Activities of operators of illegal refineries have been blamed for the drastic drop in crude oil production. Illegal refining and crude theft have grown beyond the Niger Delta. To stop the trend, several billions of Naira has been expended to secure pipelines and fight oil bunkerers.
There are various schools of thought on how to curb the problem. While some opt for use of military might, others call for legalizing the process with licences given to operators. One of the illegal refinery operators, Chief Titi Governor, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, called for the legalizing of the operation, insisting that this will end oil theft, generate employment and boost the economy.
Governor, who invented the electric refining oven with the capacity to refine over 50, 000 litres of products in one trip, insisted that illegal refining cannot be stopped by the destruction of illegal refineries but the process can be improved upon.
“This is electric method of refining introduced by me; it works using high electrical heating procedure. God gave me this revelation after the militancy crisis; you know that necessity is the mother of invention.
A thought came one day that if I could construct a refinery using electric heaters, it will work and refine better than the fire wood heating employed by others. That was how I started the process. Refining has semblance to alcohol refining whereby palm wine is heated to become local gin (Ogogoro). That is the experiment and it works for me,” he stated. He continued:
How I came about the technology
“I am a seaman who had travelled far and wide. While travelling round the world, I studied the white man refining over there. I adopted his method because it does not flare gas to pollute the environment.
It has a method of harnessing the gas during the refining process through a special pipe provision and conversion method. Unlike our local refiners who pollute the environment, my method is sophisticated and efficient. I use 350KVA heater in the oven. I installed two of such powered by two big plants, each for one heater.
My refining capacity
“I can produce 50,000 litres per trip while my oven can produce about four trips in 24 hours, which is about 200, 000 litres in a day. I started with two heaters because the system requires a lot of voltage. I intended to install eight heaters before the military Joint Task Force came to destroy the place.
I had a gigantic crude storage tank which I constructed with about N8million; it has the capacity to store eight trucks, which is about 264,000 litres. The idea was conceived after discovering that Geepee tanks usually catch fire and, because we are safety conscious and don’t want any form of industrial accident, we opted for steel plate tanks.
When crude boat comes, we offload them into the storage tank from where we start operation- so that the boat can go and bring another consignment of crude.
My method is unique
“My method refines quality petrol, kerosene, diesel and gas. The quality of my product is better than what they produce in government refineries because we took samples of the products to laboratory for test. We actually did the sample test before we started mass production, though production never lasted for over two weeks before the military came to destroy all my efforts.
How we get crude
“We have man