With numerous challenges facing Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, an industry expert and former technical adviser to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Rabiu Suleiman has called for higher investments in Information Communications Technology (ICT) to fully harness the huge economic potential the petroleum sector holds.
Suleiman, an engineer pointed out that the 2021 edition of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), which started today 6th of June, 2021 in Abuja, provides a great opportunity at this critical time for the Oil & Gas sector in Nigeria, with the focus on how to leverage ICT to transform the sector and the economy at large.
Suleiman said “ICT plays a significant role in optimisation, efficiency, technology advancement and all that. 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.”
“ICT is also key in security. 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.
He noted that 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”.
“ICT has really proven useful across other industries. I believe it is time for the oil & 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. Regarding oil exploration, it is now possible to achieve up to 5 percent 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.”
“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.
Suleiman 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. “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.”
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.