The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, says the oil and gas sector accounts for about 10 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
Mr Sylva added that crude oil exports represented about 86 per cent of total export earnings, while the actual government revenue from the sector is 40 per cent.
The minister stated this while delivering the Graduation Lecture of the National Defense College Course 29, titled, “Enhancing Digital Technology in the Oil and Gas Sector of Nigeria for National Development” on Monday in Abuja.
He said Nigeria, with more than 200 million inhabitants, remained the most populous country within the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
According to him, the country has proven crude oil reserves of 37 billion barrels; production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day; and actual crude oil production of about 1. 5 million barrels daily.
“It is the largest crude oil producer in Africa and holds the largest natural gas reserves on the continent.
“The country has proven natural gas reserves of 206.53 trillion cubic feet; and average production of about 7, 575 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD),” the ministersaid.
Mr Sylva said oil and gas occupied a central place in Nigeria’s development equation, being a big producer and marketer of the products.
He said Nigeria, like other oil producing countries, must continually device imaginative and sustainable ways of deriving the greatest value from its oil and gas resources, given the declining global appetite for fossil fuels, and price volatility.
According to him, dealing with this reality is one of the greatest challenges currently faced by oil producing countries.
He said the downturn in the world oil and gas industry experienced between 2014 and 2016 used to be widely characterised as terrible for the sector, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic was even more terrible.
According to him, under COVID-19, expatriates left for their home countries, and production plummeted.
The minister said: “This has accentuated the need for digitalisation, as oil producing countries seek more efficient production techniques.
“In this connection, technology has come to the rescue. It is helping countries and companies to crack the issues of efficiency through multi-functional tools.
“Such tools are; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation; Big Data and Data Analytics; Internet of Things and Electronic Monitoring; and 3D Virtual Modeling and Drone Technology,” he said.
The lecture is part of activities to mark the graduation of NDC Course 29 participants who were drawn from the armed forces of Nigeria, the Nigeria Police, as well as armed forces of allied countries.