• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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How big data can jump-start Nigeria’s energy sector

How big data can jump-start Nigeria’s energy sector

Nigeria faces a constant struggle: a nation rich in oil resources yet grappling with widespread energy shortages. But a new weapon is emerging in this fight – big data.

By harnessing the vast troves of information on consumption patterns, grid stability, and renewable potential, experts believe Nigeria can jump-start its energy sector.

Kamal Dandina, data & AI consultant and chief growth officer at Dataleum, explained big data as “a large and diverse collection of data that is generated from a variety of systems or sources”.

“To name a few, these sources can be from sensor devices like smart meters, power grids, or telemetry data. Other known everyday sources can be customer or consumer data like transactions, demographics, and consumption patterns related to the energy sector,” Dandina said.

According to a 2019 report by Mordor Intelligence, big data analytics plays a crucial role in reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency in the energy sector, thus boosting the demand for analytics in the industry.

“The energy sector faces many problems like predicting production demand, enhancing efficiency, optimising load distribution and optimisation, and optimising operational processes,” the report stated.

“Big data analytics helps deliver consistent and data-backed outputs to avoid downtime or supply chain disruption,” it added.

Dandina explained that big data can help to improve electricity supply in Nigeria by predicting electricity demands and consumption patterns.

He said, “The role of big data solutions is applicable in demand forecasting, which DisCos can use to predict peak electricity demands and determine consumption patterns leading to better management of outages currently prevalent in Nigeria.

In 2014, Kenya Power, East Africa’s largest power distributor, signed a deal with IBM to deploy real-time data solutions to improve business performance and implement its expansion plan, which helped it actualise a 10 percent decrease in energy loss.

Dandina added that big data can also play a huge role in curbing oil theft in Nigeria through analytics and the implementation of real-time pipeline monitoring analytics systems, which would aid the timely and accurate detection of vandalisation.

He said, “Nigeria can achieve great success in curbing oil theft by collecting and consolidating data across various sources like drones, satellites, IoT devices, and financial transactions can provide insights on unusual activities across the infrastructure and supply chain”.

On his part, Abdulrasheed Balogun, an oil and gas expert, said, “Even for ships moving these products, there are ways we can monitor what is going on with GPS tools.”

“Saudi Aramco has a SCADA system that monitors all their crude lines. When they offload and when they load the ships for export. Everything you see on the SCADA. It also reads the whole flow meter, the barrels and all that. So, there is a centralised system that could monitor these things, and Nigeria can have that too,” he added.

Balogun, however, pointed out that the issue of oil theft seems to be institutionalised and coordinated.

Balogun said, “So the issue of oil theft in Nigeria looks like a coordinated and institutionalised, and that’s why it seems to keep going on and on. It is like an institutionalised criminal activity, and I believe the government needs to give the proper body language to the culprits.

“The government should partner with other sub-region countries to fix this issue. There are ways that technology can also help, and I know that the window has not been blocked or shut down. So, if implementing these technologies has not worked, then it means there has been some sabotage,” he added.