You are on page 1of 16

THE PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY

1|Page
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY 5
I. PETROCHEMICALS
II. HISTORY OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY
III. HISTORY OF PETROCHEMICAL IN NIGERIA
IV. MAJOR PETROCHEMICAL COMPANIES IN NIGERIA
A. WARRI REFINING AND PETROCHEMICAL COMPANY LTD OF NIGERIA

B. KADUNA REFINING AND PETROCHEMICAL COMPANY

C. PORT HARCOURT REFINIING COMPANY LIMITED (PHRC)

2. PETROCHEMICAL FEEDSTOCKS 7
I. RAW MATERIALS FOR PRODUCTION
A. PRIMARY RAW MATERIALS
B. SECONDARY RAW MATERIALS
C. NON-HYDROCARBON INTERMEDIATES
II. BASIC CONSTITUENTS OF NATURAL GAS AND OIL
III. CONVERSION PROCESSES
A. THERMAL CONVERSION
B. CATALYTIC CONVERSION
3. THE PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY 11
I. DEVELOPMENT OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA
II. TYPICAL PETROCHEMICAL PRODUCTION PROCESSES
III. PRODUCTS OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY
A. BENZENE & DERIVATIVES
B. XYLENE & DERIVATIVES
C. C4 HYDROCARBONS
D. MIXED XYLENES
E. TOLUENE
F. BENZENE
4. INDUSTRIAL EFFLUENTS FROM PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY 13
I. AIR POLLUTION
II. WATER POLLUTION
III. SOLID WASTE
IV. NOISE POLLUTION
5. ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTY IN NIGERIA 14
I. EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
II. CONTRIBUTION TO GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP)
III. GOVERNMENT REVENUE
IV. HOUSEHOLD REVENUE/INCOME
6. CHALLENGES FACING PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA 15
I. MAINTENANCE CHALLENGES
II. NON-DOMESTICATION OF THE TECHNOLOGICAL EQUIPMENT USED
FOR PLANT DESIGN

2|Page
III. INADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTUAL FACILITIES
7. CONCLUSION 16
8. REFERENCES 17

3|Page
1. PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY
PETROCHEMICALS

Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds
made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels; such as coal or natural gas,
or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane [1]

The two most common classes of petrochemicals are the olefins (including ethylene and
propylene) and aromatics (including benzene, toluene and xylene isomers) [1]

Oil refiners produce olefins and aromatics by FCC of petroleum fractions. Chemical plants
produce olefins by steam cracking of natural gas liquids like ethane and propane.
Aromatics are produced by catalytic reforming of naphtha [1]

Olefins and aromatics are the building blocks for a wide range of materials such as solvents,
detergents and adhesives. Olefins are the basis for polymers and oligomers used inplastics,
resins,fibers, elastomers, lubricants, and gels. [2]

I. HISTORY OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY

More than 4,000 years ago, according to Herodotus and confirmed by Diodorus Siculus,
asphalt was employed in the construction of the walls and Towers of Babylon. [3]

In 1858, an oil was drilled by James Miller Williams in Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada; and this
made the area developed into a large petrochemical refining centre and exchange. [4]

The business of refining oil was largely the domain of John D. Rockefeller. The New York
born industrialist financed his first refinery in 1862, alongside his brother William, they
bought out competitors and created ‘’Standard Oil Company’’ and they controlled 90% of
the oil refineries in the U.S.

Drilling of oil quickly spread beyond U.S. into Russia, Italy, Poland, Peru, Venezuela,
Mexico, Argentina and Iran (1908), Iraq (1927), and Saudi Arabia (1938).[5]

Kerosene, a fuel for heating and cooking was the main primary product of the
petrochemical industry in the 1800’s. Rockefeller and other refinery owners considered
gasoline a useless by-product of the distillation process. But all that changed around the
1900’s when electric lights began to replace kerosene lamps, and automobiles came on the
scene. New After the war, an increasing number of farmers began to operate tractors and
other equipment powered by oil. The growing demand for petrochemicals and the
availability of petroleum and natural gas caused the industry to quickly expand in the
1920’s and 1930’s. In 1925, annual crude oil production surpassed a billion barrels. [5][6]

