operations.
The company standards cover environmental performance which includes managing emissions of greenhouse gases; using less energy more efficiently; reducing flaring during oil production; preventing spills and leaks of hazardous materials; saving fresh water; and conserving biodiversity wherever we operate.
One of the many environmental initiatives that BSP has supported included the restoration of the water table of the Peat Forest in the Belait district. This not only reduced the risk of fire in Belait but also helped protect the habitat of Brunei wildlife.
The Panaga Natural History Society, BSP’s very own society of natural history lovers, published a series of books entitled “Seashore Life of Brunei Heart of Borneo”, reprinted by BSP in 2018. These books were compiled as part of BSP’s wider support for the “Heart of Borneo initiative” and to encourage people to go out and enjoy exploring the coastline to learn more about everything from the living organisms in the sea, on the beach and in the air; to the vegetation, the rocks below and the climate that produces this unique biosphere. The series’ eight volumes cover the physical environment, seashore plants, seashells, beachcombing, crustaceans, sea life, seashore and coastal birds as well as man.
The nation’s first Green Depot opened in Kuala Belait in late 2018. It was launched by Green Brunei and supported by BSP, as part of continuing initiatives to provide a simplified platform for recycling. The Green Depot will enable the local community to bring in recyclable materials to be weighed and recorded in an easy-to-use online system, which enables users to view the total amount of recycled materials sent to the depot, as well as the monetary value received from recycling. Nurtured by BSP with the support of Daikyo Environmental Recycling Sdn Bhd the project aspires to become an essential platform for the local community to do its part in protecting the environment, while also reaping the financial benefits that come from recycling materials.
As keen supporters of Brunei Darussalam’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability, BSP will continue to organise various initiatives to further promote environmental conservation and increase environmental consciousness in Brunei, especially among the younger generation.
BSP continuously instils that safety should be in the hearts and mind of employees and contractors working onshore and offshore. By the end of day, BSP’s main objective is to ensure there is no harm to people and that they return home to their families safely every time.
Safety in an operational business is always fragile and the company needs to, and does, learn from injuries that have occurred. BSP therefore runs annual and monthly safety campaigns. One of the mindsets embedded in BSP’s safety culture is intervention to prevent and stop an unsafe practice or behaviour. Every year BSP holds safety day. This is when employees and contractors take a time out of their schedule to have deeper conversation on safety. This is usually followed up with commitment action plans to create a safer work place and inculcate a more positive safety behaviour.
But the conversation continues well after Safety Day. BSP runs monthly safety campaigns that helps to facilitate conversations among its employees and contractors on themed safety topics to ensure that teams and individuals understand that safety is everyone’s responsibility.
BSP’s partnership with the National Road Safety Council to advocate continuous improvement in road safety makes for another safety highlight, when the Council launched its “Tell Everyone” campaign, inspired by BSP’s “Tell a Friend” campaign, a road safety campaign which expounds on communicating road safety messages to families and friends, showing a healthy crossover in ideas. Through the campaign, and through the work BSP has been doing in schools and in the community, BSP continuously advocates the road safety messages and behaviours at grassroots level to educate the public especially the younger generation.
This year, BSP is proud to celebrate its 90th anniversary. It has been 90 years of delivering for the nation of Brunei, contributing to the economy and to the communities in which it has operated since 1929. BSP has had the privilege to witness the journey of Brunei through its modernisation era and has supported the nation through times and periods of change.
Its mission in 2019 remains to continue Fuelling Brunei’s Future for decades to come. BSP intends to be the most valuable company to Brunei today and in the future. The Fit For Future strategy outlines BSP’s desire to continue to operate its oil and gas assets safely, reliably and responsibly and grow Bruneian talents and businesses. There are many hurdles to overcome but with great people working for BSP and a mindset of accountability, focus and collaboration, the company is on track to realising its Fit For Future Strategy in support of the country’s Brunei Vision 2035.
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