Executive Secretary, of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Dr Bello Gusau; Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Kayode Adebowale and Chief Executive Officer, Jola Global Industry Ltd. and Dr Moses Omojola have called for collaboration among the governments, academia and industry for revolution in the Nigeria’s industrialisation through research and development of commercialisation of raw materials and local production. They made the call at the Knowledge Sharing Workshop, organised by the University of Ibadan, in collaboration with PTDF. The theme was: “Nigerian Petroleum Industry and Energy Transition: Opportunities for Research, Innovation and Development.”
Gusau, represented by Mr Olayinka Agboola of Strategic Planning and Documentation (SP&D) Department, PTDF, said that the fund, as agent of government for building capacity in the oil and gas industry, used avenues like human capacity building, institutional support and funding research and development. He said the organisation has eight endowment funding in various institutions in Nigeria, adding that in UI, PTDF has endowed chairs funded to conduct research in topical areas in Oil and Gas Industry. According to him, the event is one of the outcomes of all the researches that the chair of the fund had conducted over the years. We tried to expand the frontiers of knowledge based on the outcome of research and developmental efforts, which we have funded. “You don’t do research in isolation; you have to work with stakeholders because at the end of the day researches are supposed to translate into products in the market. So, you need to have an industry, the institution and the government and the triple elites need to be applied to ensure that the researches are effective and you will be able to generate value.
“We don’t want to be funding theoretical researches that would just end up on the shelf in the laboratories in the institutions. We have to make sure that researches are adopted and applied in the industry, you have to collaborate with all the relevant stakeholders. Adebowale, in his remarks as Chairman of the occasion, said that knowledge sharing had been the direction of building the triple-elite model, desirable in the university, which would strengthen the link between academia and the industry. He lamented that there were so many researches lacking impact, saying that they were just research for theoretical purposes or advancement in the career ladder. Adebowale underscored researches that focussed on solving challenges in the industry and sourcing local raw materials that would replace the expensive ones being imported. “This would solve so many of our problems and halt wasting of our meagre foreign exchange.
“The Oil and Gas Industry needs considerable research and we know that if town and gown do not collaborate, it will be difficult for us to solve specific challenges,” he said. According to him, this is to prevent all our research and development centres from just relocating outside the country. “Because, only when we have an effective handshake between the academia and industry, that we can develop our research and development to compete favourably and then industries would not relocate their research and development centres outside the country,” Adebowale said. One of the lead presenters, Omojola, identified industrialisation as the way out from the present economic challenges facing the country. He urged the Federal Government to encourage industrialisation by addressing the nation’s energy challenge. “So much money is spent on energy and if it is not addressed, there is no way our products can compete with the imported goods. We can produce so many SMEs, but they cannot survive without energy,” Omojola said.
Also, a Professor of Petroleum Engineering in UI, Sunday Isehunwa, said Nigeria could address its carbon targets, if it could look inward through research, innovation and development. Isehunwa, also one of the speakers at the event, said that energy demand would keep rising, saying this was because “energy is linked to development”. Earlier, Prof Olugbenga Falode, Head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering in UI, said there were various challenges bedeviling the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry based on environmental issues and the rising cost of operations. Falode said that optimising the “golden egg” was critical for the industry to survive. “So, there are big chances for oil and gas in navigating the energy transition as it responds to the challenges it is currently confronted with, it must address the issue of human capital development,” he said. Falode however, highlighted the roles of PTDF in developing indigenous manpower and technology transfer in the petroleum industry as well as to make the country “a no-man-resource-centre for the West African sub-region”.