The former technical adviser to the ministry of petroleum resources, Rabiu Suleiman, has called for higher investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to fully harness the huge economic potential in the petroleum sector.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP, the expert listed insecurity as the major challenge facing the industry, followed by economic recession and the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) that almost grounded the world economy.
He said: “Many countries passed through recession. There was the lowering of oil reserves because production was halted in some countries and, therefore, production became low. There are other challenges related to high production cost.
“If you do a comparative analysis between Nigeria and other countries, the 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 per cent during COVID-19.”
Pointing out that the 2021 edition of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), which started on June 6, 2021 in Abuja, provides a great opportunity for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, with the focus on leveraging ICT to transform the sector, Suleiman said, “ICT plays a significant role in optimisation, efficiency and technological advancement.
“The most sensitive equipment in the process plans in the oil and gas industry is the programmable logic controllers, online analysers and other instruments that control process, temperature, flows and pressure. So, if a company such as Huawei focuses on optimisation, efficiency, control and improvement, maximisation of production will be very good.”
According to him, ICT is also key in security and one can easily integrate various ICT components in terms of monitoring volume flows, temperature, attack, corrosion and contamination, and communication.
“You can tie all these to a dedicated command and control centre. With Huawei’s oil and gas solutions, it is possible to manage pipeline damages. 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 to be useful across industries. I believe it is time for the oil and gas industry to embrace more ICT. There are ICT innovations coming up to help tackle most of the challenges in the industry. I know Huawei Technologies has been coming up with some new solutions for the petroleum industry,” he added.
He lamented the inability of the three Nigerian refineries to produce aviation kerosene, “because of the ingress of water into the system, 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.”
Expressing joy that Huawei will be on the ground at the 2021 edition of NIPS, Suleiman added, “Huawei is a global giant with more than 30 years of expertise in ICT. According to the company, it works with 253 Fortune Global 500 companies as a digital transformation partner, including 14 out of the global top 20 oil and gas companies from 45 countries and regions around the world.”
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 are going to participate in the international conference and have a stand there to create such awareness,” Suleiman concluded.