M.Sc Programme Details

The centre runs the following programmes:



The aim of this professional Refining and Petrochemical programme is to provide graduates with broad based training required for management in the petroleum, chemical, and energy industries.

On completion of the Masters’ Programme, the graduates will among other skills, be able to:

  • Evaluate oil and gas hydrocarbon structures
  • Learn and Understand various separation/fractionation methods employed in refining crude oil
  • Study secondary petroleum refining processes to improve fuel yields
  • Know how molecules are cracked by processes like catalytic, thermal, and hydrocracking.
  • Grasp the concept of Catalysis and Reactor design
  • Identify contaminants present in crude oil and their removal processes
  • Find out how these contaminants can be converted into harmless compounds to improve qualities of finished refinery products to prevent destruction of expensive catalysts, and minimize corrosion of refining equipments, or prevent environmental pollution.
  • Evaluate how specific qualities of refined products are improved by blending and using additives.
  • Process modeling of crude oil refining process using Aspen Refsys.
  • Evaluate petrochemical Precursors (feedstocks), their unit operations, and final products.
  • Determine how plastics (thermoplastics and thermosets) are made.
  • MSc Full Time option is 12-calendar months
  • MSc Part Time option allows maximum of 3 years

Successful students at the end of the programme shall receive an M.Sc in Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals of the University of Port Harcourt.

M.Sc Course Content



The aim of this professional Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals Programme is to provide graduates with broad-based training required for sound refining and processing of crude oil.    The programme will produce competent and industry-ready Gas, Refining and Petrochemical processing graduates that will be fully prepared to work in the oil and gas industry at local and international levels.

On completion of this Masters’ programme, the graduates will among other skills, be able to:

  • Understand different energy types and role of fossil fuels in global energy mix
  • Grasp hydrocarbon chemistry and sequence of crude oil processing operations, including crude oil distillation, refinery equipment, and flow sheet.
  • Work on systems of energy recovery networks for refinery and petrochemicals, including monitoring tools
  • Learn about petrochemical and natural gas industry and processes, including economic and contractual aspects of the natural gas industry
  • Understand major polymer types, plastics, additives and modifiers
  • Appreciate conversion processes, including catalytic reforming, and effect of catalysis on reaction rates.
  • Work on heat exchangers and their design systems.
  • Understand reaction systems, including process flow and control, corrosion, and maintenance of equipment.
  • Practice process modeling and simulation of refinery/petrochemical systems
  • Understand key goal settings in project management, process system optimization, energy economic and supply chain management, and some business theories and models.

The program will be executed under six modules and thesis. The details of the modules and highlight on course descriptions are as indicated below.

A         RPE 801:  Learning & Leadership Skills

This module provides the necessary platform to prepare students  skills to be an integral part of highly skilled workforce. Team building, learning and leadership skills are taught. (one week)

B         RPE 802-3: Entrepreneurship/ Communication Skills

Good communication skills are essential to becoming effective Engineers. Language skills, writing skills/technical report  and presentation skills will be covered. Entrepreneurship Skills. (two weeks)

C         RPE 804-5: Computational Skills

This covers IT skills and software training. Software packages include visual basic, productivity software. Applied mathematics and statistics for Engineers will be taught.(two weeks)

D         RPE 806: Introduction to oil & gas Industry

History of Oil and gas industry. Global Energy demand and consumption.

Different energy types and role of fossil fuels in global energy mix.Highlights on upstream, midstream and downstream operations and companies. Petroleum exploration; Principles of petroleum geology, Rock types. Origin and formation of oil and gas. Drilling for oil and gas: Oil and gas reservoir; Oil and gas production. Oil and gas processing; Oil and gas transportation; Health, Safety and Environment in oil and gas exploration and production operations. Roles and opportunities for Petroleum/Gas Engineer in the Petroleum Industry. (one week)

A. RPE 807: Crude oil Processing

Introduction & Review of process incidents. Hydrocarbon Chemistry and Sequence of Processing operation. Characteristics of crude oil. Crude oil distillation. Introduction to refinery Equipment and flowsheet. Crude oil quality, product blending and usage. Petroleum products market. Gasoline production processes. Economics of gasoline production processes. Fundamentals of Hydroprocessing. Options for heavy oil processing. Integrated Refining Operations. Desalting. Refining Margins. (Three weeks)

