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‘Downstream oil and gas players need data to survive’

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Oil and gas businesses operating in the downstream retail segment of the industry risk demise if the needed attention is not paid to market data management, according to Energy360 Africa Limited.

The company stressed that proper market data management will not only help to boost the returns and growth of downstream players, but will also check possible leakages or losses that can occur in the system.

The Chief Executive Officer, e360 Africa, Abayomi Elebute, said this while making a presentation to some players in the downstream space.

“From low margins to stiff competition, dwindling customer loyalty, and operational losses, station owners can best accurately describe themselves as being between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Who will part the sea, or better still, kill the devil?” Elebute said.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigerians reportedly consumed about 18.36 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, 4.75 billion litres of diesel, and 944.39 million litres of kerosene in 2017.

He said: “If you did the maths, that’s about N3.9trillion in revenue for fuel stations at current market rate.

Immediately, this seems like a good business to do; but, when you stop to consider running costs and the fact that their margin is a paltry single digit figure on each litre sold; it doesn’t look so juicy anymore.

“Then, there are issues with revenue assurance; of course, attendants aren’t always out to get you, sometimes they are also working for themselves, not the stations.”

Elebute added: “Besides that, there are occasional operational issues: stock-outs, unspotted rising water levels, scarcities, and tightening regulatory grip; it almost feels like trying to breathe when you’re being choked.

Stations continue to struggle for survival under these conditions, all attempts to solve the issues remain futile.”

In the second ecosystem event tagged ‘Fuel Meets Tech’ e360 Africa unveiled its first station analytics platform in this part of the world.

“The sound of analytics should be heart-warming because at the root of it is data!

It means that with Energy 360 suite of solutions, station owners can remotely monitor stock levels in all their stations, remotely change/update product prices, monitor product integrity in their tanks and track sales,” he explained.

Performing a demo, Elebute demonstrated how station managers can go as far as tracking site visits and the effect of price change on sales in real time.

For station managers, he said it affords them a one source of truth to make more informed business decisions – from as little as deciding the best time of day/week for preventive maintenance checks, to as critical a decision as price fixing.

The company’s sole mission, the e360 Africa boss said, was to make the power of data analytics available to station owners and managers.

He said: “Now, there is no need to wait till end of day or end of week/month for report compilations and insights gleaning; the reports come as they happen, real time!

“No doubt, the Nigerian oil and gas sector will not change overnight to become more favorable to players, but those who adapt will earn good returns, and Energy 360 has positioned to enable forward thinking retail business owners navigate the curve.

Already, the firm has foot print in 60 stations across the country.

“In this environment where data is scarce, the day might just come when a fuel station attendant greets me by name because they have done a good job using the data I bring to them every time I drive in.”


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