VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT OF CRITICAL OIL AND GAS INFRASTRUCTURES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS IN THE NIGER DELTA
Oil and gas infrastructures are being severely impacted by extreme climate change-induced disasters such as flood, storm, tidal surges, and rising temperature in the Niger Delta with high. There is a high potential for disruption of upstream and downstream activities as the world climate continues to change. The lack of knowledge of the criticality and vulnerability of infrastructures could further exacerbate impacts and the assets management value chain. This thesis, therefore, applied a criteria-based systematic evaluation of the criticality and vulnerability of selected critical oil and gas infrastructure to climate change impacts in the Niger Delta. It applied multi-criteria decision-making analysis (MCDA) tool – analytic hierarchy process (AHP), in prioritising systems according to their vulnerability and criticality and recommended sustainable adaptation mechanisms. Through a critical review of relevant literature, seven (7) criteria each for criticality and vulnerability assessment were synthesised accordingly and implemented in the assessment process. A further exploratory investigation, physical examination of infrastructures, focus groups and elite interviews were conducted to identify possible vulnerable infrastructures and scope qualitative and quantitative data for analysis using Mi-AHP spreadsheet. Results prioritised the criticality of infrastructures in the following order: terminals (27.1%), flow stations (18.5%), roads/bridges (15.5%), and transformers/high voltage cables (11.1%) while the least critical are loading bays (8.6%) and oil wellheads (5.1%). Further analysis indicated that the most vulnerable critical infrastructures are: pipelines (25%), terminals (17%) and roads/bridges (14%) while transformers/high voltage cables and oil wellheads where ranked as least vulnerable with 11% and 9% respectively. In addition to vulnerability assessment, an extended documentary analysis of groundwater geospatial stream flow and water discharge rate monitoring models suggest that an in-situ rise in groundwater level and increase in water discharge rate (WDR) at the upper Niger River could indicate a high probability of flood event at the lower Delta, hence further exacerbates the vulnerability of critical infrastructures. Accordingly, physical examination of infrastructures suggests that an increase in regional and ambient temperature disrupts the functionality of compressors and optimal operation of Flow Stations and inevitably exacerbate corrosion of cathodic systems when mixed with the saltwater flood from the Atlantic. The thesis produced a flexible conceptual framework for the vulnerability assessment of critical oil/gas infrastructures, contextualised and recommended sustainable climate adaptation strategies for the Niger Delta oil/gas industry. Some of these strategies include installation of industrial groundwater and water discharge rate monitoring systems, construction of elevated platforms for critical infrastructures installations, substitution of cathodic pipes with duplex stainless and glass reinforcement epoxy pipes. Others include proper channelisation of drainages and river systems around critical platforms, use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for flood monitoring and the establishment of inter-organisational climate impact assessment groups in the oil/gas industry. Climate impact assessment (CIA) is suggested for oil and gas projects as part of best practice in the environmental management and impact assessment framework.
- PhD