The Federal Government has renewed the fight against smuggling of petroleum products out of the country with a new technology commissioned by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Designated the Downstream Remote Monitoring System (DRMS), the initiative is aimed at checking illegal activities in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, determine illegal petrol stations actors and provide accurate data on the industry.
The Guardian recalled that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said the nation’s economy had been losing N2b daily to fuel smuggling after the Federal Government closed land borders and fuel stations around border communities.
Director-General of DPR, Auwalu Sarki, said the move represents a digital transformation that would drive transparency, accountability, domestic energy security and availability of products in the country.x
“This would be achieved by providing access to retail outlet information, enhancing industry service permit, providing access to Coastal Vessel License data and data on depot operations, refineries and blending plants,” he said.
He stressed that the initiative would directly reduce smuggling in the country, insisting that the days of illegal operators in the sector were over.
He said the DRMS would reduce smuggling and provide credible information on how the products are being taken out of the borders, adding that the country would also be able to determine its consumption level and actual products required in the country.
“You can take inventories per station, location and state, where products are coming into the country, where they are stored, how they are distributed to filling stations. When we see that the population is not in tandem with the volume being consumed, we know something sinister is happening.
“DRMS is an inventory management solution for petroleum products supply and distribution designed to provide a holistic view of the downstream value chain in real-time. It guarantees availability and reliability of real-time data for decision making and planning purposes,” Sarki said.
He explained that for the downstream operators, DRMS would provide required information to drive value from existing businesses, investments to fund expansion and growth opportunities for new ventures.
“It will also enable business owners to monitor operations of their facilities from their offices,” he added.
Sarki pointed out that as a business enabler and opportunity provider, the DPR would continue to introduce strategic initiatives to guarantee growth and profitability in the downstream sector the oil and gas industry.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Downstream, Sabo Muhammad, said the country could not continue to operate an analog system, insisting that there was the need to join other countries to automate processes and provide reliable data.
He noted that there was no going back on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) at the National Assembly.
Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Clement Isong, noted that the group was in support of initiatives aimed at improving the sector.