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Australia Fails to Plug Oil Leak in Timor Sea

Posted by feww on October 14, 2009

UPDATE: Australia Oil Well on Fire

Australia’s Disastrous Oil Spill in Timor Sea Grows in Magnitude

PTTEP, the company responsible for the disaster, said they would plug the well and stop the leak by mid-October. They Lied.

PTTEP failed for the second time to stop the oil leak from the West Atlas rig which has been leaking for nearly two months. They don’t know when a third attempt to stop the leak could be made, if any.

Environmentalists have been calling for the company to reveal how much oil has leaked out so far and what actually caused the damage in the first place.

The rig’s operators now say that plugging the leak is an “extraordinarily complex” task, a statement which a far cry from their earlier assurances.

Sources say up to 500 barrels of oil a day have been leaking into the Timor Sea since the leak was first discovered on August 21.

The West Atlas Oil Spill.
Oil leak from West Atlas oil rig into Timor Sea. Photo: Chris Twomey/WAToday. Image may be subject to copyright. More Images …

Indonesian fishermen have reportedly found “thousands of dead fish.”

John Carey, a spokesman for the Pew Environment Group in Kimberley, Australia was quoted as saying that there was still too much mystery surrounding the cause of the leak.

“We are deeply concerned,” he said.

“We have been given repeated assurances that the oil spill will be under control. The Australian public has been given repeated assurances and none of those assurances have been met.

“It’s now seven weeks on. Two attempts. We’ve seen delay after delay. So clearly we are very concerned about when this is actually going to get under control.”

Mr Carey acknowledges that the operation to plug the well is technical and complex one, targeting a small hole about 2.6 kilometres under the seabed.

“But what we’re calling for is some clarity on what’s actually happened,” he said.

“It is still unclear exactly what went wrong. Now surely after seven weeks the company should be able to tell us what happened.

“What was the scenario that caused this to happen. Was it purely a technical fault? Was it a lapse in practice? But we just don’t know.

“Part of the problem for the environment sector and for a range of other stakeholders is the lack of information from both the company and the Government.”

Another widespread concern echoed by Mr Carey is the extent of the spill. Just exactly how much oil has been spilled?

“There have been some suggestions that we look at, you know, near production wells that were already under operation,” he said.

“But again it’s based on estimates. We are now, the conservation sector, looking at seeing if we can get in our consultant, industry consultant to try to provide us [with a] better estimate.

“But this is a ridiculous scenario and it’s a really unfortunate scenario.

“We are all grasping at straws, wanting information, basic information that the company should be able to provide.”

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5 Responses to “Australia Fails to Plug Oil Leak in Timor Sea”

  1. Paul said

    The question is who must be responsible for this case ?
    Only PTTEP Australia or also the Australian Government ?

  2. Lyn said

    What animals are affected by oil spill in Timor sea and how will it affect the food chain? How deep has the oil spill have an affect? information please on migratory as well as local!

  3. […] Sunday 25th October 2009 Lonely Fish In a Jar. (Safe from the threat of Oil Spills) See also: […]

  4. Rod said

    West Atlas Oil rig is smack bang in the middle of the Timor sea, which puts it a long way away from Australia (200+) kilometers and about the same distance from Timor. The problem is that Australia has been doing zip towards stopping this spill because it is not endangering our coastline and it is only in the past week that Indonesia is starting to feel the effects of the spill that is steadily moving towards it’s cost. (see Jakarta Post website)The company that operates the rig, estimates that 400 barrels a day is leaking. other estimates based on production wells in the area put this figure closer to 3,000 barrels per day. it is now 54 days since this rig blew so the leakage is anything between 4 and 32 million litres of oil that has leaked and spread across the Timor sea, a place that is/was an rich area of whales, dugong, turtles, dolphins, Sea snakes, tuna and many other species. For the sake of the planet and far away places, everyone needs to jump up and down about this atrocity and stop oil companies from drilling in remote pristine areas like off the Kimberley coast, Alaska and many other sensitive areas. I live in Broome, Western Australia, and large Oil and gas companies want to destroy this area with LNG plants and huge collections of off-shore rigs like west Atlas that will threaten our pristine wilderness. We must unite to stop this mindless greed that will wipe-out our beautiful coastline.

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