4|Page
II. HISTORY OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA

The petroleum industry in Nigeria, Africa is the largest industry and main generator of
GDP in the continent’s most populous nation. [7]

Oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956 at Olobiri in Niger Delta after a century of exploration
The discovery was made by Shell-BP, at the time sole concessionaire. Nigeria joined the
ranks of oil producers in 1958 when it’s oil field came on steam producing 5,100 bpd. After
1960, exploration rights in onshore and offshore areas adjoining the Niger Delta was
extended to other foreign companies. In 1965, the EA field was discovered by Shell in
shallow waters Southwest of Warri. Nigeria joined the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1971 and established the Nigeria National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC) in 1977.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, Nigeria attained production level over 1 Million barrels of
Crude Oil a day. 2004 saw a total rejuvenation of oil production to a record level of over 2
million barrels per day. Current development strategies are aimed at increasing production
to 4 million barrels per day by the year 2015. [8]

III. MAJOR PETROCHEMICAL COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

A. WARRI REFINING & PETROCHEMICAL COMPANY LIMITED [WRPC]
WRPC was incorporated as a limited liability company on the 3rd of November 1988
after the merger of the then Warri Refinery and the Ekpan Petrochemical Plants. The
Warri Refinery, the first Nigerian government wholly owned refinery was commissioned in
1978. It was built to process 100,000 barrels crude oil per day but was later de-
bottlenecked to process 125,000 barrels per day in 1987.
It was essentially built to add value to some of the refiner by-products such as
propylene rich stock and decant oil.
Some of the Utility generating facilities within WRPC include:
-Water Treatment Plants.
-Two Nitrogen Plants.
-Compressed Air Systems.
-Refinery and Petrochemical Effluent Water Treatment Plants [9]

B. KADUNA REFINING AND PETROCHEMICAL COMPANY (KRPC)

By early 1975, in view of the fuel shortages experienced then, the Federal Government
decided that work on the third refinery (KRPC) should be advanced. It was envisaged that
the refinery was to be a simple Hydro-Skimming type refinery in order to meet up with
fuel demand then. The refinery was designed for 60,000 BPSD before the Federal
Government decided much later that the capacity for any refinery in Nigeria should not be
below 100,000 BPSD. Hence, it was modified. Products from KRPC include: Fuel for use as
LPG, PMS, AGO or Diesel oil, Kerosene, Fuel oil, Sulphur, and those from the lubricating oils
complex are Base oils, Asphalt (Bitumen) and Waxes. [10]

5|Page
C. PORT HARCOURT REFINIING COMPANY LIMITED (PHRC)

PHRC limited is made up of two refineries; the old refinery commissioned in 1965 with
current nameplate capacity of 60,000 barrels per stream day (BPSD) and the new
refinery commission in 1989 with an installed capacity of 150,000bpsd. This brings the
combined crude processing capacity of the PH refinery to 210,000 bpsd. It has 5 process
areas; Areas’ 1-5. The New Refinery is made up of Areas 1-4 while the old refinery is Area 5.

 Area 1 is made up of the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) where kerosene and
Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) are produced as finished products.
 Area 2 is made up of Naphtha Hydrotreating Unit (NHU) where naphtha is
hydro-desulphurized; the catalytic reforming Unit (CRU), responsible for
upgrading naphtha to reformate which has a higher octane value for PMS
blend.
 Area 3 is made up of a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) where Vacuum
Gas Oil (VGO) and heavy diesel oil (HDO) are cracked to obtain more
valuable products like FCC gasoline used as PMS blend and light cycle as
blend component for LPFO and LPG.
 Area 4 has three process units namely Dimersol, Butamer Isomerization and
Alkylation Units. The Units are designed to produce high octane gasoline
blend components.
 Area 5 which is the old refinery is made up of the Crude Distillation Unit
(CDU); the platform unit (CRU), the LPG unit as well as utilities section. [11]

2. PETROCHEMICAL FEEDSTOCKS
I. RAW MATERIALS FOR PRODUCTION
The feedstock used for petrochemical processes are derived largely from natural gas
and crude oils. These form the basis for many of the petrochemical processes employed in
industry. They are divided into two main categories:

