As Nigeria ramps up refining capacity, stakeholders in the downstream sector have advocated the need for operators to embrace automation in order to promote transparency, eliminate fraud and tackle corruption.
According to them, Nigeria has the potential to become a regional trading and pricing hub but greater transparency is essential.
The call became expedient as a result of challenges with data availability and accessibility on critical operations of the downstream sector.
To this end, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Clement Isong, has called on operators to automate their services data generation, and prove product delivery storage utilization and profitability.
Isong stated this at a virtual workshop for journalists in commemoration of the World International Data Day in Lagos at the weekend.
The MOMAN boss who spoke on the importance of data and automation in the downstream business added that automation will ensure transparency and boost excellent customer service, eliminate fraud and corruption, and clean up the reputation of the industry.
He urged the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to invest in infrastructure for data gathering.
“Our position in MOMAN is that we are looking for the automation of the entire supply chain. It will mean everybody needs to invest in order to optimise their businesses.
“Eventually, the beneficiary is the customer. It is good for corporate governance. It removes people’s ability to steal. And the authority (NMDPRA) itself has got to invest in infrastructure for data gathering and has got to do a preliminary analysis of that data which must be hoisted on its website which investors, marketers operators, and everybody can access.
“On that basis, optimise the business and make investment decisions. It is fundamental for a deregulated system. It improves the quality of decision-making as well as transparency and eliminates bad behaviour as well as fraud and theft.” You have to shine your light, and darkness and bad practices will disappear.”
According to him, automation guarantees track inventory levels, monitoring logistic routes, and analyzing customer demand (daily demand forecasts) in order to prevent stockout.
“By collecting and analyzing data on production, refining, distribution, and sales, companies can identify inefficiencies, reduce costs, eliminate leakages, and improve overall performance”
Vice President, Crude and African Markets, Argus Media, James Gooder, also reiterated the need for transparency in downstream operations, noting that price is the mechanism by which marginal supply meets demand in a free market.
He warned that tampering with the price affects the dynamics of the market.
Lead Political analyst, Ikponmwosa Aikhionbare said: “Ghana launched the Bulk Road Vehicle Tracking System (BRVTS) to track the movement of petroleum products from depots to retail outlets in Ghana. The system uses GPS technology to monitor the location, speed, and fuel consumption of trucks transporting petroleum products.