Operators in the country’s oil and gas industry should increase their investment in digital technology to boost exploration in the sector. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has said.
The Minister said while delivering the graduation lecture at the National Defence College (NDC) for Course 29, on Monday, that the oil and gas sector cannot be left behind with the rapidly increasing evolution of technology today.
The minister’s lecture focused on “Enhancing Digital Technology In The Oil and Gas Sector on Nigeria for National Development.”
He said the many benefits to cost, planning, efficiency, and quality that digital technology could bring to the oil and gas sector were all too clear for the operators.
“Ultimately, for the oil and gas industry – like all other sectors of society in this day and age – the choice is no longer between embracing or investing in digital technology and not doing so, but actually between investing in digital technology and sinking into oblivion,” he said.
“Under COVID-19, expatriates left for their home countries, and production plummeted. This has accentuated the need for digitalisation, as oil producing countries seek more efficient production techniques, to boost their production capacity,” he added.
In this connection, he said technology has come to the rescue, as t has helped countries and companies to crack the issues of efficiency through multi-functional tools, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation; Big Data and Data Analytics; Internet of Things and Electronic Monitoring, and 3D Virtual Modelling and Drone Technology.
The minister identified such digital technology tools as Drone Technology, analytical and data-driven processes, Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D Virtual Modeling, among others, as necessary requirements that could help improve oil and gas production in the country.
Nigeria, the minister said, has proven crude oil reserves of 37 billion barrels, with production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day and actual crude oil production of about 1.5 million barrels daily and natural gas reserves of 206.53 trillion cubic feet; and average production of about 7, 575 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD).
With enhanced technology in the oil and gas sector, he said the country could scale up its level of production.
Citing Deloitte’s 2019 Digital Maturity Index, which scored the oil and gas industry lowest on the scale, compared to other heavy asset industries, Sylva said “there is need to improve the digital maturity of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, and the world over.” s
“The digital technology train has since left the station. You are either on board or you are left behind, he said.
While stressing the need for a sustained investment in technology by both the government and organisations in the oil and gas industry, the Minister said the continuous investment in the sector was critical for survival in today’s competitive environment.
“They must also increase investment in skills development to be able to harness the full potential of technology in the sector,” he said.
“Promoting digital transformation in the oil and gas industry would boost profitability and efficiency, as the data-centric tools enable real-time view of operations across the value chain and allow predictive operations and maintenance.
“Closing the digital gap would help lessen hindrances to efficient production and improve process optimisation in the country’s oil and gas industry.”
Picture caption L-R: Minister Defence, Bashir Magashi, with Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva and Commandant National Defence College, Oladele Daji, at NDC graduation ceremony of Course 29, in Abuja, on Monday.