The NLNG Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Engineering was established in August 2013 with the aim of providing post-graduate academic and industry-oriented education required for sound gas processing, crude oil refining and petrochemical process operations. The Centre is a research hub and propagates the culture of excellence through sustained learning. It also seeks to act as a vehicle to achieve and sustain the Nigerian content initiative.

The Centre promotes collaborations and partnerships with industry and universities across the globe. The Centre offers programmes which reflect the global realities and therefore attaches great importance to students’ participation in courses to develop proficiency in the use of analytic tools.

The teaching faculty is drawn from the University of Port Harcourt, Industry Professionals with cognate experience and other collaborating institutions. The ratio of teaching staff from university is (60%), other institutions (10%) and the industry (30%). This principle guides the selection of resource persons to teach in the Centre.

The philosophy of the Centre includes the culture of excellence in sustained learning, leadership, internationalism and professionalism as well as advancement and propagation of knowledge in the petroleum and allied industries

The vision of the NLNG Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Engineering is to become the foremost international Centre of excellence in gas engineering, petroleum refining, and petrochemical technology in Africa.

The mission of the Centre is to meet the needs of the petroleum industry through a commitment to excellence in training, applied research, continuing education, and capacity building.

The Centre has since its inception, graduated 8 batches of over 100 MSc students. Many of these graduates with outstanding performance are desirous of furthering their studies to the doctoral level to acquire the necessary expertise for sustained industrial development in the Gulf of Guinea.

This programme will also provide an avenue for students to become professionals in this area of study. The programme, being structured on a modular basis, also provides an avenue for healthy and effective learning to the convenience of both staff and students. Our partnership with key players in the industry implies that our hands-on practical training is second to none. In addition, the just released Energy Transition Plan of Nigeria is constrained by the use of gas and renewable energy infrastructure across all sectors of the country.

The aim of this Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme in Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals operations is to provide graduates with broad-based training required for sound knowledge, skills and expertise in gas processing, crude oil refining and petrochemical production operations.

The objectives of this programme are to commit the students’ talents to:

  1. Develop different energy strategies/plans to sustainably utilise fossil fuels in the global energy mix.
  2. Analysis and evaluate hydrocarbon chemistry and sequence of crude oil processing operations, including crude oil distillation, refinery equipment and flow sheet.
  3. Co-create energy recovery networks for case studies on refinery and petrochemicals.
  4. Adequately apply economic and contractual knowledge to address technical challenges in the petrochemical and natural gas industry.
  5. Evaluate the major polymer types, plastics, additives and modifiers in the context of natural gas utilisation.
  6. Develop efficient and cost effective crude and natural gas conversion processes
  7. Technical and economic evaluations of catalytic reforming process and unit for improved product yield.
  8. Apply in-depth knowledge of process unit operations to design, analysis and evaluate heat exchangers.
  9. Develop in-depth understanding of reaction systems, including process flow and control, corrosion and maintenance of equipment, for technical improvement.
  10. Apply the knowledge of process modelling and simulation to improve refinery/petrochemical systems.
  11. Develop advanced skills and competencies in project management, process system optimization, energy economic and supply chain management, entrepreneurship, and business theories and models.

To be admitted into the PhD programme in Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Engineering Operations, each applicant must fulfil the following requirements:

  1. Satisfy the general University requirements for admission into PhD
  2. Possess a Master’s degree in Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Engineering, and related disciplines acceptable to the Centre such as Chemical Engineering, Gas Engineering, Petrochemical Engineering, Industrial Chemistry, with a minimum CGPA of 3.5   (on a scale of 5.0) or a minimum score of 60% obtained from a recognized university.
  • Be successful in a proposal presentation/admission interview in the Centre.

Every candidate coming for the interview is expected to bring along the following:

  1. Two letters of reference from persons qualified to comment on his or her academic work.
  2. Four copies of his or her proposed research plan in the selected area of specialization.

The programme shall last for a minimum of 36-calendar months (3 years) and maximum of 60-calendar months (5 years) of full-time study, or a minimum of 60-calendar months (5 years) and a maximum of 86-calendar months (7 years) of part-time study.

The Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Engineering PhD programme consists of coursework and a thesis. The degree is awarded primarily on the basis of research conducted by the student, after he or she has fulfilled the general University requirements for the programmes leading to the Ph.D. degree. The following specific conditions apply:

  1. On provisional admission, the candidate is required to pass the taught coursework to continue the PhD. programme. It is compulsory for candidates to take the generally taught courses and any other course in the area of specialization. However, where the need arises the Centre would advise students to audit some relevant courses.
  2. The Centre shall also require the Ph.D. student to audit or select, in consultation with his/her supervisor, courses which will best assist him/her pass the taught courses and succeed in the research work and thesis in the area of specialization.
  3. Prior to being formally admitted to the candidacy of the PhD programme, the prospective student must demonstrate his or her knowledge of the engineering fundamentals by passing the qualifying examination to assess his/her eligibility for the programme.
  4. A successful Ph.D. candidate will be expected to present a research proposal not later than 3 months after the qualifying examination.
  5. A Ph.D. Student is expected to participate in seminar and should present at least three seminar papers in the course of the research work to the Centre.
  6. To qualify for the award of Ph.D, the candidate must publish at least three technical papers, two of which must be publications in reputable journals and one conference paper. In addition, or in the place of one journal article, candidates may have at least one patent
  7. On provisional completion of the research work, the candidate will be required to present a thesis based on the outcome of the research. He/she shall present the work in the following order:
  8. Graduate Board of the Centre;
  9. Faculty Graduate Board; and
  • School of Graduate Studies.