B:        RPE 808:Energy Systems

Process Integration. Utilities  Integration. Process unit energy efficiency. Analysis techniques including: process unit energy monitoring and benchmarking. Key energy indicators. Systems of Energy recovery networks for Refinery and Petrochemicals. Energy monitoring tools. (Two weeks)

RPE 809: Overview of the Natural gas Industry and Processes

This module will provide an overview of the economic and contractual aspects of the natural gas industry.  The peculiar features of natural gas will be highlighted in order to explain the economic differences between a crude oil chain and a natural gas chain.  LNG chain including LNG processing, liquefaction, shipping, regasification and market positioning, gas to electricity, GTL versus LNG exports from West Africa, gas transportation, etc. will be discussed.(Three weeks)

A. RPE 810: Polymer Technology

Polymers and Polymer Structure

 Major polymer types. Plastics. Additives/modifiers.  Mechanical Properties.Thermal Properties.  Thermal Degradation. Failure Reliability and Durability.

(Two weeks)



Cracking. Polymerization. Alkylation. Hydro-generation. Reforming.  Isomerization.

Catalysis. General Principles. Types of Catalysis. Effect of catalysis on reaction rate

Synthesis of fuels from other sources.

(Two weeks)

A.   RPE 812: Distillation System Design

Introduction. Physical Properties for Distillation Design. Review of physical property methods. Basic Distillation Design. Review of Distillation basics and degrees of freedom for individual columns. Sequencing Simple Distillation Designs. Systems of simple distillation columns. Complex Distillation Columns. Side-streams columns. Side strippers. Side rectifiers and pre-fractionators. Short-cut. Modeling of Complex Columns. Development of short-cut models for system design. Sequencing for Non-integrated Distillation. Sequencing distillation on the basis of minimum vapour load. Heat Integration of Distillation Columns. Principles of heat integration for individual columns. Heat Pumping in Distillation. Principles of heat pumping in distillation, Different heat pumping arrangements. Sequencing of Heat Integrated Distillation Systems. Simultaneous sequencing and heat integration of distillation systems. Refinery Distillation.Introduction. Simulation convergence techniques. Typical controlled and manipulated process variables. Commissioning. Troubleshooting .

(Three weeks)

B.    RPE 813: Heat Exchange Design System

Shell & Tube.Fire Heaters, etc. Reboilers.Condensers.Air Coolers.Cooling Towers.

(Two weeks)

C.   RPE 815: Process Modeling & Simulation

Introduction to mathematical modeling and simulation of refinery/ petrochemical systems. Common approaches of modeling for steady-state and dynamic simulations.

(One week)


D.   RPE 814: Reaction System Design

Chemical Reaction Kinetics & Catalysis. Process flow and control. Fluidization.FCC Equipment. FCC detailed plant analysis. FCC catalysts and management. FCC heat balance. Process variables and operating procedures. Corrosion, fouling and maintenance of equipment.  Advances in FCC (Optimization & troubleshooting).

(Four weeks)


A.   RPE 816: Optimization and Decision making

Process system optimization,Equipment Optimization.Operating Procedures. Control Optimization.Business model and operation.Planning (Corporate targets, Economics, Market demand and forecasting).Scheduling (Inventory limits, Operation strategy, Sales and transport logistics).Use of available techniques and software.

(Two weeks)


BRPE 817: Energy Economic and Supply chain Management

Economics of Oil, Gas and Energy. Decision and risk analysis in hydrocarbon exploration and production. Economics & Technology of  Crude Oil, Natural Gas & LNG value chains. Managing Energy Sources. Energy Finance. Energy, Technology and Policy. External stakeholders, Ethics and Social Responsibility in Energy Markets.

(Two weeks)


C.   RPE 818: Project Management

General overview of key goal settings in project management. Business Approaches. Some business theories and models. Organisation and manpower. Outsourcing, Contracts and Contractors. Materials and Spares and Warehousing. Competitor Benchmarking. Plant Integrity, Reliability and Maintenance. Plant Integrity. Plant Reliability. Maintenance. Shutdown Management. Operating Perspective – The Essentials. Safety. Environmental Management. Quality control. Pushing for increased profitability. Refinery Profit Management. Process plant Efficiency. Financial Management. Production Scheduling and Planning. Program Review.

(Four  weeks)

 In addition to team projects, there will be field visits and students will also be required to demonstrate the ability to carry out a research as individuals.

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