Oil facility operations: a multivariate analyses of water pollution parameters

Babatunde Anifowose, Modupe Odubela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)


This paper provides some new insights into the variability and severity of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminants from the first ever environmental audit of Nigeria's downstream oil facilities. Petroleum facility operation is the backbone of energy supply all over the world but this process is not without potentially avoidable water pollution incidents. Meanwhile, past studies tend to ignore patterns of pollution parameters at the national scale and are often limited in scope and coverage. To address this research gap, Principal Component Analysis and Kruskal-Wallis test were applied to evaluate the variability in ‘national’ pollution data to tease-out novel patterns that best discriminate between groups of pipeline facility network across Nigeria's downstream sector. The key results are (a) a mix of strong and weak statistically significant (p-value<0.001) and positive correlation between pollutants across three pipeline regions; (b) the main eigenvector statistically explains 71.5% of the variance found in the ‘national’ pollution parameters; and (c) according to the hierarchical cluster analyses, we now know that there is an incoherent pattern from the group data and a rather weak association which suggest that the type of oil facility systems in operation or their products have no effect on the severity of hydrocarbon pollution parameters found in water samples across the three regions. The implication of these results is that it might be cost-effective to apply a uniform approach in responding to future petroleum water contamination depending on site specific hazards posed by toxicity level, temporal nature of detected chemicals and human exposure. Future study should consider the use of carbon stable isotope ratios to assess variances in hydrocarbon contamination in water bodies, and tailor this for cost-effective national response given the aforementioned caveats. This can guarantee a more sustainable operations and enhance response to water pollution incidents. The study approach and, possibly its outcomes, could be a useful starting point for nations with new oil and gas discoveries such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, The Gambia, Liberia and so on.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date21 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Cleaner Production. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Cleaner Production, [187, (2018)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.03.044

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


  • oil facility operation
  • water pollution
  • petroleum hydrocarbons
  • Principal Component Analysis (PCA)
  • Kruskal-Wallis test
  • Nigeria
  • Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH)
  • Total Aliphatic Hydrocarbons (TAH)
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene & Xylene (BTEX)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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