1. Primary raw materials
2. Secondary raw materials
3. Non-Hydrocarbon Intermediates

A. PRIMARY RAW MATERIALS
Primary raw materials are naturally occurring substances that have not been
subjected to chemical changes after being recovered. Natural gas and crude oils are
the basic raw materials for the manufacture of petrochemicals.[12]
B. SECONDARY RAW MATERIALS
Secondary raw materials, or intermediates, are obtained from natural gas and
crude oils through different processing schemes. The intermediates may be light
hydrocarbon compounds such as methane and ethane, or heavier hydrocarbon

6|Page
mixtures such as naphtha or gas oil. Both naphtha and gas oil are crude oil fractions
with different boiling ranges.

Natural gas and crude oils are the main sources for secondary raw materials for the
production of petrochemicals. From natural gas, ethane and LPG are recovered for use as
intermediates in the production of olefins and diolefins. Important chemicals such as
methanol and ammonia are also based on methane via synthesis gas. On the other hand,
refinery gases from different crude oil processing schemes are important sources for olefins
and LPG. Crude oil distillates and residues are precursors for olefins and aromatics via
cracking and reforming processes. [12]

C. NON-HYDROCARBON INTERMEDIATES
From natural gas, crude oils, and other fossil materials such as coal, few
intermediates are produced that are not hydrocarbon compounds. These include
hydrogen, sulfur, carbon black, and synthesis gas. Synthesis gas consists of a
nonhydrocarbon mixture (H2, CO) obtainable from more than one source [12]

CRUDE OIL
Crude oil is a naturally occurring substance with a dark hue. Crude oils are
principally found in oil reservoirs associated with sedimentary rocks beneath the earth’s
surface.
Crude oils are derived from marine animal and plant debris subjected to high
temperatures and pressures[12]
Normally, crude oils are not used directly as fuels or as feedstocks for the production
of chemicals. This is due to the complex nature of the crude oil mixture and the presence of
some impurities that are corrosive or poisonous to processing catalysts. Crude oils are
refined to separate the mixture into simpler fractions that can be used as fuels, lubricants,
or as intermediate feedstock to the petrochemical industries [12]
Crude oil is mainly composed of aromatic compounds and cycloparrafins.

NATURAL GAS
Natural gas is a naturally occurring mixture of light hydrocarbons accompanied by
some non-hydrocarbon compounds. Non-associated natural gas is found in reservoirs
containing no oil (dry wells). Associated gas, on the other hand, is present in contact with or
dissolved incrude oil and is coproduced with it. The principal component of most natural
gases is methane. Higher molecular weight paraffinic hydrocarbons are usually present in
smaller amounts with the natural gas mixture, and their ratios vary considerably from one
gas field to another. Non-associated gas normally contains a higher methane ratio than
associated gas, while the latter contains a higher ratio of heavier hydrocarbons .[12]

Raw natural gas contain variable amounts of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and
water vapour and must be removed from the due to its harmful effects on processing
equipment and its poisonous quality. Several processes are available to remove these gases
such as the physical absorption using a selective absorption solvent and the chemical
absorption where a solvent capable of reacting reversibly with the acid gases. [12]

7|Page
II. BASIC CONSTITUENTS OF NATURAL GAS AND CRUDE OIL

Crude oil and natural gas is comprised of a number of hydrocarbons which are
utilized in the manufacture of various petrochemical compounds. These include:

1. PARAFFINIC HYDROCARBONS
These are light weight hydrocarbons with structures containing 1-4 carbon atoms.
They are as follows:
METHANE - This is a primary constituent of natural gas. It can be partially oxidized with a
limited amount of oxygen to a carbon monoxide-hydrogen mixture at high temperatures
in presence of a catalyst. The resulting mixture (synthesis gas) is an important building
block for many petrochemicals.
ETHANE - As a constituent of natural gas, ethane is normally burned with methane as a
fuel gas. Ethane's relation with petrochemicals is mainly through its cracking to ethylene.
PROPANE -Propane is an important feedstock for the production of olefins.
BUTANE- Butane is primarily used as a fuel gas within the LPG mixture. Like
ethane and propane, the main chemical use of butane is as feedstock for steam cracking
units for olefin production. [12]

