Minister of State, Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva has canvessed increase investments in digital technology to boost exploration in the oil and gas sector of the economy
Delivering the graduation lecture at the National Defence College (NDC) for Course 29, on Monday, Sylva said the pressure to move with the rapid evolution of technology is increasing by the day and that the oil and gas sector cannot be an exception.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Enhancing Digital Technology In The Oil and Gas Sector of Nigeria for National Development’, the Minister said, “The many benefits to cost, planning, efficiency, and quality that digital technology can bring to the oil and gas sector are all too clear”.
“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 technique”.
“In this connection, technology has come to the rescue. It is helping 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”.
Sylver listed such digital technology tools such as Drone Technology, analytical and data-driven processes, Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D Virtual Modelling among others as necessary requirements that can help improve oil and gas production in the country.
He pointed out that Nigeria 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) adding that with enhanced technology in the oil and gas sector the country can 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, the minister said “there is need to improve the digital maturity of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, and the world over,” stressing that the “digital technology train has since left the station – you are either on board or you are left behind”.
Emphasizing the need for a sustained investment in technology by both the government and organisations in the oil and gas industry, he noted that the continuous investment in the sector “is critical for survival in today’s competitive environment”.
“There must also be increased investment in skills development to be able to harness the full potential of technology in the sector,” he said.
Minister of Defence, retired Maj – Gen Bashir Magashi in his remarks congratulated Course 29 participants particularly those from friendly countries like Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Germany, Liberia, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
He said the choice of the lecture is very apt at this period when the entire world and indeed the African Continent is going through Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is driven by digital technology.
Noting that the federal government is Ievolving policies aimed at leveraging these technologies in tackling developmental and security challenges, Magashi said, “These efforts are evident in the lasting changes made in policy, environment, national security and governance.
“The diversification of the economy by fast-tracking industrialization, agriculture and agro-allied processing through technology is on-going and commendable.
“The government is also prioritizing critical infrastructure focused on increasing investment in power, rail and roads. There is also the issue of oil and gas reforms through the application of new technology.
“Of course, it goes without saying that the government relied heavily on digital technology in its social investment programmes, especially during the period of the COVID 19 pandemic. There is no gainsaying to state that digital technology is the main cornerstone of Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“In the area of security, a lot of achievements have been recorded in tackling the challenges with the overall interest of government focussed on enhancing security of lives and property of Nigerians. This is notwithstanding pockets of security challenges as a result of terrorism, banditry, kidnappings, farmers/herders clashes and militancy.”