Nigerian universities have been consistently criticised for failing to develop curricula that not only deals with problems of the past but in tune with modern technological changes; this view was re-echoed by SPDC on Wednesday.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) said undergraduates in Nigerian universities need to be able to master today’s challenges and be at home with emerging technologies to enable in-country innovation.
Osagie Okunbor, SPDC managing director and country chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, made this call at the ongoing 37th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the National Association of Petroleum Explorationist (NAPE) in Lagos, themed, “Expanding Nigeria’s Petroleum Landscape: Digitalisation, Innovation and Emerging New Technologies.”
Okunbor said Shell was collaborating with the academia in Nigeria in two successful centres of excellence, promoting the emergence of industry-ready graduates at the university level.
He listed the Centre of Excellence in Geosciences and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Benin and Rivers State University Centre of Excellence in Marine and Offshore Engineering as Shell’s involvement in academia.
Okunbor said every year since 1980, 10 Nigerian professors and 25 research interns undergo a one-year research programme at SPDC.
The scholars share their findings with SPDC in fields such as biodiversity, petroleum engineering, geophysics, impact assessment, and community health and oil and gas exploration. This way, they contribute to providing critical industry input into higher education in Nigeria.
Okunbor called for the right investment climate to enable the expansion of Nigeria’s petroleum landscape and increase Nigeria’s oil production from the current average of 2.3 million barrels per day to 3 million b/d.
He added that this would boost the country’s proven oil reserves to about 40 billion barrels through further exploration and appraisal.
“The right investment climate would also include strengthening our regulatory bodies, giving priorities to research and further enabling the industry’s financials.
“I believe that where the investment climate is right, digitalisation and deployment of emerging technologies will enable incremental value creation over the coming years,” he said.
Okunbor noted that in Shell, digitalisation was not just about technology but also about people and ensuring more agile ways of working.