2. OLEFINIC HYDROCARBONS
The most important olefins used for the production of petrochemicals are ethylene,
propylene, the butylenes, and isoprene. These olefins are usually coproduced with ethylene
by steam cracking ethane, LPG, liquid petroleum fractions, and residues. Olefins are
characterized by their higher reactivities compared to paraffinic hydrocarbons. They can
easily react with inexpensive reagents such as water, oxygen, hydrochloric acid, and
chlorine to form valuable chemicals. Olefins can even add to themselves to produce
important polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene. Ethylene is the most
important olefin for producing petrochemicals, and therefore, many sources have been
sought for its production. [12]

3. AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS
Benzene, toluene, xylenes (BTX), and ethylbenzene are the aromatic hydrocarbons
with a widespread use as petrochemicals. They are important precursors for many
commercial chemicals and polymers such as phenol, trinitrotoluene (TNT), nylons, and
plastics. [12]
NON-HYDROCARBON INTERMEDIATES
There are several chemicals employed in the production of petrochemicals but are not
hydrocarbons themselves. Some of these chemicals include the following:
1. HYDROGEN
Hydrogen is the lightest known element. Although only found in the free
state in trace amounts, it is the most abundant element in the universe and is
present in a combined form with other elements. It is employed primarily in
hydrotreating processes, where it is used to remove impurities.
2. SULPHUR
It is also a constituent of natural gas and refinery gas streams in the form of
hydrogen sulfide. Different processes have been developed for obtaining sulphur
and sulfuric acid from these three sources[12]
3. CARBON BLACK
Carbon black is an extremely fine powder of great commercial importance,
especially for the synthetic rubber industry. The addition of carbon black to tires

8|Page
lengthens its life extensively by increasing the abrasion and oil resistance of rubber.
Carbon black consists of elemental carbon with variable amounts of volatile matter
and ash.
Carbon black is utilized in inner tubes, footwear, and paint pigment. They
are also employed in making tire treads and tire bodies. Carbon black is also used
as a pigment for paints and printing inks, as a nucleation agent in weather
modifications, and as a solar energy absorber. About 70% of the worlds’
consumption of carbon black is used in the production of tires and tire products.
Approximately 20% goes into other products such as footwear, belts, hoses, etc. and
the rest is used in such items as paints, printing ink, etc. [12]

III CONVERSION PROCESSES
Conversion processes are essential in the petroleum industry. They are primarily
used to convert make various petrochemicals, upgrade lower value materials such as
heavy residues to more valuable products such as naphtha and LPG, improve the
characteristics of a fuel (For example, a lower octane naphtha fraction is reformed to a
higher octane reformate product) and reduce harmful impurities in petroleum fractions
and residues to control pollution and to avoid poisoning certain processing catalysts. [12]
There are various conversion processes employed in the petrochemical industry and
these include:

A. THERMAL CONVERSION PROCESS
These processes employ high temperature to cleave unsaturated bonds into more
useful feedstock for the petrochemical industry.
a. Coking- This is a severe thermal cracking process designed to handle heavy residues
with high asphaltene and metal contents. These residues cannot be fed to catalytic
cracking units because their impurities deactivate and poison the catalysts. Products from
coking processes vary considerably with feed type and process conditions. These products
are hydrocarbon gases, cracked naphtha, middle distillates, and coke. The gas and liquid
products are characterized by a high percentage of unsaturation. Hydrotreatment is
usually required to saturate olefinic compounds and to desulfurize products from coking
units. [12]
b. Delayed Coking-In delayed coking, the reactor system consists of a short contact-
time heater coupled to a large drum in which the preheated feed “soaks” on a batch basis.
Coke gradually forms in the drum. A delayed coking unit has at least a pair of drums.
When the coke reaches a predetermined level in one drum, flow is diverted to the other so
that the process is continuous. [12]
c. Viscosity Breaking (Vis-breaking) -Viscosity breaking aims to thermally crack long-
chain feed molecules to shorter ones, thus reducing the viscosity and the pour point of the
product.({1} p. 59)

