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It has been argued by stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry that the country is regressing in terms of oil exploration and production. After almost sixty years of Nigeria’s oil industry, operators believe that the country has not yet found its bearing in terms of state-of-the-art technology to grow the industry.

Therefore, organic growth in the country’s oil industry will linger for some time except operators braced up to current realities.

General Manager, Deep Water Exploration of Shell, John Bosco was optimistic that if the country is serious about growing its oil industry organically, it is possible to attain. This goes beyond talking.

Bosco highlighted three key areas that can be used to address the challenges that confront the oil industry. At first, the country should consider its geology, secondly, the technology aspect and its organic talent growth.

According to him, oil is in Nigeria but it has to be discovered and to grow reserve base from 37 to 40 million barrels, the country should move away from conventional mere field exploration where it focuses on 5 to 10 million barrels. Nigeria must think big. To achieve its potentials, the country has to go to the basics which is geology and plain based exploration. Operators have to bring back regional base.

Bosco advocated for new innovation in oil exploration. There has been other views about renewable and “I have heard different discussions about renewable that it will replace oil and gas, the question is, the renewables will only increase equity share in the market and equity share for oil and gas is going to drop.” But in broad sense, oil and gas plays significant role than renewable to meet energy demand. Energy demand has to be doubled in the next thirty years.

For solution in the oil and gas industry, it is not just about making money or value for the company, but about solving problems and challenges. The population of Nigeria is about 190 million by 2050, it will increase close to 400 million. Bosco asked, how do we solve the problem of this growing population? “We have to go back to basics and think beyond what we are doing today, we need to go to the real geology and find the big things.” It has to be deeper exploration beyond what it is currently, offshore and deep water.  Solution is in the deep water while operators should project further beyond myosin to Oligocene. This is the aspect of geology.

The General Manager, Deep Water Exploration of Shell, gave an insight on technology which can be used to address challenges faced in the industry. He advised operators in Nigeria to use modern rig technology for drilling. At present, the industry has automated managed pressure drilling to attain its target in oil exploration. Operators in Nigeria should change their mindsets on how to address challenges in the country’s oil industry.

On seismic, operators should not rely on 4 kilometres data set for cogent discovery. The game should be upped with Ocean Bottom Notes (OBN), to give cleaner data set to see imaging data and deeper oil and gas exploration. Current technology is being used in the oil industry to improve the process of discovery. Nigeria can do it and the country should toe the line of other countries. The old methods of field exploration cannot solve the current challenges in the oil industry. To increase reserve from 37 to 40 million barrels, “We have to up the game.”

On the organic talent growth, Bosco opined that the country should think about millennials and young professionals. Collaboration is essential between the oil industry and academia. A young university graduate in Nigeria at present will not be able to brace up to current challenges. For now, they are not knowledgeable in the use to recent technology to confront digitization. The young ones should be trained to be able to confront challenges of the 21st century.

Data base in Nigeria should be upgraded otherwise the country will still be groping in the dark. There are thousands of wells in the Niger Delta and without proper data set, digitization in the oil industry cannot be achieved.

However, Bosco was optimistic that the “Opportunity is there and it is about today, and it is about stepping up the game, thinking geology and technology, face it and think about organic talent growth.”


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