Petroleum industry must adjust to new COVID-19 normal __SPE

Sopuruchi Onwuka

Nigerian Council of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has charged the petroleum industry to quickly align with the global movement for cleaner, affordable and accessible energy following rising environmental sentiments sparked by the prevailing novel coronavirus disease also called COVID-19.

Chairman, Mr. Olatunji Akinwunmi, declared at the opening ceremony of the council’s Nigerian Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) that innovations in the Nigerian petroleum industry must focus on ways of reducing carbon footprints, cutting cost and meeting demands.

Chairman, Nigerian Council of SPE, Mr Olatunji Akinwumi

“In addition, novel technologies as well as digital transformation initiatives should help in the direction of reducing both emissions and cost, which would render our products more accessible, more competitive, and more acceptable,” he clarified.

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He called on the players in the industry to adapt the technological solutions that have helped to facilitate the exploration, development and production of petroleum in evolving future energy mix.

According to him, the three global demands for new energy form basis for future demand for oil and gas. He added that the energy landscape is evolving very rapidly, with increasing share of non-petroleum energy sources and new frontiers of energy, especially in the more advanced economies.

He warned delegates to the conference on the concerted drive to reduce the carbon intensity of energy production, pointing out that governments and companies have already announced net-zero emission ambitions by 2050.

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He made it clear that global environmental sentiments have pushed policies across the globe towards greater renewable options in the future energy mix, end of sales of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles, and overall electrification of the economy.

He added that the gloomy demand forecast for petroleum energy is worsened by downtimes inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy. He pointed at the “number of mutations of the Covid-19 virus and the sinusoidal nature of the different outbreaks over the past 20 months” as indication that the threat of the disease on global economy and energy demand would be long term.

He made it clear that the drive to eradicate the virus would be on the front burner for the foreseeable future and that the energy landscape would certainly have some irreversible effects leading to a new normal.

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In laying agenda for the petroleum industry, SPE stated that “it is clearly in the best interest of the oil and gas industry to be in phase with the rest of the world – significant reduction of the carbon intensity of our operations can be achieved by making our operations more efficient, reducing waste and disenabling fugitive emissions, with more focus on transition to gas exploration and development to replace coal in electricity generation, by improving technologies for capture and subsurface storage of carbon dioxide.”

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