General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa for Schneider Electric Process Automation, Mr. Ajibola Akindele, stated this at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), with the theme: “The Future of Energy – A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market”, which held in Lagos.
Speaking on a panel on “Energy Security and Sustainable Development in Nigeria”, Akindele noted that energy security is about availability, accessibility and affordability, adding that it is also about meeting today’s challenges without negating the requirement for tomorrow.
According to him, energy security is the life-blood of a country’s economy; but he bemoaned the general lack of energy efficiency in Nigeria – getting energy to the right place at the right time. This, he said is where technologies come in.
He averred that technology is an enabler and not an end itself, noting that the use of technology helps in good decision-making, transparency, increased production, and cost reduction.
Akindele also noted that there are several technologies available today, which can help players in the oil and gas industry to make better decisions, ensure transparency, increase energy production and reduce cost. He listed predictive analytics, digital twins, IoT, 3D printing, robotics, machine learning, blockchain, big data and drones deployment as some of the technologies that will continue to matter in the future with respect to operations in the oil and gas industry.
“All of those technologies are coming upstream and we are going to see more and more of those technologies. What do they do? Essentially, when you look at Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, blockchain and Big Data, they help you with better decision-making, transparency – so that ultimately you can out-produce more energy at a cheaper price. You are making it more affordable, hence it becomes more accessible and more available,” he said.
He also listed some of the challenges that may affect the Oil and Gas companies from adopting these technologies as costs, lack of infrastructure backbone and exposure to cyber-attacks. However, he stated that all of these challenges can be successfully mitigated and overcome.
On the challenge of upfront costs, he suggested that these technology services can be provided on a subscription model thereby reducing upfront costs. He also stated that cyber-attacks while becoming increasingly common, can be mitigated by applying the appropriate technology solutions and constantly educating employees on the threat of cyber-attacks and ensuring vigilance within the organisation.
Akindele concluded by stating that “the use of technology has a big role to play in ensuring energy security and sustainable development in Nigeria”. He urged organisations to embrace the use of digital technologies where possible for operational efficiency improvements.