Minister of state for petroleum resources chief Timipre Sylva, has called for increased investment in digital technology to boost exploration in the oil and gas sector.
Delivering a graduation lecture at the National Defence College (NDC) for Course 29, yesterday, 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.
The minister who spoke on ‘Enhancing Digital Technology In The Oil and Gas Sector In Nigeria for National Development’ noted that “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 further stated.
“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,” he said.
“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; 3D Virtual Modelling and Drone Technology,” Sylva added.
The minister listed 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.
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 an average production of about 7, 575 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD), noting 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, Sylva 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”.