B. CATALYTIC CONVERSION PROCESSES
Catalytic conversion processes include naphtha catalytic reforming, catalytic
cracking, hydrocracking, hydrodealkylation, isomerization, alkylation, and polymerization.
In these processes, one or more catalyst is used.
a. Catalytic Reforming
The aim of this process is to improve the octane number of a naphtha feedstock by
changing its chemical composition. Hydrocarbon compounds differ greatly in their octane
ratings due to differences in structure. In general, aromatics have higher octane ratings
than paraffins and cycloparaffins. Similar to aromatics, branched paraffins have high
octane ratings[12]

9|Page
b. Catalytic cracking (Cat-cracking) is a remarkably versatile and flexible process. Its
principal aim is to crack lower-value stocks and produce higher-value light and
middle distillates. The process also produces light hydrocarbon gases, which are
important feedstocks for petrochemicals. Catalytic cracking produces more gasoline
of higher octane than thermal cracking. This is due to the effect of the catalyst,
which promotes isomerization and dehydrocyclization reactions.[12]
c. Hydrocracking
Hydrocracking is essentially catalytic cracking in the presence of hydrogen. It is one
of the most versatile petroleum refining schemes adapted to process low value
stocks. Generally, the feedstocks are not suitable for catalytic cracking because of
their high metal, sulfur, nitrogen, and asphaltene contents. The process can also use
feeds with high aromatic content. Products from hydrocracking processes lack
olefinic hydrocarbons. The product slate ranges from light hydrocarbon gases to
gasolines to residues. [12]

3 THE PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY

I. DEVELOPMENT OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA
A good historical account of the Nigerian petrochemical industry will not be
complete if we do not talk about its precursor the Nigerian oil industry. The advent of the
oil industry can be traced back to 1908, when a German entity, the Nigerian Bitumen
Corporation, commenced exploration activities in the Araromi area, West of Nigeria. These
pioneering efforts ended abruptly with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.Oil
prospecting efforts resumed in 1937, when Shell D'Arcy (the forerunner of Shell Petroleum
Development Company of Nigeria) was awarded the sole concessionary rights covering the
whole territory of Nigeria. Their activities were also interrupted by theSecond World War,
but resumed 1947. Concerted efforts after several years and an investment of over N30
Million Naira, led to the first commercial discovery in 1956 at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta.
This discovery opened up the Oil industry in 1961, bringing in Mobil, Agip, Safrap (now Elf),
Tenneco and Amoseas (Texaco and Chevron respectively) to join the exploration efforts
both in the onshore and offshore areas of Nigeria. This development was enhanced by the
extension of the concessionary rights previously a monopoly of Shell to the newcomers. The
objective of the government in doing this, was to speed up the pace of exploration and
production of Petroleum and petrochemicals. Even now more companies, both foreign and
indigenous have won concessionary rights and are producing Petroleum and
petrochemicals. Actual oil production and export from the Oloibiri field in present day
Bayelsa State commenced in 1958 with an initial production rate of 5,100 barrels of crude
oil per day. Subsequently, the quantity doubled the following year and progressively as
more players came onto the oil scene, the production rose to 2.0 million barrels per day in
1972 and a peaking at 2.4 million barrels per day in 1979. Nigeria thereafter attained the
status of a major oil producer,ranking 7th in the world in 1972, and has since grown to
become the sixth largest oil producing country in the world.[21]
From the 1970s, the world petrochemical industry has changed drastically including
the Nigerian petrochemical industry,partly due to increased demand for petrochemical
products. Since the 1970’s, various laws have been enacted to ensure the continual growth
of the petrochemical industry and oil industry at large. The growth of the petrochemical
industries has been one the fabulous stories connected with modern chemicals and
chemical engineering research. Petroleum companies were uninterested in chemical
production, but gave the industry a great boost by selling their off-gas to chemical
companies at its fuel value. Cracking furnaces put reactive olefins in these gases, which

10 | P a g e
chemical companies quickly developed into petrochemicals. Today some oil companies for
example, shell and standard oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) are increasingly becoming a
major player in the petrochemical industry.[22]

