By Tope Adeboboye
It was an exciting time on Thursday, last week, as critical stakeholders in the oil and gas sector converged on Lagos for the inauguration of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre.
The inauguration of the centre, situated at the Department of Petroleum Resources headquarters, Lagos, was performed virtually by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva.
At the event, Buhari said his administration would continue its economic diversification drive through the utilisation of oil and gas revenues.
He said: “You would recall that, at the beginning of this administration, we set a clear road map for the oil and gas sector in order to increase value from the nation’s huge resource potential and create opportunities for investors, both local and foreign, when I declared that ‘Nigeria is open for business. Since then, we have witnessed major final investment decisions in the sector.”
He listed some of such decisions as the AKK Pipeline project, the NLNG Train-7 project, and the completion of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith modular refinery.
“Our renewed drive for economic diversification using the oil and gas industry as a pivot remains on track as we expand government revenues and deploy it to grow our gross domestic product (GDP), generate employment and contribute to eliminating poverty in Nigeria.”
While describing the unveiling of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre as another milestone in the development of the oil and gas sector and the realisation of greater value for the country, Buhari said the facility would serve as an integrated resource complex to drive safety, value and cost efficiency in the industry. He emphasised that the centre had opened a new set of opportunities for the Nigerian petroleum industry in terms of investments.
Said he: “The establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre aligns with our administration’s commitment to fostering stability, growth, and sustainability of the Nigerian oil and gas industry consistent with the economic development and sustainability agenda articulated in the National Petroleum Policy 2017, National Gas Policy 2017, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the Economic Sustainability Plan 2020.”
The President commended the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, the director/CEO of DPR, Sarki Auwalu, and the entire staff of the DPR on the successful actualisation of the project.
Also speaking at the event, Auwalu said the journey that led to the establishment of the centre had commenced with the express charge handed down by the President for the industry to reduce cost, improve efficiency and create employment.
“So, based on these directives and the ministerial delivery priorities, the Department of Petroleum Resources identified five key initiatives that would help to achieve the intent of Mr. President’s mandate. It is pertinent to note that the entire oil and gas business is hinged on revenue and safety, which provide the basis for identifying the five initiatives that form the pillars of NOGEC.
“The National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre encompasses industry-focused programmes that would drive strategic mediation in operations, skills and competence development, use of Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for decision making, deployment of proven technology for secondary and tertiary oil recovery as well as a coordinated response for an emergency,” he said.
The DPR CEO noted that the framework and implementation modalities for the successful take-off of these programmes within the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre had been concluded. He expressed confidence that the industry had been equipped with the resource and platform to interact, cooperate and collaborate on salient industry issues that remain impediments to cost reduction, safe operations, and optimum value optimisation.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the facility would culminate in the sustainable development of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He explained that the integrated centre encompasses five units that were designed to comprehensively cover key areas of the industry while enhancing safety, value and cost efficiency.
The units, he said, include Search, Rescue and Surveillance, Command and Control Centre (SeRAS); National Improved Oil Recovery Centre (NIORC); Oil and Gas Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC); Oil and Gas Competence Development Centre (CDC) and Integrated Data Mining and Analytics Centre, (IDMAC).
He informed that SeRAS is a flagship programme of the centre designed to enhance safety management, emergency preparedness and response, and routine transportation for bed-space management.
He posited that SeRAS would drive cost reduction and improve operational efficiency across the industry. “Conservatively, it is projected that upon full implementation of SERAS, the annual industry expenditure for offshore and remote locations, flight logistics and emergency response will reduce by 50 per cent,” he said.
It was gathered that the centre was structured to drive the three-pronged objectives of safety, value and cost efficiency, which are critical for oil and gas industry stability, growth and sustainability.
While explaining further on the benefits of the centre, the DPR director said the facility would afford the Nigerian oil and gas industry the crucial elements for competitive advantage in a changing global energy landscape.
“The integrated centre will also entrench Nigeria’s status as regional leader and position the nation for significant global impact in the provision of value-added services and breakthrough solutions for the industry in years and decades to come,” Auwalu said.
He also informed the gathering that the NOGEC complex was structured to house the various flagship centres to comprehensively cover key areas of the industry, even as he spoke more on the flagship centres.
“SeRAS is an industry-wide programme established to enhance safety management, emergency preparedness and response as well as bed space management and logistics services across the industry. SeRAS will entrench safe practices, drive cost reduction and improve operational efficiency across the industry.
“The SeRAS Command and Control Centre (CCC) is established at the NOGEC Centre, Lagos while two other Rescue Coordination Centres (RCC) will be set up at Osubi and Brass, in the first instance, for effective coverage of areas of operations.”
Anwalu said the NIORC was established to formulate and implement strategies for improved and enhanced oil recovery methods in the oil and gas industry for the purpose of achieving maximum production at the lowest possible cost.
He explained that the centre would partner with operators and technology innovators in their research and development efforts for achieving its objectives.
“It will also collaborate with similar international oil and gas regulators in sharing lessons learnt and operational best practices. NIORC will focus on the implementation of a robust national IOR framework to enable the country to optimise its resources as well as create greater opportunities for operators,” he said, adding that the Oil and Gas DRC would offer arbitration, mediation and conciliation services for the industry.
He also stated that the centre would leverage industry technical experts, Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioners and resources of the National Data Repository (NDR) to provide fair and balanced resolutions of industry-related disputes from an informed position.
“The DRC is structured to adequately resolve disputes in a manner consistent with regulatory and commercial interests of the industry.
“This will address suboptimal development of oil and gas assets associated with lingering disputes and the attendant consequences of value erosion in terms of national resource growth, global competitiveness, investment attractiveness, government take and investor’s profitability.”
The DPR boss described the Oil and Gas CDC as a world class centre of excellence that would serve as the innovation hub for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and beyond.
In his words, “the centre will feature state-of the-art training facilities, meeting rooms, conferencing, electronic library, digital visualisation centre, and co-working spaces designed to stimulate creative thinking to proffer solutions for the technical and business challenges facing energy sector practitioners.
“The CDC is set up to be a regional hub to deliver trainings for oil and gas industry practitioners. The centre will significantly reduce the cost of training and capacity building which is often associated with international travels by utilising both local and international subject matter experts to deliver world-class training in-country.
He promised that the centre would leverage the National Data Repository and its robust suite of digital solutions as well as other existing real-time electronic services to deliver hands-on, practical solutions to industry challenges.
And speaking on the IDMAC, Anwalu said the centre would provide the platform for appropriate analysis of industry data to provide meaningful insights that would enable effective decision making for investment, asset development, portfolio management and operational excellence.
“Technical, operational and economic decisions across the value chain are underpinned by credible, reliable dataset both from corporate and national planning perspectives.
“IDMAC will take advantage of DPR’s resources and tools, Big Data, Internet of things and artificial intelligence for evaluation, analytics and data synthesis by interested parties,” he explained.