By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says promoting digital transformation in the nation’s oil and gas industry will boost profitability and efficiency.
Sylva stated this while delivering the graduation lecture at the National Defence College Course 29 titled, “Enhancing Digital Technology in the Oil and Gas Sector of Nigeria for National Development” on Monday in Abuja.
He said the data-centric tools would enable real-time view of operations across the value chain as well as allowing predictive operations and maintenance.
The minister said closing the digital gap would help lessen hindrances to efficient production and improve process optimisation in the country’s oil and gas industry.
To enhance digital technology, he said there should be a deliberate effort to build resilience and sustainability in the oil and gas infrastructure.
He added that this would protect the country’s key economic assets from cyber-attacks and other web-based criminalities.
According to him, the Saudi Aramco case should be instructive to operators in the industry.
“An employee of Saudi Aramco with privileged access had on August 15, 2012 opened a scam email in an intentional act of sabotage involving the release of a virus that destroyed the entire computer system of the organisation in hours.
“There is also a recent case in the United States involving the largest fuel pipeline in the country, whose operations were shut down for nearly a week after a cyber-attack.
“The attack caused distribution problems in the U.S. and panic-buying that drained supplies at thousands of gas stations,” he said.
Sylva challenged the defence sector to proffer recommendations on how Nigeria could prepare in the event of such a cyber-attack on the oil and gas sector.
He called for increased funding for the sector to ensure effective development, promotion, and implementation of petroleum technology and manpower expansion policies through research and training.
He said effective integration of digital technologies could reduce capital expenditure in the oil and gas sector by up to 20 per cent, cut upstream operating costs by about five per cent, and downstream costs by up to 2.5 per cent.
According to him, there should be rapid deployment of digital technology to enhance utilisation of the abundant gas resources in Nigeria using the various initiatives rolled out under the Decade of Gas.
“With gas as our transition energy, we must deploy digital technology in the development of gas for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Autogas, power, agriculture, manufacturing, and others,” he added.
The Commandant, NDC, Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, said technology had assumed a prominent place among the factors that had created nexus between national security and development.
Daji said the exponential pace in the advancement of technology globally was a critical factor in determining the strength of the nation in measuring security and sustainable development indices.
He said it was in cognisance of this reality that the college adopted the theme, “Fourth Industrial Revolution and National Development in Nigeria” for Course 29.
“This reality potends both positive and ominous prospects with far-reaching implications for national development.
“This underscores the need for diligent interrogation to appreciate the inherent opportunities, risks, challenges and threats,” he said.
The commandant stated that the college had in the last 29 years, graduated 2,447 participants comprising 2,206 Nigerians and 241 international participants from African as well as friendly countries of the world.
He added that Course 29 had 82 participants from Nigeria, 11 from African countries and one each from Bangladesh, Germany and Nepal. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)