II. TYPICAL PETROCHEMICAL PRODUCTION PROCESS

(Novel and efficient methods of manufacturing petrochemicals continue to be
deviced by the research and development department of the various companies. The total
production system must incorporate information processing to sell and service, adapt the
whole to the environment, and manipulate the summed information to maximize the
desired parameters.[23]
The major processes in the petrochemical production processes are:
1. Alkylation, dealkylation, and hydro de-alkylation : Used in the producing benzene
derivatives.
2. Cracking or pyrolysis: Used in producing carbon blacks, olefins and diolefins
3. Dehydration :Used in the production of ether.
4. Esterifications :Used in the production of solvents,monomers,medicines,perfumes and
explosives.
5. Halogenations and hydrohalogenation.
6. Hydration and hydrolysis : Used in the production of synthetic ethyl alcohol
7. Hydrogenation and dehydrogenation.
8. Nitration :Used in making unreactive paraffins into reactive substances without
cracking.
9. Amination or reaction with ammonia :Used in the production of aliphatic and
aromatic amines.
10. Oxidation.
11. Hydroformylation : Used in converting alpha olefins to aldehydes and or alcohols
containing an additional number of carbon atoms.
12. Polymerization.

III. PRODUCTS OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY
The following is a partial list of the major commercial petrochemicals and their derivatives:
(a)ETHYLENE-: the simplest olefin; used as a chemical feedstock and ripening
stimulant. Its derivatives include Polyethylene, ethanol, ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol,
engine coolant, polyesters and glycol ethers.
(b)PROPYLENES -Used as a monomer and a chemical feedstock .Its derivatives
includes Isopropyl alcohol, acrylonitrile, propylene glycol, glycol ethers, acrylic acids, alkyl
chloride
(c)C4 HYDROCARBONS - A mixture consisting of butanes, butylene and
butadienes. Isobutylene, a feed for copolymerisation of1,3-butadiene, which is often used as
a monomer for elastomers
(d)MIXED XYLENES- Any three dimethylbenzene isomers. Its derivatives are
Phthalic anhydride, dimethyl terephthalate, polyesters, alkyd resins and polyamide resins.
(e)TOLUENE- This is also known as methylbenzene. It can be used as a solvent or
precursor for other chemicals. Its derivatives includes Benzene, toluene diisocyanate,
benzoic acid andnylon
(f)BENZENE-: The simplest aromatic hydrocarbon. Its derivatives includes
Ethylbenzene, styrene, cumene, acetone, epoxy resins and polycarbonates

11 | P a g e
4. INDUSTRIAL EFFLUENTS FROM PETROCHEMICAL
INDUSTRY
In the process of converting crude oil into petroleum products(liquefied petroleum
gas, naphta, kerosene, diesel oil, and residual oil), and petrochemical
products(polypropylene, polyethylene), wastes of different kinds are generated.
These wastes can be broadly categorized into oily materials. These wastes are
released to the environment in the form of gases, particles and liquid effluent
(liquid consisting of surface runoff water, sanitary waste water, solid waste and
sludge[13]. These effluents form petrochemical industries can be discussed under the
following headings:
I. AIR POLLUTION: The gases released from the petrochemical industry
include CO, CO2, SO2, NO2, NO and have various impacts on the
environment at large. Some of these cases have destroyed the fragile,
protective ozone layer in the atmosphere which protects the earth from
harmful effects of ultra-violet rays from the sun. This thinning of the ozone
is becoming a danger to human health.
II. WATER POLLUTION: Petrochemical effluents pose serious problem to both
the aquatic and human life. Drinking contaminated water can cause
various diseases such as typhoid and fever, dysentery, cholera, and other
intestinal diseases [14]. Availability of safe and reliable source of water is an
essential perquisite for sustainable development. [15]
III. SOLID WASTE: The solid wastes from the petrochemical industry are scrap
plastics, and rubbers which are non-biodegradable and some liquid effluent
which have coagulated to form solid substances e.g. bitumen, asphalt, etc.
These non-biodegradable substances pose hazards to the environment and
to human health. [16]
IV. NOISE POLLUTION: Unpleasant noise pollution arises from the
petrochemical industry which employs large machinery to effect
transformation into finished products. These can be very harmful as they can
cause an increase in the flow of adrenaline and also forces the heart to
function at a faster pace. All these can be life threatening as these factors
can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Due to the adverse effect of pollution on our environment and
human life, control measures have been put in place to reduce or
minimize its effect. These control measures include:
i. Government policies.
ii. Sensitization and orientation of people about the effect of
pollution on our environment and human life.
iii. Recycling and treatment of industrial waste.
iv. Burning of industrial waste in an incinerator.

