Smart Flow was founded ten years ago, and it marked its ten year anniversary recently in conjunction with the 13th Oil Trading & Logistics Expo (OTL), Africa Downstream Week, 2019 event in Lagos.
It is an Engineering Company, specializing in fuel downstream sector, and moving into other sectors, like water, and chemical. The Company has about 150 staff strength working in Nigeria, and some parts of Africa.
The Founder of Smart Flow, Dolapo Adeyeye, spoke with Ogodo Douglas Felix, at the OTL event, that the Service Company, provides intelligent solutions with digital information, and installing of automation.
Is Smart Flow just about the service aspect of the oil and gas industry or general view of the industry?
I can say that Smart Flow in conjunction with its Sister Company, Energy 360 Africa, provide services all the way through inspecting of equipment, determining the kind of equipment needed, or to be used, maintaining the equipment as well and getting data out of the equipment. The companies provide starch port and other intelligent solutions. It is an end to end service that is being provided.
You were explaining something about Energy 360, what’s the difference with Smart Flow?
Most of our customers that come for complete digital information and willing to have their processes digitalized, have to start by installing automation, changing equipment or maximizing the efficiency of the equipment. This is Smart Flow’s area of specialty, installing equipment, by ensuring that they are working and also maintained. The Energy 360 takes the baton further to ensure that the equipment that are installed are providing the data required, the accuracy of the data and ensure that customer needs are addressed such that the customer processes its design and take it to the end. For example, uber using their platform like google map taking it to a different level.
It is the same thing that we do in the field industry, you can buy automation and equipment but you need someone who is going to listen to you to understand what your issues are and assist you. This is what Energy 360 does.
Are these companies well known in the energy industry value chain such as downstream, midstream and upstream?
We play about 95% in the downstream, a bit in the upstream, which is just about 5%. Our companies provide services in the downstream sector of the upstream. What that means is that for instance in ExxonMobil, we don’t do anything with the drilling, they have cars and vehicles with in-house fuel stations, not Mobil filling stations on the road but at their offshore locations, in Eket and Lagos, we provide flow management and calibrating services.
There is nobody in the downstream sector today that is unfamiliar with the name, Smart Flow. It is a household name; basically, if you count one to three of the companies that provide services, Smart Flow is definitely going to fall at the number one or second position.
What do you mean by innovation or extinction in your presentation?
That was my closing remark at my presentation, you either innovate or extinct. What that means in digital transformation, if you are not going to start a journey of digitalization, gathering your data and understanding your business, and using this data to work more efficiently, you will not be able to react to the ever changing conditions in the market and you will not be able to react to expectation of customers’ demand. You will have no choice either because customers will not patronize you or it may be too expensive. The company might be losing too much of its customers, definitely, if not well managed it will lead to extinction. This is basically what it means.
As an engineer and creating a lot of value in the energy sector, what’s your advice for Nigeria?
My advice is to start to introduce standards especially around technology. This is to begin with either the pumps, or equipment that are being introduced. I am giving an advice based on the sector, not a general view. We need to introduce standard in terms of safety, and quality. No matter what we want to do even if it involves money, safety on equipment that are in contact with fuel is necessary. This is what the focus for Nigeria should be. The country can begin to maximize the use of these equipment.
Is Smart Flow in partnership with government on some of its objectives?
We are definitely working with a lot of government agencies. As expert, we receive calls for opinions from time to time, and we are not shy to provide our opinions. The more we grow in this business, the more we are recognized, and our expertise is being sought. We have worked with quite a few Government agencies, like Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). We seek for the DPR’s approval in everything that we do, always communicating with the regulatory agency, and hope to get more involved, and impact the country better in the future.