PAU urges African oil producing countries to make petroleum data more valuable

Mr Ernest Rubondo, Executive Director Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU). (Image: PAU)

The Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has challenged African oil producing countries to chat a way forward on how they can make petroleum data more valuable and accessible to those who wish to use it.

Officially opening the 7th African Petroleum Data Management Forum (APDMF) conference in Kampala, Mr Ernest Rubondo noted that there was need to make petroleum data accessible to researchers especially from universities in Africa to enable them undertake more studies that can make data more valuable to the countries that own it.

“The increase in data volumes comes with the challenges of efficiently managing the data and efficiently using the data to make decisions hence the important need to leverage on the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing and Big Data Analytics among others. However, leveraging 4IR technologies comes with huge investments in both the technologies and the huma resources,” Mr Rubondo said.

As Uganda is now into the development phase of the oil and gas value chain that includes setting up of development, production, processing and transportation facilities, Mr Rubondo said vast quantities of data are therefore expected from the drilling of more than 450 development wells.

These wells are in the Kingfisher and Tilenga development projects in Kikuube and Buliisa and Nwoya districts in Bunyoro and Acholi sub regions respectively.

The data is expected to be transmitted in real-time from the oil fields and infrastructure projects to the Planned Real Time Monitoring Centre (RTMC) at the PAU’s offices in Entebbe.

Mr Rubondo disclosed that as the custodian of Uganda’s petroleum and other related data, the Authority manages more than 50 terabytes of data with a significant portion of it acquired during the oil and gas exploration phase.

“The electronic data volumes are expected to increase from the current about 50 terabytes to 650 terabytes at the start of oil production in 2025, rising to over 1 petabyte in 2026.” He disclosed.

Members of the African Petroleum Data Management Forum Conference at the opening ceremony. (Image: PAU)

The ED stressed that the oil industry is heavily reliant on the use of data to inform decision making.

A data management specialist from the Petroleum Commission of Ghana, Mr Daniel Arthur, noted that Uganda’s proper petroleum data management and storage has enabled it to progress to the development and production phase.

“Uganda has done extremely well. We have collaborated with them closely and you can see that they easily correlate the old data acquired with the new data. We share everyday experiences, resources and challenges of data management.”

Eight countries including Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Ghana, Norway and the host Uganda with a corporation agreement for support on data management and storage with the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) are participating in this 7th conference under the theme: “Seven years of cooperation in Petroleum Data Management: Looking to the future.”

Mr Sjøgren Gunnar, the Project Director, NPD, said the conference is aimed to assist the countries the NPD cooperates with to leverage on how best they can use their petroleum data.

“Our philosophy is building capacity and competence for all countries willing to collaborate with us. And this we have done with Uganda and the other countries willing to learn from our experiences on how best to manage their oil resources,” Mr Gunnar said.

He said when they started collaborating with Uganda, all data was stores in analogue format but the country was supported to establish a digital database.

The APDMF is an annual conference organised by NPD in conjunction with the Petroleum Regulatory body of the host country.

The conference began on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 running for three days ending yesterday (Thursday) December 1, 2022.

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