12 | P a g e
5. ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTY IN
NIGERIA
Petrochemical industries in Nigeria have a significant impact on the economy as
industries that produce petrochemicals for industrial and consumer needs have contributed
to the growth of the Nigerian Economy. Therefore the trade in petrochemicals has gone a
long way in contributing towards the development of Nigeria and its economy in the
following areas:

I. EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The discovery of crude oil in Nigeria at Olobiri
in 1859 has led to the explosion of the petrochemical industry in Nigeria. Since
then, there has been a significant increase in petroleum-based products which
have contributed positively to the Nigerian economy.
The need for the treatment and conversion of refinery products for the creation
of petrochemicals has led to an increase in employment opportunities
nationwide for about 10% of the pollution. This has led to an increase in job
opportunities for young job seekers looking for gainful employment, thus
leading to an increase of savings towards investment and per capital income for
their employees. This has led to an overall increase in the standard of living.[18]
II. CONTRIBUTION TO GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
At the time of independence in 1960, Nigeria received a large proportion of
their revenue from the agricultural sector but this has since reduced since the
discovery of oil. It accounted for 64% of the GDP share during the time of
independence but has dropped to paltry 6.4% lately. The petrochemical
industry has since boosted the GDP of the country, accounting for 38.9% of the
GDP of the country to date and as such, is seen as a vital part of the Nigerian
Economy. Its importance cannot be overemphasized.[19]
III. GOVERNMENT REVENUE
The existence of petrochemical industries in Nigeria has greatly contributed to
the increase in governmental revenue per annum due to the sales of the
associated products. The revenue is also generated through the strict imposition
of taxes in the form of import duties which are paid by private ownership of the
petrochemical industries. Employed workers in the sector are also expected to
pay a tax on income earned which has also led to a boost in governmental
revenue. [20]
IV. HOUSEHOLD REVENUE/INCOME
As stated above, petrochemical industries create employment opportunities
for the workforce of the Nigerian Economy. Workers in this industry have a
stable source of income for their respective households , thus leading to a
gain in revenue in households. Business men and Women who also deal with
the industry in the form of packaging, sales, branding and
commercialization earn a living through this sector as well. The
establishment of the Petrochemical industry has led to an overall increase in
the per-capital income of the people and have opened up the possibilities
for increased savings and investment opportunities.

13 | P a g e
6. CHALLENGES FACING PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN
NIGERIA
Nigeria has the potential of becoming a major petrochemical producer
in Africa, but this dream is constantly held back by a number of
problems and challenges which include:
I. MAINTENANCE CHALLENGES
This problem is discussed under the following headings:
a. Lack of Regular Equipment Checking: Organizations need to regularly
check equipment to ensure that they are functioning effectively. The
absence of regular checking could lead to the breakdown or malfunctioning
of the equipment. This becomes a big problem which consequently affects
the organizations ability to continue production.
b. Lack of turn-around Maintenance: It is expected that at regular intervals,
equipment should be maintained through servicing and replacement of
work-out parts. The absence of this leads to equipment breakdown which
eventually affects the equipment’s capacity to perform.
c. Inadequate Maintenance Budget: Organizations should have an adequate
budget to maintain equipment but many don’t attach much importance to
it. As a result, funds available becomes insufficient. This therefore becomes a
problem to operation capacity.
II. NON-DOMESTICATION OF THE TECHNOLOGICAL EQUIPMENT USED FOR
PLANT DESIGN
Most of the equipment used for the refinery are imported. Hence these
equipment are very expensive and are not readily available. This tends to
affect production and increases cost of maintenance and products per unit
output.
III. INADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTUAL FACILITIES
Infrastructural facilities such as good roads tend to affect the amount of
products such as petrol cannot reach consumers thus hindering the progress
of the industry.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS FACING PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY
Possible solutions to maintenance problems include the following:
I. Standby or backup equipment that can be quickly be harnessed for service.
II. Inventories of spare parts that can be installed as needed thereby avoiding
breakdown of process when such equipment starts malfunctioning.
III. Operators who are able to perform at least minor repairs on their equipment.
IV. Service people who are well trained and readily available to diagnose and
correct problems with equipment. [17]
V. Technological equipment used for plants should be manufactured and coupled
here in Nigeria. This will reduce the overall cost of production and cost of
products per unit.
VI. Good road network should be made available to aid the transportation of
petrochemical products as well as establishing new methods of transporting
these goods cost efficiently such as trains.

