SNEPCO MD Says Investing in R&D, Upskilling Nigerian Youths Will Build Resilence in Oil, Gas, Renewable Energies

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By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme

The Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), Mrs. Elohor Aiboni has said that investing in research and development (R&D) as well as upskilling Nigerian youths will build resilence in the country’s oil and gas, renewable energy industry.

Elohor made this known while speaking in a panel session at the Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition (NOG Energy Week) that took place from July 4-7, 2022 in Abuja.

In her words, Elohor expressed serious concern about the need to accelerate more investment in the Nigerian education system to empower the younger generations that will come up with innovative ideas in driving the country’s energy industry forward.

According to a report, Nigeria has the largest population of youth in the world, with a median age of 18.1 years. About 70% of the population are under 30, and 42% are under the age of 15. The size and youthfulness of the population offer great potential to expand Nigeria’s capacity as the regional economic hub of Africa and globally.

“As a country, we have a relatively young population. What are we doing to invest in the young ones today? Our generation here is pushing for the energy transition. But for us to be able to develop and make renewable energy flourish in Nigeria, we must be ready to invest in them,” Elohor recommended.

“We need to develop our education system in a way that will help the young people think outside the box to help us. We need to start investing in the young ones now.

Recently, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), inaugurated a state-of-the-art Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, in Delta State. The 100-seater one-story building was built and equipped by the NNPC and SNEPCo partnership to promote research, teaching, and learning in a conducive environment.

“Research and development plays a key role in our energy industry. We need to ask ourselves this question, how are we investing in R&D as a company and nation? When you talk about upskilling the Nigerian youths, we need to invest in that direction so we can deploy the technology that will enable us to build resilience in our oil, gas, and renewable energy sector,” Elohor added.

The NNPC-SNEPCo partnership with the support of the co-venture partners has delivered 33 ICT centers in secondary schools and universities across the country while two science blocks and laboratories have also been built and equipped to promote learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics among secondary school students.

Oil and Gas
Nigeria remains an important part of Shell’s business operations. For its oil and gas business, Shell Companies in Nigeria are in collaboration with two Nigerian Universities researching the production of synthetic base fluids for drilling operations from local raw materials, thereby substituting imported fluids and stimulating industrial production for the Nigerian oil and gas industry with cross-sectoral linkages.

Shell have Centres of Excellence for postgraduate studies at the University of Benin, for Geoscience and Petroleum Engineering, and at the Rivers State University, for Marine and Offshore Engineering. There are also Shell-endowed professorial chairs at the University of Port Harcourt (Petroleum Engineering); the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Environmental Management and Control); the Obafemi Awolowo University (Geophysics); and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Mechanical Engineering).

Renewable Energy
Building on the success of its operations in Nigeria, the company established Shell Energy Nigeria to deliver competitive and reliable energy for power generation and industrial users and to develop gas distribution to serve people in new regions.

Shell Energy Nigeria is designed to partner with other sources of energy – including renewables – to provide competitively priced and flexible energy, while helping the country to transition to a lower carbon energy system.