By Solomon Asowata
Lagos – The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) on Wednesday said undergraduates in Nigerian universities needed re-orientation to challenge them on the use of emerging technologies to enable innovation.
Mr Osagie Okunbor, SPDC Managing Director and Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, made the call at the ongoing 37th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists’ (NAPE) in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference has the theme: “Expanding Nigeria’s Petroleum Landscape: Digitalisation, Innovation and Emerging New Technologies.”
Okunbor said Shell was collaborating with the academia in Nigeria with two successful centres of excellence promoting the emergence of industry-ready graduates at university level.
He listed the Centre of Excellence in Geosciences and Petroleum Engineering at University of Benin and Rivers State University Centre of Excellence in Marine and Offshore Engineering as Shell’s involvement in the academia.
Represented by Shell General Manager, Exploration, Mr Dan Agbaire, Okunbor said every year since 1980, 10 Nigerian professors and 25 research interns undergo one-year research programmes in SPDC.
He said the scholars shared their findings with SPDC in fields such as biodiversity, petroleum engineering, geophysics, impact assessment, community health and oil and gas exploration, thus contributing 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 b/d 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.
“We employ leading data scientists who unlock value from the vast amounts of data that Shell has access to in a responsible manner whilst maintaining customer trust.
“Across all our businesses, we look for opportunities where we can replicate and use this at any scale.
“We look to use applicable standard technologies (unless there is a competitive advantage to building proprietary solutions) to change the way we search for and produce oil and gas, design wells, provide energy, or buy goods and services,” he said.
Okunbor said the use of advanced infrastructure and partnership with some of the world’s biggest cloud providers, gave the company the capacity for powerful data analytics.
He said: “We are leaders in deploying artificial intelligence and are using it in areas ranging from seismic analysis to drilling and predictive maintenance.
“All of these we do because we know that digitalisation has a big role in delivering all our strategic goals.
“We can do more. The industry can do more. This future is more in our hands than we think,” he said.