14 | P a g e
7. CONCLUSION
The relevance of the petrochemical industry in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
Since the advent of the industry in Nigeria, we have had a significant amount of growth
and development in across several sectors. At the same time, it has had a great positive
impact on the lives of Nigerians who have become workers in this great industry.

The sector has been plagued with several problems stemming from a lack of commitment
from the Government to fully harness the power of the sector to nation building. Several
solutions have been proposed to curb the problems of the sector however, until the
government shows a renewed commitment to the sector, it will continue to languish in
mediocrity, leaving the Nigerian Economy without a vital industry that could improve the
Economy of the nation.

REFERENCES
1. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
‘’Petrochemical’’.www.wikipedia.org/wiki/petrochemical
2. ‘’ Petrochemical Process.’’ Hydrocarbon processing.’’ Pp 71-246. March 2001. ISSN
0887-0284
3. ‘’Petroleum’’ Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th Edition). Cambridge University Press.
4. ‘’ The story of Early Canadians ‘’ Quest for oil at Home and Abroad’’ May, Gary,
Hard Oiler. Dundrum Press, 1998. P. 59
5. Henderson, Wayne and Scott Benjamin .‘’ Standard Oil: the First 125 years’’. Osleola,
Wrs.Motorbooks International, 1996
6. ‘’ Petrochemicals: The rise of an industry’’ WileyInterscience, 1988.
7. ‘’ Nigeria: Naccima Says Oil Sector Is Killing Economy’’ Africa: AllAfrica.com, 2013.
8. www.nnpcgroup.com/NNPCBusiness/BusinessInformation/OilGasinNigeria/Industry
History.aspx
9. www.nnpcgroup.com/NNPCBusiness/Subsidiaries/WRPC.aspx
10. www.nnpcgroup.com/NNPCBusiness/Subsidiaries/KRPC.aspx
11. Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation
NNPC.www.nnpcgroup.com/NNPCBusiness/Subsidiaries/PHRC.aspx
12. Sami Matar and Lewis F.Hatch. ‘’Chemistry of Petroleum Processes’’. Second
Edition.Pp1-3,11-79,114-121.Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas, 2000. Library
of Congress Cataloging
13. Atubi A.O. 2009. ‘’Environmental Risk Assesment (ENRA) for sustainable
Development: An Overview.’’ Journal of State and Society. Vol I (1) pp 127-36.
14. Adeyemi O.T. 2004. ‘’ Oil Exploration & Environmental degradation: The Nigerian
Experience.’’ Environmental informative archives, Vol. 2. Pp 389-393.

15 | P a g e
15. Asonye C.C Okolie, N.P. Okenwe, E.E and Iwuayanwu, U.G. 2001. ‘’ Some Physical
and Chemical Characteristics of heavy metals.’’ Metal Profiles of Nigeria Rivers. Vol
6,pp 617-624
16. Total MSW Generation. 2012 Edition.
17. Unesco Nigeria. www.unesco-nigeriatve.org/teaching
18. www.doublegist.com/economicgrowth. ‘’ Economic Growth in Nigeria and its
Impact on the Oil Industy. 2007.
19. MitonIyoha. ‘’ The Overview of Nigeria Economy’’. Google, 2014.
20. www.google.com/Technology&Engineering/Petroleum. ‘’Impact of Petrochemical in
National Economic Development.
21. history of oil and gas in Nigeria.pdf
22. George T. Austin. ‘’Shreve’s Chemical Process Industries’’. 5th edition. Mcgraw-Hill
Edition.
23. Groggins (ed.). ‘’Unit Processes in Organic Syntheses’’. 5th edition. Mcgraw-Hill. New
York.

16 | P a g e