According to OPEC data, Nigeria currently has the second biggest oil reserves on the African continent with 36.97 billion barrels of crude oil which is about 2.2 percent of the global total. That number is low due to a fall in rig count from 46 to 29, and the failure of passage of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill which will help unlock more investment aimed at increasing reserves. Nigeria’s gas reserves are spread over 5,300 km3 at 188 trillion cubic feet which is three times more than her crude oil reserves.
There are several basins within the country which have oil and gas reserves. They include Niger Delta Basin, Anambra Basin, Dahomey Basin, Sokoto Basin, Chad Basin, Bida Basin, Gongola Basin and the Benue Trough.
The Niger Delta basin has a subaerial area of 75,000 square kilometres, a total area of 300,000 square kilometres and a sediment fill of 500,000km3 with a dept of between 9-12km. It produces about 2million barrels per day, the majority of Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves at 34.5 billion barrels of oil and 94 trillion cubic feet of gas.
The Anambra Basin is a hydrocarbon rich inland sedimentary basin which covers about 3,000 square kilometres and has a sedimentary thickness of about 9km with estimated gas reserves of 10 trillion cubic feet and 1 billion or more barrels of crude oil. At Ugwuoba and Igboariam gas fields successful exploration of gas was conducted with positive results.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has spent billions of naira in search of fresh reserves of crude oil in the inland basins such as Chad Basin but no commercial success. Its recent Kolmani River II Well in the Gongola Basin whose spud in was flagged of by President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to meet its dept target of 14,200 ft sixty days after. These costs could have been less if state of the art technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality are deployed.
By deploying sensors and smart robots to optimize reservoir yields, Artificial Intelligence will help in identifying changes in geological formations in the basins with deep learning and computer vision, as well as predict the possibilities of them having reserves of crude oil or gas in order for operators to make fresh discoveries. It will enable reservoir modelling, well design optimization, downhole monitoring, artificial lift optimization and predictive maintenance while Augmented Reality will showcase real time field operations in a digitized 3D format from the Remote Operations Centres to the confines of their smart mobile devices so that they understand the scenarios and take action based on the insights they have.
These two technologies and the deployment of the Blockchain by the NNPC and its joint venture partners will help in operations optimization, to achieve efficiency in meeting the 40 billion barrels reserves, as well as increasing daily crude oil production to 3 million barrels per day target by 2025. Also, it will ensure transparency since all the activities from field production to point of sale or product exports will be tracked and the data stored on a secured distributed ledger which will be accessible by only the players in the upstream value chain.