UXO survey and clearance for AGOCO in Libya

The Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) recognise the potential risks to personnel and operations that UXO and land mines may pose. The likely impact from WWII munitions within the proposed seismic 3D operation in Area 57, located in eastern Libya, east of Benghazi, was significant. In the past when the AGOCO’s seismic operations group deployed, delays were sustained due to the unexpected discovery of munitions.

AGOCO needed a UXO specialist that understood how to integrate UXO mitigation for large 3D seismic survey. A complete UXO clearance of the area could take more than two years, and cost more than US$50M.

Using our extensive experience in the region, detailed desk-top studies, training of local personnel, and UAV technology, RPS designed and implemented a targeted and cost-effective mitigation plan, enabling AGOCO to deploy their seismic crews to the area safely and on time.

RPS has carried out several previous operations in this region. Based on this extensive experience, our UXO team had a deep understanding of the risks, and how they can affect a 3D seismic crew’s deployment within the project zone - a 1,500 km2 former World War II battlefield and a 1980’s Libyan ministry of defence (MOD) training area. This team designed and implemented a cost-effective assessment and UXO risk reduction project methodology to ensure that the risk posed by munitions and land mines was reduced as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

Our project team implemented a detailed and robust remote assessment of Area 57, including area satellite image interpretation and analysis. This, coupled with extremely comprehensive global archive research, allowed the team to concentrate their efforts to areas that contained a known UXO risk to the seismic operations. We also worked closely with our local partner and with tribal leaders to ensure that the region’s people could benefit as employees of the project, achieving another goal of the project.

RPS delivered basic quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) officer training for seven AGOCO personnel in Tunisia. Training included an introduction to mine clearance and UXO operations, risk assessment, mapping and recording, QA and QC inspections survey. In addition, we trained 16 local UXO spotters.


Once the team was deployed, the benefit of the detailed assessment and consultancy works carried out in advance of deployment was evident. The local mitigation teams were able to concentrate their remediation efforts into actual risk areas. Using our drones to reduce risk to personnel, a verification unit was also mobilised to carry out a ground review and assessment of the areas identified in the pre-deployment works as ‘not containing the potential for UXO risk’, and with one exception, the verification team confirmed that all of these areas conformed to ALARP, and a Land Release Certificate was issued.

While deployed, the COVID-19 pandemic rolled across the globe. However, due to the remoteness of the area and the strong bond formed with local suppliers, who stepped up establishing a supply chain that isolated the team from external contact, the project team were able to keep safe.

By the end of the project, the UXO team had UXO cleared 10,838,722m2, recovered more than 100 UXO items, including air-dropped weapons and removed over twenty tonnes of scrap metal.

area 57 munition3.jpg

Project statistics

Total Visual/Shallow surface Clearance Complete
Total of Non-Technical Survey Completed
additional UXO items including air dropped weapons recovered
20 tonnes
tonnes of scrap metal removed

Key details

Project name
UXO Non-Technical and Technical Survey

Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO)

Area 57, Libya

August 2019 - May 2020

Services provided

  • Desk Based Assessment, Detailed Satellite and Aerial imagery interrogation.
  • UXO QA Training for AGOCO staff.
  • Implementation of a Local Capacity Development Training Course (UXO Searchers)
  • Non-Technical Survey
  • Technical Survey
  • Battle Area Clearance

Contact us

David Denman

Dave Denman

EES Technical Director T: +44 (0) 1291 621 821 Email
View profile »
Chepstow | UK

Dave Houghton

Principal Consultant T: +44 1291 621 821 Email
Chepstow | UK

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *