As the energy industry continues to transform and Nigeria being two months away from realizing vision 2020 in terms of energy development and security, Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) played host to the First Edition of the International Conference for Hydrocarbon Science and Technology (ICHST) tagged: “OIL AND BEYOND OIL: strategies, policies, & technologies to assure national energy security”
The event which was held on 21st and 22nd of October 2019 at the PTI conference centre, borders on various sub-topics such as Conventional and unconventional Energy, health safety and environment, Strategies and government policies on energy, investment in new energy sources, Maritime & offshore technology, Instrumentation & Automation, Artificial Intelligence & big data. The event saw a gathering of Academia and industry-based speakers, with several paper presentations reviewed by Academia in Nigeria and Diaspora.
Among the dignitaries was the principal chief executive of PTI Prof, Sunny E, Iyuke, Mr Ahmad Rufai Sakur , of the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR)/chairman PTI governing council who was duly represented by Mr A.Asuquo, and chief Timipre Sylva, honourable minister of state for Petroleum Resources, manager of the chromatography department of NNPC, Mr Esanake also came as a special guest.
After several goodwill messages, the keynote address which was entitled: “OIL AND BEYOND OIL: strategies, policies, & technologies to assure national energy security” was delivered by Dr S.N Jamari, managing director of the Nigerian gas Company (NGC), while professor C.O Oruba, a Professor of Economics, Delta state university Abraka, developed and presented the theme “Petroleum and the Nigerian Economy-what went wrong after six decades?” these talks dissected the Nigerian Energy industry stating challenges and proffering possible solutions.
After the tea break., Mr Abdumalik Halilu, the general manager, Research, statistics and Development of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) spoke on the theme “Government Policies on local content Development” during his speech he said that over the years NCDMB has established a very strong relationship with PTI and will continue to enhance this partnership for the general interest of the oil and gas industry, in his speech, he promoted locally developed manpower, goods and services which is referred to as local content, he said that if local content is properly developed, then Nigeria can proudly call themselves giants of Africa.
While the presentation lasted, he focused on various local content policies but spent more time discussing research and development (R & D), and went further to say: “Nigeria is one of the largest economies in the world in terms of hydrocarbon resources , we have over 37 billion barrels of crude oil and 198 trillion standard cubic feet of gas which makes us one of the top ten in terms of hydrocarbon resources and countries that has this type of resources are usually expected to optimize the utilization of the resources from the exploration , production and also processing of the hydrocarbon resources for their industrialization, and that is the essence of local content, in oil and gas industry the major focus of local content is to see how we can ensure utilization of material , human and services that are required in the oil and gas industry to serve the needs of the industry through local participation, so for us in NCDMB what we try to do is to come up with various policies that will ensure participation of Nigerians across the value chain from exploration up to the final utilization in our homes, in our industry and other various use of hydrocarbon resources ,we implement the local content across five broad pillars the first is your representative framework, and that is the reason why the legislators enacted the Nigerian oil and gas industry development act in 2010 which adds specific provisions on the local empowerment for participation in the oil and gas industry”.
Other pillars include the periodic analysis of the current position of the industry in terms of skills and service capacities and manufacturing capabilities and comparing it with what the industry requires. Also among the pillars is Infrastructure requirement, Incentives which is investment and return of investments. And lastly Research and development.
While commenting on local content Mr O. Samuel from Afe Babalola University (ABU) mentioned that despite the fact that ABU has a modular refinery, and also during his days in Covenant University that they had a factory producing Zeolite wire, yet they are not being fully incorporated to the local content program. He stated that NCDMB needs to go beyond the policies and frameworks which they are currently operating on, in other to ensure proper collaboration with these institutions and to promote excellence in the oil and gas industry. He also encouraged state governments to fund and support local content as such will complement the support from other quarters.
Mr Igwe Bright a member of ICHST sponsorship committee directed a question to the NCDMB representative Mr Abdumalik Halilu, he mentioned that PTI is saddled with the responsibility of training local manpower for the industry, while Nigeria has just one PTI, countries like Brazil have four which are supported by the oil companies operating in Brazil and governmental agencies, so he asked: “what is NCDMB doing to ensure that they fund and support local content providers such as PTI and others?”
In His reply, Mr Abdumalik Halilu, shied away from the question claiming the question is out of his scope, and that such questions should be answered by the representative of the honourable minister who is present, and went further to applaud PTI for organizing the event.
As technologies around oil and gas industry continue to evolve, we are currently in the age of Big data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Professor E.A Onibere, a professor of computer science from the prestigious University of Benin spoke on the theme: “Artificial Intelligence and Big Data: Key to Improving accessibility and the efficiency of future energy technology”, he humorously stated that he is very happy because he is delivering the talk on his birthday.
The professor explained the various parts and areas of AI, the use and applications of AI in the upstream, midstream and downstream sections of the oil and gas industries. And went further to also explain what big data and data mining involves while stating the downside of big data, after the talk some members of the audience expressed fear that artificial intelligence and robotics could take away the few jobs left.
However, Mr O. Samuel from Afe Babalola University in his remarks cleared that doubt by saying: “never! We are going to review our curriculum properly and create new knowledge stream” and the new knowledge stream will create new jobs.
The chairman of the governing council PTI who is also the zonal operations controller Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) warri was duly represented by Mr A.Asuquo sent a goodwill message, in his goodwill message he promoted local content and hoped that someday there will be a lot of local content in the industry, he thanked DPR for the work they are doing in the oil and gas industry.
The first day of the conference was brought to end by Dr B.S. Oyetunde of PTI who delivered the vote of thanks.
Just before the noon break those in attendance walked to the ISFECH hall to see where PTI paraded some of their wares, on display was locally made metal dictators, welded specimen, offshore diving equipment etc.
Meanwhile, Mr Chijoke Omalika of pure and applied chemistry department of the University of Calabar told CAMPUSLIFE that though, it was quite stressful to travel down to Delta state, it was worth it, he further commended the management of PTI for organizing such conference.
On the second day of the event Dr, H.A Ademola director of science representing the vice principal of PTI gave the welcome address, in his speech he said he hopes for a time when there will be diversification in the Nigerian Economy when there will be little focus on hydrocarbons, he expressed optimism that the outcome of the conference will help steer the country in the right direction and help policymakers make policies that will benefit the country now and in the future.
Meanwhile Prof. I.A Mohammed-Dabo of the chemical engineering department, university of Zaria, humorously delivered the talk with the theme: “Sustainable National Energy Security through Domestication of Conventional and non-Conventional Energy Technologies” during the speech he expressed concern on the fact that Nigeria has not been able to holistically utilize their resources, Nigeria is among the top ten largest producers of oil in the world, the second-largest gas producer in Africa, blessed with good soil and located across the Equator hence receiving adequate sunlight, yet, with all these resources Nigeria still has an energy crisis.
“It is projected that by 2050 Nigeria’s population is going to be the third after China and India, with this focus there is urgent need to think out of the box and provide a sustainable solution to the country’s energy crisis”, these crises still exist despite that Nigerians are religious, he went further to ask rhetorically: “Nigeria, we are very good in formulating policies but very bad in Implementing policies, why? Nigeria we all know our problems but whenever one of us finds himself in a position of power he becomes the problem, why?” He then quoted the number 7 of the sustainable development goals which stated that “there must be clean and affordable energy”, he reminded Nigerians of the “vision 2020”, and that two months away from the year 2020, Nigeria is still far from being a developed Nation.
He showcased a lot of locally made technologies, such as the Modular refinery in Zaria, a catalytic cracking unit of the refinery and a biogas plant developed by the staffs of PTI under the supervision of Ahmadu Bello University, he commended local researchers and urged them to work together with each other so as to achieve results which will help the nation at large, in his speech he reminded PTI that they have standard welding workshops and hence should not contract out the project of the modular refinery which they plan to do, but instead should think of fabricating it themselves.
conclusively he encouraged all Nigerians to shun corruption and if they do so there will be growth in all sections of the economy, he also expressed optimism in the brightness of the Nigeria future.
After his speech, awards were presented to deserving final year students of PTI, after which all in attendance was encouraged to walk down to the Shell hall were technical paper presentation bordering on all sub-topics of the general theme was presented by various students, professors and academia from several institutions in Nigeria.