Finally, upon presentation of the seminars, successful candidate will take an oral external defence of the work before a Board of examiners setup in accordance with the regulations of School of Graduate Studies.

  1. The Ph.D. degree is awarded upon satisfactory performance in the oral examination and fulfilment of all University and Centre requirements.

Length of Thesis

The number of words for Thesis from Chapter One to Chapter Five should not fall below Fifty thousand (50,000) words which is 200 pages with double line spacing. Note that this provision is subject to periodic review by School of Graduate Studies.

The courses which will be taught on Modular basis are listed as shown in Table 1. One course will be taught in one month and the examination/assessment taken first week of the next month. 

Table 1: List of courses


Course Code

Course Title                                                                         

Credit Unit


RPE 901

Research Methods                                                                    



RPE 902

Energy/Environmental/Project & Safety Policy      



RPE 903

Advanced Oil and Gas Industry Management                         



RPE 904

Advanced Gas Processing/                                                        

Advanced Refining Operation/ Advanced Petrochemical Operation



RPE 905

Seminar I                                                                                  



RPE 906

Seminar II                                                                                 



RPE 907

Seminar III                                                                               



RPE 908

PhD Thesis                                                                                


RPE 901: Research Methods

Course objectives: To give students in-depth knowledge on how to conduct, analyze and report their research results

Course content:

  • Understanding the concept of research
  • Choice and statement of a research problem,
  • Research design
  • Literature survey,
  • Elementary scientific methods,
  • Design of experiment and apparatus
  • Statistical analysis of experimental data and associated error
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Report writing


RPE 902: Energy/Environmental/Project & Safety Policy

Course objectives: To critically evaluate energy, environment and safety policies in projects and develop strategies to energy, environmental and energy policies nationally and internationally. In addition, to adequately highlight the need for environmental protection

Course content:

  • Energy industry (National and International): energy systems and management, legal framework, regulatory process and processes, regulatory bodies and roles, energy pricing and implications, Nigerian gas master plan and policies, renewable energy policy drive and its implications on future energy development and climate change, review of energy policies
  • Environmental considerations and management in mid/downstream oil and gas industry operation
  • Health and Safety consideration and management in mid/downstream oil and gas industry operation
  • Process and project management in the mid/downstream oil and gas industry operation

RPE 903: Advanced Oil and Gas Industry Management

Course objective: To give students an in-depth knowledge and capacity to address strategic challenges of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. To equip students with the requisite skills, character and frame to make positive impacts on the industry.

Course content

  • Overview of the oil and gas industry
  • Competitive issues and challenges
  • Portfolio management issues and challenges
  • Conflict management in the oil and gas industry
  • Prospects and challenges of the oil and gas industry
  • Economics of the oil and gas industry
  • Energy mix and climate change mitigation technologies
  • Entrepreneurial skills and financial management in the oil and gas industry

RPE 904: Advanced Gas Processing (Option) / Advanced Refining Operation(Option)/ Advanced Petrochemical Operation(Option)

Course objective: To give students an in-depth knowledge and capacity to address strategic challenges of the gas, refining, and petrochemical industries in Nigeria.

Course content

  • Advanced knowledge of gas processing technology management and operation in Nigeria
  • Advanced knowledge of refining operation technology and management in Nigeria
  • Advanced knowledge of petrochemical technology operation and management in Nigeria
  • Advanced process control and optimisation of gas and petrochemical plants
RPE 905 Seminar I

Seminar I, Research Proposal Defence will be presented between 6 months and 12 months of the start of programme. It will consist of critical literature review and gaps in the subject area of the topic. Also, timelines for the remaining work to be carried out will be part of the presentation. This presentation will be scored and the minimum pass mark is 50. Successful candidates will be allowed to go with their researches. If any candidate is not successful at this stage, the candidate will be allowed to repeat the presentation within three months from the date of the first presentation.

RPE 906 Seminar II

Seminar II will be presented between 12 and 15 months into the programme. Seminar II will cover Chapter Three (Materials and Methods or Methodology) in addition to Chapters one and two which should be improved versions of what is contained in Seminar I. The Ph.D student can also present preliminary or selected or few results. If the presentation is successful, the candidate can go ahead with his or her research to conclusion and thesis writeup.

RPE 907 Seminar III

The Third seminar will be presented after the successful presentation of Seminar I and Seminar II. This will include the full thesis presentation. After a successful presentation the student has three stages: Presentation to the Faculty of Engineering and the school of graduate studies, then the external (final) examination will follow.

RPE 908 Seminar III

The Ph.D thesis presentation follows successful presentation of Seminar I and Seminar II. The thesis presentation has three stages: Presentation at the Institute where staff drawn from the Faculty of Engineering and the Industry will be the examiners, presentation at the school of graduate studies, then the external (final) examination by an external examiner. The external examination will come between 30 months and 36 months into the programme for full time study.

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