BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Nigeria can leverage technology to curb crude oil loses – Expert

Victor Ude, an energy expert and group chief executive officer, of Vurin Group, has said that Nigeria can leverage technology and with the right political will to curb crude oil losses, improve security and boost production.

Ude, who said this at the 2022 Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference on Wednesday in Abuja stated that insecurity remains the biggest challenge in the oil-rich region and has continued to limit Nigeria from meeting the Organisation of Export Processing Countries (OPEC) oil production quota.

At the conference, international oil companies operating in Nigeria and local investors again raised concerns about the rising spate of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the country. In the first quarter of 2022, Nigeria lost $1bn in revenue to crude oil theft.

While noting that deploying technology can play a significant role in addressing the challenges in the sector, the energy expert also stressed that without political will, not much can be achieved.

Ude informed that his organisation has partnered with a firm in Europe that provides certain types of technology that will not only detect but also control the flow of the movement of crude oil in any form whether by pipeline or by vessels, however.

The executive officer moderated a panel session titled “Roadmap for Nigeria’s Energy mix and Decarbonisation Policy”. Speaking on the topic, Ude said it would not be possible to continue in the oil industry without looking issues on decarbonisation and lower emissions for ant type of fossil fuel emission.

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He applauded the Nigerian government for declaring the decade of gas, explaining that “gas being the transition fuel gives us the opportunity by way of regulation, policy to accept the complementary efforts of gas in terms of fossil fuels and decarbonisation. That in itself is progress but it needs to be sustained and we need to understand that the transition only lasts for a certain period because we also need to invest in renewables.”

Speaking further Ude noted that most of the challenges facing the energy sector are self inflicted. He said local refining can address the issues in the long term, but urged government to look at alternative energy sources in the short term such as electric vehicles.

According to him, some of the challenges include; under-developed and under-invested midstream and downstream sector, foreign currency fluctuations in exchanges, credit risk issues, among others.

“We can encourage even the use of electric vehicles. The way mobile phones transformed telecommunication industry in Nigeria, same can be done with electric vehicles. . The reason I say that is that most homes are powered today by either a public power or by private generators and all those provide sources to charge the vehicles. So you can create a business model, private individuals can make it as a business model, to vend power to vehicles,” he added.

On the fuel scarcity, the expert said, “We also need to be looking at ways were we discourage the unnecessary use of fuel. When covid happened, we found ourselves staying home more often than not, today when we have fuels , we go everywhere, some things can be done leveraging technology, so whether it’s the workforce working certain days a week, all of those things can shrink the demand because the biggest problem why this (fuel scarcity) is exacerbated is because the demand far outstrips supply.”

The Conference had in attendance 80 strategic conference speakers, more than 30 technical seminar speakers, over 5000 industry professionals. There were over 300 exhibition stands.

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