Inadequate Geospatial Information Limiting Oil Sector Growth

The lack of adequate geospatial information is impacting negatively on Nigeria’s oil sector and the economy generally, the Geoinformation Society of Nigeria has said.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ conference organised in Abuja by GEOSON, the society’s President, Mr Matthew Adepoju, said the absence of a robust geoinformation policy and national geospatial data infrastructure had made it tough to adequately identify oil and gas, as well as solid minerals deposits in Nigeria.

He said, “The theme of this conference is ‘Geospatial technologies for national development’. It is evident that developed nations have robust geospatial policies, but the same cannot be said of Nigeria.

“A lot of effort has been made in the area of passing and having the National Geo-Information Policy, and we are appealing to the Federal Government to expedite action and approach the National Assembly to pass this document and make it an Act.”

Adepoju added that this would enable all the geospatial data producers, users and the research community to share critical geospatial data for national development.

He said, “For instance, in the oil sector, geospatial information can be used to know the quantity of oil in the reserves. This has been an issue over the years. It can be used in the transportation of crude, where we use it to monitor the movements of vessels. This, of course, will help curb illegal sales of crude. In the area of oil spillage, geo-information systems are used in mapping the oil spill areas, especially if the location is to be cleaned up.

“It helps to know whether the clean-up of such an area is responding to the technique and strategies adopted in the intervention programme.”

Adepoju said the government should consider the benefits of having a National Geo-Information Policy, adding that the lack of such policy was limiting development in many sectors.

He said, “Like I earlier stated, for us to know the quantity or volume of oil in our reserves, geospatial technology is vital. It is, therefore, obvious that the lack of adequate geospatial information will limit development in the oil sector, as can be seen nowadays.

“To determine the country’s solid minerals and oil and gas reserves or deposits, we use geospatial technology. This is why we are calling on the government and the National Assembly to see reasons why it is important for us as a country to have the National Geo-Information Policy.”

He noted that the draft bill was ready and that the society was in the process of submitting it to the National Assembly for consideration.

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