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Homemade Oil Refineries in Ras al-Ain
Ras al Ain, Syria
By U.S. Editor
18 Apr 2013

Photos by Jeffry Ruigendijk
For full text by Annabell Van den Berghe, click here: http://transterramedia.com/media/20137

Abu Zechariah and his two sons are farmers in the Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain that are among the many people throughout Syria who have decided to start privately refining crude oil as a way to make money. Trucks come from Ramalan to Ras al-Ain, where they then begin the process. Despite the danger of using rudimentary refinery equipment, for them, the pay-off is worth the risk.

Rival rebel groups and regime forces continue to battle for control of strategic oil and gas fields in the northeast and east of the country. Since the war began, the local demand for oil has increased dramatically because of the disruption in supply to the west, which has led to small, privately-owned refineries being built throughout Syria. Though profitable, this process of refining crude oil is unhealthy and highly volatile, with the chance of an explosion anytime during the process.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil wells in Bojonegoro a regency in East Java. Previously known as a major producer of teak and tobacco, Bojonegoro is now the focus of renewed attention after a new oil field was found in the area. Bojonegoro, Indonesia.

Traditional oil wells in Bojonegoro Indonesia. Bojonegoro is a regency in East Java, Indonesia, about 110 km west of Surabaya. Previously known as a major producer of teak and tobacco, Bojonegoro is the focus of attention in Indonesia as a new oil field has been found in this area. This oil find is the biggest oil discovery in Indonesia in three decades and one of the biggest reserve in Indonesia.

This part of Java has had a long association with oil, and the Dutch, Indonesia's former colonial rulers, operated oil fields in the area although never realized the potential of Cepu. Freelance oil men use rickety wooden frames with pulleys, a few still operated by hand, to retrieve oil in wells up to 400 meters (1,300ft) deep. They then heat the oil on wood fires to burn off water. Miners said they could earn from 200,000 rupiah ($20) a day shared between a team of at least three.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner separates water from the crude oil in the collection tank. The oil which has settled on the top of the water will be distilled into diesel when heated in an oil drum and then sold. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner pours some crude oil into a steal drum as part of the distillation process, creating diesel fuel. Distillation is accomplished by heating the filtered crude oil to between 200 °C (392 °F) and 350 °C (662 °F). Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miners finish off the construction of a new oil derrick made of trees from the surrounding forest. This area in Cepu Indonesia is known as the 'eternal oil field'. Miners frequently set up new oil wells in the area. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miners prepare the pulley system for a new oil derrick this area in Cepu Indonesia is known as the 'eternal oil field'. Miners frequently set up new oil wells in the area. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miners prepare a disused oil derrick for renewed operation. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil wells in Bojonegoro a regency in East Java. Previously known as a major producer of teak and tobacco, Bojonegoro is now the focus of renewed attention after a new oil field was found in the area. Bojonegoro, Indonesia. 25/01/2011.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner finishes his shift on the oil derrick. Miners use a fork shaped stick to insure the down shaft is correctly positioned when pumping oil. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Oil is pumped from the ground using a truck engine. The body of the truck is discarded and the engine and gearbox are set on the ground. A cable is wound around one of the wheels, which is then attached to the down hole pump. The operator puts the engine in neutral to drop the pump into the hole, and then puts it in reverse to wind up the wheel and pump out the crude oil/water emulsion. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

A traditional oil miner takes a rest as he waits for his processed diesel to be collect for sale in nearby villages. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Distilled diesel oil pours into a tank as miner waits for the sale to a distributor, when it will be sold in nearby villages.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner pours diesel fuel into drums which will be transported to nearby villages to be sold. Miners said they could earn from 200,000 rupiah ($20) a day shared between a team of at least three. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

A down hole pump releases a wave of crude oil and water onto the ground as part of the process of oil extraction. The miner uses a branch to control the down hole pump as it exits the ground. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner prepares a fresh barrel with which to distil crude oil into diesel. Oil drums are buried in the ground with a pit dug beneath for the fire, creating a kilning effect the refining process can begin, lasting around 6-8 hours. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner prepares a fresh barrel with which to distil crude oil into diesel. Oil drums are buried in the ground with a pit dug beneath for the fire, creating a kilning effect the refining process can begin, lasting around 6-8 hours. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Miners exchange money for the purchase of diesel fuel at one of the oil wells. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Oil gathers at the end of a hillside sluice. This crude oil will then be collected and poured into a heated drum as part of the distillation process, creating diesel fuel. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Miners watch on from the hill side as a new oil derrick is constructed. Cepu, Indonesia. 24/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
25 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner gathers buckets of crude oil to begin the distillation process of converting it into diesel fuel. Distillation is accomplished by heating the filtered crude oil to between 200 °C (392 °F) and 350 °C (662 °F). Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miners scoop crude out of a hillside sluice. The oil which has settled on the top of the water will be distilled into diesel when heated in an oil drum and then sold. Cepu, Indonesia. 24/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miners take a rest from work. Previously known as a major producer of teak and tobacco, Bojonegoro is the focus of attention in Indonesia as a new oil field has been found in this area. This oil find is the biggest oil discovery in Indonesia in three decades and one of the biggest reserve in Indonesia. Cepu, Indonesia. 24/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner watches on as oil is extracted and then sent through a filtration system consisting of small channels dug into the hillside. The crude oil/water emulsion is filtered as it pours into pools and oil drums, and is eventually collected and then heated. The heated crude is distilled into diesel fuel. Cepu, Indonesia. 24/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

Traditional oil wells in Bojonegoro Indonesia. Bojonegoro is a regency in East Java, Indonesia, about 110 km west of Surabaya. Previously known as a major producer of teak and tobacco, Bojonegoro is the focus of attention in Indonesia as a new oil field has been found in this area. This oil find is the biggest oil discovery in Indonesia in three decades and one of the biggest reserve in Indonesia. Cepu, Indonesia. 24/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner pours some crude oil into a heated drum as part of the distillation process, creating diesel fuel. Oil drums are buried in the ground with a pit dug beneath for the fire, creating a kilning effect. Cepu, Indonesia. 24/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

The range of hills area, surrounded by hardwood tress in Wonocolo village, in the subdistrict of Kedewan , which is the regency of Bojonegoro, East Java , is known as the field of eternal petroleum. When the Dutch left the area, they also left behind hundreds of oil wells. From those hundreds, about fifty of the Dutch-inherited wells are still active. And this region is known as "Blok Wonocolo". Bojonegoro, Indonesia. 24/01/2011.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

Traditional oil wells in Bojonegoro a regency in East Java. Previously known as a major producer of teak and tobacco, Bojonegoro is now the focus of renewed attention after a new oil field was found in the area. Bojonegoro, Indonesia. 24/01/2011.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
24 Jan 2011

Traditional oil miner prepares a fire with which to distil crude oil into diesel. Oil drums are buried in the ground with a pit dug beneath for the fire, creating a kilning effect the refining process can begin, lasting around 6-8 hours. Cepu, Indonesia. 24/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
23 Jan 2011

In Bojonegoro Indonesia, oil is extracted and then sent through a filtration system consisting of small channels dug into the hillside. The crude oil/water emulsion is filtered as it pours into pools and oil drums, and is eventually collected and then heated. The heated crude is distilled into diesel fuel. Cepu, Indonesia. 23/01/2011