Digging for Oil in Old Wells | Oil squatters in Indonesia
Bojonegoro, East Java : The range of hills area, surrounded by the hardwood tress in the subdistrict of Kedewan, is known as the field of eternal petroleum.
Since being abandoned by the Dutch hundreds of the local oil wells have been springing up. They number in hundreds, about fifty of which were inherited from the Dutch and are still active. This region is known as "Blok Wonocolo". Some wells are exploited by the Indonesian petroleum giant PT Pertamina others are squatted by the local people organised as co operative groups.
The squatters dig the wells using old traditional way. Some use manpower and others use the diesel engines salvaged from secondhand trucks. Using winches, buckets and makeshift drills wells close to a depth of 100 meters are mined, extracting a rich sludge of mud water and oil locally called " lantung". The lantung is separated from the water and mud and then crudely refined for 4-8 hours.
This crude refining produces a very low grade Petroleum and diesel oil which is sold at 1/10 the price of commercially refined oil at Rp 350/liter.
For a days work each group of the workers can produce 4 drums of refined oil (850 litres).These and then distributed in Jerrycans to be sold in small roadside stores.
Photo documentary story / Photojournal by Indonesian Photographer Deni Prastyo Utomo (Hits: 98319)
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