A major scandal may be brewing in the Nigerian oil and gas industry following claims by Rivers-born scientist, Ricky Alioma Owunari Brown that his technology has been stolen.
Brown, who hails from oil-rich Kula community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State is therefore seeking the intervention of the International Criminal Court of Justice at the Hague, over claims that a technology he invented to ease the transportation of oil and gas products in wells and pipelines, have been hijacked.
Mr. Brown has also petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) as well as President Mohammadu Buhari, urging them to use their good offices to investigate his claims and ensure that justice is served.
The tools manufacturer who made the appeal recently at a press conference in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, claimed that the stolen technology, known as Paraffin Control System or de-waxer flow enhancer, is his brain child and product of years of intense research.
Mr. Brown, a Director in Grand Check Limited, an oil and gas firm headquartered in Port Harcourt, said the De-waxer Flow Enhanser is a patented product of Grand Check and it’s sister company, Loving Brothers Limited and their American partner, Ener Tec Inc. USA.
He however claims he has established a conspiracy between a Nigerian chemicals dealer and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) as well as the Federal Ministry of Industry using an American company, Paraffin Melting Tool, to steal what he claimed was a hard-earned intellectual property.
He said his claim was premised on the fact that the regulatory body failed to address the complaint which he raised in a petition made to the body, but rather used the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to “legitimize’ the alleged IP theft.
Brown disclosed that Paraffin Melting Tool had a similar technology to what he invented, and that while the name of one is Paraffin Melting Tool his own technology is Paraffin Control System.
Narrating the genesis of the problem, he said it began in year 2000 while Grand Check and sister companies, Ricano Oil and Gas Company and Loving Brothers Company were trying to firm up the technology and in the process, invited an American company, Cal Dive International, to Nigeria to help out in deployment of the technology in Nigeria.
“But rather than keep to terms of our agreement, Cal Dive went behind to the regulatory body, collecting our jobs, so much so that Ricano became bankrupt as all investors left the company, a development that resulted in the death of its Director, Mr. Larry Braide. It was because they killed Ricano that we brought our sister company, Loving Brothers”, Brown lamented.
He went on, “We reported to the US Embassy and they asked us to register with the Consulate, which we did. We were given some magazines from where we got in touch with Ener Tec. Inc. USA.
“Ener Tec Inc. USA is an American company that appointed us as Sole Distributor of Paraffin Control System. We had a deal with them to help us deploy our technology because at that time we didn’t have the deployment skills
“So, we invited Ener Tec. Inc. USA. They came to Nigeria and we gave them everything and they gave us a letter that they’re going to work with us. We will work with them as partners in terms of deployment, both offshore construction and others so that we can develop our people”, he said.
He went on: “To our greatest surprise, we now saw an American company which came up with the name ‘Paraffin Melting Tool, a technology similar to what we have. The idea is to export ours to America and then return it as a foreign technology and claim to have been in existence from 2016, forgetting that our technology has been under incubation since 2003”.
He said he got to know what the “IP thief” was up to through a publication in the Guardian newspaper of November 24, 2021 where the chemicals dealer claimed that he has invented a new technology called Paraffin Melting Tool.
“The impostor claimed that after testing their tool here in Nigeria, they went to America, to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, where every technology owners display their tools and then claim they’ve deployed the technology in Nigeria”, Brown said.
He expressed belief that as a chemical dealer as well as a specialized Well Testing person who uses the chemicals to clean the wells, talking about elimination of chemicals will automatically put him out of business.
“Now, that’s where the cartels in the industry informed him and that’s why he came up with this idea of Paraffin Melting Tool.
“We have been in existence even before 2003, just that the industry refused it because it was AC.
“We’ve been trying to see how we can change to DC which we succeeded using the DC”, he stated.
Brown dismissed the claim that his firm did not get patent for the product, describing such insinuation as baseless.
“Please where was the chemical dealer and Paraffin Melting Tool in the year 2003 when we were appointed as an exclusive distributor of the paraffin control system to market and promote the product based on an appointment date of January 10, 2003”, he queried, assuring that he would produce the documents upon request.
He asked further, “At what point did he know about Paraffin Control System? Our technology started in late 90s using AC but DPR said it was dangerous for the Wells, hence they won’t use. We went to Ener Tec Inc. USA and upgraded to DC”
Ricky Brown while harping on the conspiracy theory, stressed that any claim of Paraffin Melting Tool coming to Nigeria in 2016 is to him, a blatant lie.
“We have all the proof that Paraffin Melting Tool stole our technology. We moved in the USA where every technology owners display their technology in OTC. We never saw them since 2012 to 2016. We have been going on exhibition there in Houston, Texas and have never seen any name as Paraffin Melting Tool. If they claim they exist, how come they are not known even in their own country?”, he asked.
Brown revealed that the benefit of his invention to the oil and gas industry is enormous as it’s application would have a positive impact on the environment and reduce costs of production with a mild temperature.
He further added that the de-waxing tool would assist the oil and gas industries at a very affordable and environmentally friendly cost.
His words, “De-waxing tool and its hybrid accessories (PLT) or analogue in one run will diagnose and acquire data/parameters ahead which will be employed to determine if there will be a requirement for work-over services; thus, saving cost and time, this is an added value, advantage over other existing de-waxing methods”.
The distraught inventor disclosed that he applied for approval to the regulatory body on September 14, 2020 with reference number DPR/E&S/SCATA/TA/485/28, which the body obliged him, noting that although approval was secured; he was not given the opportunity to deploy it to the end users.
“We are not the regulatory body which has the moral responsibility to communicate with the multinationals that operates in the Nigerian territory about the environment, risk reduction, safety enhancement and reduction of cost by improving flow rates”, he said.
Brown said he took the technology to several conferences and even displayed it at the 2nd edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board Research and Development Fair and Conference in September 2021.
“We have provided this information for investigation and evaluation on the ownership of the technology and the Nigerian patent”, Brown said, while restating that the invention was not intended for self aggrandizement but for the benefit of the Niger Delta region, Nigeria and the world at large.
“The summary is that we have spent so much money in research, and the tool is ready but the regulatory body is not supporting the tool to compare it’s efficacy and value to the oil and gas industry.
“They only support the foreign tools and doubting the capacity of the Nigerian tools like what happened with Innoson Motors.
“But I’m telling them that the Nigerian tools will perform better than foreign just like the Nigerian wire is reputed as being better than it’s foreign counterpart. If you look at other temperatures, they’re extremely high but our tool is a mild temperature”, he declared.
He appealed to the regulatory body to consider the huge resources that have been expended on the project, and put away sentiments by allowing a fair ground for Nigerian technologists, insisting that the chemicals dealer is collaborating with foreign companies to kill Grand Check, just the same way they did to Ricano.
The Rivers-born inventor also revealed that a new technology capable of eradicating malaria and typhoid is in his kitty, adding that the invention will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
Mr. Brown explained that the device will clean up a dirty typhoid and malaria prone environment and prevent people from contracting the decease. He added that he experimented on the tech exposing himself on a dirty typhoid and malaria prone environment and contracted the decease. “But when I applied the technology by exposing myself once again to that ugly environment, it worked because it cleaned the environment and I never contracted the decease”, he said, but disclosed that the technology will be launched in an unnamed foreign country.
“Once again, I appeal to the conscience of the ICC, ICPC and Mr. President, and good spirited Nigerians, to wade into the issue”, Brown begged.###