This paper proposes the development of environmental sustainability framework for Modular Refinery (MR) in the Global South (GS) using the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a case study. Energy, and most importantly oil and gas plays an important role in the economic development. The downstream sector demonstrates a lack of adequate petroleum refining regulation in some countries such as Nigeria, which has resulted in environmental pollution and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions that have continued to impair environmental sustainability in the country. The process of converting crude oil into petroleum and petrochemical products, wastes of different kinds are generated. These wastes are released to the environment in the form of gases, particles and liquid effluent, which becomes hazardous to the environment and to human health. The development of MR is one of the best, if not the only, option for making global south nations self-sufficient in domestic demand and net exporters of petroleum products. Literature in public domain have narrated various issues in respect of the theme of this paper as noted below. The oil and gas industry is essential to the global economy and the activities of the oil and gas companies have a huge effect on the world and the environment. Oil refineries in Nigeria are responsible for 4% of global CO2 emission and 24% in GHG emissions resulting in health and environmental issues. In order to cut GHG emissions that achieve global temperature rise of 1.5 -20C, Global North are reducing reliance on oil. GS countries including Nigeria plan to increase MR installation in order to increase both domestic availability of oil and the oil sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). MR are viable option in inaccessible location or rural areas, especially where oil supply is inadequate to meet daily consumption demand. The methodology for this study uses interpretivism as a research philosophy, allowing for the development of a sustainable environmental framework. This is an innovative method of comprehension made possible by combining an inductive method with interpretivism. A case study approach was adopted using the Nigerian oil and gas sector as the research strategy to gain in-depth knowledge about possible implementation. The key considerations for developing an environmental sustainability framework for modular refinery in GS can be encapsulated under the indices of stringency, compliance and transparency. One limitation of the indices would be over-reliance of GS on oil revenue. This paper argues the need for urgent diversification in the GS. Summarily, all the three indices needs detailing when adopting the proposed framework in the oil and gas sector of the GS. Future work will include the collection of primary data from key stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to ascertain the effectiveness of the proposed framework for MR. Further study to include financial evaluations for MR framework in terms of its economic feasibility will also be desirable.

Authors: N. Nwankwo, J. Olokpa, T.K. Olaniyi

Published in: World Congress on Sustainable Technologies (WCST-2022)

  • Date of Conference: 6-8  December 2022
  • DOI: 10.20533/WCST.2022.0004
  • ISBN: 978-1-913572-57-0
  • Conference Location: Virtual (London, UK)