*Canvasses for quick transition to renewables
Lagos — Amid daunting challenges plaguing Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, an industry expert and former Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Engr. Rabiu Suleiman has called for higher investments in Information Communications Technology, ICT to fully harness the huge economic potential the petroleum sector holds.
He said ICT plays a significant role in optimisation, efficiency, technology advancement in the oil and gas sector.
“I believe it is time for the oil and gas industry to embrace more ICT. There are new ICT innovations coming up to help tackle most of the challenges faced in the industry. I know Huawei Technologies has been coming up with some new solutions for the petroleum industry.
“ICT is also useful for data management. The oil & gas industry handles lots of information and a lot of it has been paperwork. There is therefore a need for digital transformation to foster efficiency in the way information is stored using ICT.
“The most sensitive equipment in the process plants in the oil and gas industry is the programmable logic controllers, online analysers and all other instrument that control process, temperature, flows and pressure. So, if a company such as Huawei focuses attention on optimisation, efficiency, control and improvement, maximisation of production it will be very good”, he said.
He further explained that ICT has proven useful across other industries, adding that Nigeria can achieve up to 5 percent more oil productivity and at reduced cost using ICT.
“Regarding oil exploration, it is now possible to achieve up to 5% more oil productivity at a reduced cost of investment using ICT. There are now ICT solutions that make oil extraction easier at a lower price than what it used to be.
“The major challenge today is that of insecurity. Other challenges include; general economic recession, the recent COVID-19 pandemic that almost grounded the entire world economy. Many countries passed through recession, there was the lowering of oil reserves because production was halted in some countries and therefore, production became low and of course, there are other challenges related to high production cost. If you narrow down and do a comparative analysis between Nigeria and other countries, cost of production per barrel in Nigeria is significantly very high. It went as high as $32 per barrel and crude oil price at the international market went as low as $9/barrel. But quickly, it went up to $140/barrel later and then crashed to below zero by COVID-19.”
He explained that the 2021 edition of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, which starts on the 6th of June, 2021 in Abuja, provides a great opportunity at this critical time for the Oil & Gas sector in Nigeria, to focus on how to leverage ICT to transform the sector and the economy at large.
“You can easily integrate various ICT components in terms of monitoring of volume flows, temperature, attack, corrosion, contamination, communication, you can tie all these to a dedicated command and control centre. With Huawei’s oil & gas solutions, it is possible to manage pipeline damages. Yes, this has been a major challenge over the years which has greatly affected the economy. However, there are no ICT solutions to manage these occurrences. It is now possible to track the pipelines and keep them safe through technology. With this in place, more revenue can be generated”.
He also spoke on the need for quick energy transition to renewables like solar, hydro and wind, to safeguard the environment.
“Nigeria is abundantly blessed with renewable energy sources. Sunlight is in abundant, from here in Abuja to the far north. It can be captured and converted into solar system. The main engine for growth is to have uninterrupted power supply. We also have many solar power projects going on. There is 100 megawatts of solar power that I initiated in Kano State. We have many others going on in other parts of the country. We small power panels that you can throw unto the roofs in villages.”
He thus challenged Huawei Technologies to widen its green energy solution provision, especially in solar power for Nigerians.
“Look at the three Nigerian refineries, none of them is producing aviation kerosene, why? Because of the ingress of water into the system and the inability of the laboratory to detect moisture content and poor knowledge of operators who are reluctant to apply new technologies because they are afraid to carry out certain decisions”.
Engr. Suleiman expressed joy that Huawei will be on ground at the 2021 edition of NIPS.
He urged the company to create robust awareness on the benefits of leveraging ICT to lower crude oil production cost; tackle issues around pipeline vandalism; boost Nigeria’s refining capabilities, among other benefits.
“What is missing in our industry is lack of awareness and I’m happy that Huawei is here and they’re going to participate in the international conference and have a stand there in order to create such awareness.” Engr. Suleiman concluded.