Amid daunting challenges plaguing Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, an industry expert and former Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Engr. Rabiu Suleiman has called for higher investments in Information Communications Technology, ICT to fully harness the huge economic potential the petroleum sector holds.
He said ICT plays a significant role in optimisation, efficiency, technology advancement in the oil and gas sector.
“I believe it is time for the oil and 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.
“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.
“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”, he said.
He further explained that ICT has proven useful across other industries, adding that Nigeria can achieve up to 5 percent more oil productivity and at reduced cost using ICT.
“Regarding oil exploration, it is now possible to achieve up to 5% more oil productivity at areduced 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.
“The major challenge today is that of insecurity. Other challenges include; general economic recession, the recent COVID-19 pandemic that almost grounded the entire world economy. Many countries passed through recession, there was the lowering of oil reserves because production was halted in some countries and therefore, production became low and of course, there are other challenges related to high production cost. If you narrow down and do a comparative analysis between Nigeria and other countries, 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 by COVID-19.”
He explained that the 2021 edition of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, which starts on the 6th of June, 2021 in Abuja, provides a great opportunity at this critical time for the Oil & Gas sector in Nigeria, to focus on how to leverage ICT to transform the sector and the economy at large.
“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. 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”.
He 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. We also have many solar power projects going on. There is 100 megawatts of solar power that I initiated in Kano State. We have many others going on in other parts of the country. We small power panels that you can throw unto the roofs in villages.”
He thus challenged Huawei Technologies to widen its green energy solution provision, especially in solar power for Nigerians.
“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”.
BUA Group, A’Ibom Sign MoU For Refinery’s Access Road
Bua Group has signed a memorandum of understanding, (MoU), with Akwa Ibom State Government, and the host communities in Ibeno Local Government Area, for the construction of access road to the proposed Bua Refinery and Petrochemical plant site in Ibeno, last week.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr. John Etim, who presided over the signing of the MoU, applauded BUA for their commitment to the project, prompt documentation and the preparation of the site towards the construction of the refinery.
Etim said that the refinery project will bridge the gap between host communities and Akwa Ibom State, thereby bringing about more developments in the oil and gas sector of the State.
The Commissioner called on all parties concerned to be committed to the terms of agreement and to ensure that peace dominates their relationship, while appealing to the host communities to protect the facilities which is now in their custody
“The refinery and petrochemical project is in line with the Governor’s vision to industrialise the State, develop local capacity in key industries where value can be added and raw materials sourced locally.”
Speaking shortly after the MoU signing, the Chairman of Ibeno local government, Williams Mkpa, expressed delight over the development, describing it as a giant stride in the industrialisation vision of the Akwa Ibom State Government.
The paramount ruler of the area, Owong Effiong Archianga, assured the company of his people’s unalloyed support and cooperation to see to the actualisation of the project.
CSO Urges Oil Communities To Challenge PIA In Court
A Civil Society Organisation, Policy Alert, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, urging communities to test the provisions of the Act before the courts.
President Buhari had signed the erstwhile Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law last Monday amidst protests from community groups and many other stakeholders that the Bill do not adequately cover the rights and interests of the host communities.
In a statement signed by its Communications and Stakeholders Engagement Officer, Mrs. Nneka Luke-Ndumere, Policy Alert, which is working for economic and ecological justice, described the presidential assent to the PIB as “grossly insensitive and problematic.
“It is sad that the bill has been assented to in the most controversial manner despite its many obvious flaws and its rejection by many stakeholders,” the statement read.
It added: “For example, the controversial provision for a direct payment of 30 percent profit oil and profit gas to the Frontier Exploration Fund potentially shortchanges the oil producing states and local governments of some of its thirteen percent derivation as it bypasses the requirement in section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that all revenues be channeled through the federation account.
“This is most unfair, viewed against the ceding of only three percent of previous years’ operating expenses to the Host Communities Development Trust Fund and the punitive provision to charge costs of any damage to facilities against the community’s Fund, among other obnoxious provisions.
“That Mr. President has gone ahead to give assent to these vexing provisions only reinforces the politics of exclusion and expropriation that has for long characterised the relationship between the Nigerian state and the oil producing communities.
“We are also concerned that the host communities’ component of the legislation flies in the face of one of its stated objectives to address tensions between host communities and companies as it has all the ingredients for escalating rather than abating such conflicts.
“At a time when fossil fuel investments are being deprioritised elsewhere as a result of the global energy transition, it is unfortunate that this Act failed to provide a bridge between the current era of fossil fuel dependency and the low-carbon energy future that Nigeria aspires to within the framework of government’s much vaunted commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
The statement also said: “Granted, the new legal framework introduces some predictability and clarity to the governance and fiscal arrangements in the oil and gas industry. We are also not oblivious to certain clauses that respond to some of our earlier demands, such as those providing that the Board of Trustees of the Host Communities Development Trust will now be determined in consultation with the host communities, with membership drawn from community members. But that is just as far as it goes.
“As a tool for improved benefit sharing to host communities, the Act falls flat on its face. It actually ridicules the exertions of the host communities and advocacy groups that have clamoured over the years for a law that yields some space for participation, direct socio-economic benefits and environmental remediation for oil-rich communities.
“The theatre of action will now have to move to the communities and the courts of law. As implementation of the Act gets underway over the next 12 months, we urge host communities and civil society groups to begin to seek interpretation of some of its more controversial provisions before the courts.”
Kyari Tasks Greenfield Refinery On Fuel Importation
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has charged members of the Board of the NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), to explore all available options to bring an end to the current challenge of petroleum products importation.
Mallam Kyari gave the charge Thursday while inaugurating the Board of the newly incorporated subsidiary of the Corporation, NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), at the NNPC Towers, Abuja.
The NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited is a subsidiary of the Corporation set up in December 2020 with a mandate to oversee the establishment and operation of new refineries.
The GMD, who is also the Chairman of the NGRL Board, challenged members of the Board to focus on profitability in order to remain afloat and avoid liquidation.
“As a business, this is a big opportunity for us and this company’s balance sheet must change positively. Going forward, with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), I can tell you that if you continue to post negative for three years, you are out. So, there is really no excuse”, Mallam Kyari stated.
He urged the Board and Management Team of the new company to set up a proper structure with the required skills, technology and financing to drive the company’s operations, adding that he was optimistic that the company would be able to achieve its mandate.
“Our company must grow and we can’t do well except we are able to process our production whether it is the liquid or gas. If we don’t monetise it then we have done nothing. This is really a new chapter and we are committed to making it work,” he said.
The NNPC helmsman stated that all the Corporation’s initiatives in the areas of new refineries, condensate refineries and equity acquisition in credible private refineries were geared towards ensuring energy security for the country.
In his remarks, the Alternate Chairman of the Board and Group Executive Director, Refinery and Petrochemicals, Engr. Mustapha Yakubu, declared that the operations of the company would be guided by the principles of cost effectiveness in line with the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), noting that profitability would be the key focus.
Speaking in similar vein, the Group General Manager, Greenfield Refineries and Project Division (GRPD) and Managing Director of the NGRL, Engr. Bege Talson, disclosed that the Division was working with third party investors to establish greenfield, modular and condensate refineries with a combined capacity of 250,000barrels per stream day (bpsd).
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