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Posts Tagged ‘PTTEP Australasia’

Australia Oil Well on Fire

Posted by feww on November 1, 2009

UPDATE: Australia Blazing Oil Rig May Collapse

Australia West Atlas oil well catches fire

ON FIRE: West Atlas drilling rig and the Montara wellhead platform

Oil Spill AFP via BBCThe oil well which has caused a massive spill in the Timor Sea, off the north west coast of Australia, caught fire on Sunday

PTTEP Australasia, a Thai-based energy  company which operates the well, said the fire broke out as it made another attempt to plug the underwater leak.

After a 10-week leak, West atlas drilling rig and the Montara wellhead platform caught fire on Sunday. Photo AFP via BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

“Fire broke out on the West Atlas drilling rig and the Montara wellhead platform after the West Triton successfully intercepted the leaking well this morning,” Ferguson said.

“Well kill operations were under way at the time, but have now been suspended. Non-essential personnel are being evacuated from the West Triton.

“Current operations are focused on reducing the intensity of the fire.”

The rig’s Thai-based operator, PTTEP Australasia, said specialists had finally succeeded in the first stage  of plugging the well at 9:30 am (0130 GMT) after weeks of failed attempts.

“They had not actually stopped or killed the leak… and then unfortunately the fire broke out,” AFP reported a company spokeswoman as saying.

For more than 10 weeks the leak has been spewing  oil and gas at at least 400 barrels a day.

Jose Martins, a director at PTTEP Australasia said the only way to extinguish the fire was to plug the leak.


When oil, gas and condensate began seeping into the Timor Sea PTTEP estimated it would take 50 days to plug the well in an area described by Tourism Australia as “one of the world’s last true wilderness areas.” Three previous attempts by PTTEP Australasia to plug the leak, 2.5km below the sea bed, by pumping it full of heavy mud, have failed. Photograph: Debra Glasgow/WWF. Caption: Guardian UK. More Photos…

“The measures which we have been able to take so far can only mitigate the fire. They will not stop the fire.”The best way to stop the fire is to complete the well-kill and stop the flow of gas and oil at the surface from the H-1 well, cutting off the fuel source for the fire.”

Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said in a statement that some of the world’s leading experts were working to fix the leaking well and respond to this latest problem.

Mr Ferguson said the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority had been called out to help fight the fire and that Geoscience Australia and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority were on standby.

However Greg Hunt,  an opposition spokesman, has accused Environment Minister Peter Garrett of doing nothing to stop the oil leak.

“Ten weeks of complacency, 10 weeks of drift, 10 weeks of inaction from Mr Garrett,” he said.”In the absence of action… the prime minister must step in and convene a national environmental emergency task force within the next 24 hours.”

“The government remains deeply concerned about this incident,” Ferguson said.

“From day one our top priorities have been the safety of people and the protection of the environment. Stopping the flow of oil and gas safely and as soon as possible remains our prime objective.”

The Australian government on Saturday released a report saying birds and marine species were at risk from the oil spill, but it said the full impact could not be immediately determined. Reuters reported.

“This spill has been a disaster from the outset,” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said on Sunday.

“Coupled with the environmental impacts of the oil entering the ocean, the potentially hazardous effects of the dispersants being used and the threat to fisheries both here and in Indonesia, now we have a fire on our hands.”

PTTEP plans to produce about 35,000 barrels of oil per day from the Montara field, which should boost its 2009 petroleum sales to 240,000 bpd.

PTTEP operates more than 40 oil and gas projects in 14 countries throughout  the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with Montara as its main exploration and production business, said Reuters.

PTTEP are just as guilty as BP [America.] The difference is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation, do their jobs, whereas Aussie authorities sit on their thumbs.

When the US govt takes BP to the cleaners, shouldn’t Australia show some grit, too?

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    Posted in Australian government, ecological disaster, Indonesia, Leaking Oil Well, oil slick, Timor Sea Oil Slick | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

    Timor Sea Oil Slick: Growing Australian Disaster

    Posted by feww on September 23, 2009

    UPDATE: Australia Oil Well on Fire

    Timor Sea: Terra Satellite Images (MODIS)

    Background Information:

    Oil Slick in the Timor Sea (Earth Observatory)

    timorsea_tmo_2009260_1

    timorsea_tmo_2009260_2
    What was probably a sheen of oil calmed the waters of the Timor Sea and darkened the mirror-like reflection of the Sun when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on September 17, 2009. The top image shows the wider area, with part of Western Australia at lower right. The colorful water near the shore is probably a mixture of sediment and phytoplankton. The bottom image is a close up of the area outlined in white.

    The oil was leaking from a well that was damaged during drilling on August 21. According to news reports, chemicals that help the oil disperse are being dropped on the slick from airplanes. The light-colored streaks may be some combination of oil and dispersant.

    Twice-daily images of the Timor Sea are available from the MODIS Rapid Response Team Website. Note that the slick will not be visible in every image; viewing conditions have to be perfect for a thin sheen of oil or droplets to be visible in photo-like satellite imagery. (See a previous image in this event for an explanation.)

    NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data obtained from the Goddard Land Processes data archives (LAADS). Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

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    Posted in AMSA, australian oil spill, Kimberley coast, leaking oil rig, Montara development, Montara Well Head Platform, offshore oil wells, offshore Australian oil well, oil slick, SeaDrill Ltd, Sunda Trench | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    How Much Oil Pollution Is Too Much?

    Posted by feww on September 7, 2009

    Major Disaster in Timor Sea

    Image of the Day: “The Water is an Orangy Color”

    Will the Australian oil spill grow to an even bigger disaster  than Exxon Valdez?

    water from Timor sea dispersal area
    “The water is an ‘orangy’ color, the birds have gone and marine life is sick and dying.” —Commercial Fisherman, George Hamilton, who visited the dispersal area in Timor sea. Image is a frame grab from a video broadcast by ABCNews (Australia).  Image may be subject to copyright.

    The oil spill will continue for many weeks, possibly months before the leak can be stopped.

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    Posted in australian oil spill, Kimberley coast, leak at the West Atlas oil rig., leaking oil rig, Montara development, Montara Well Head Platform, offshore oil wells, offshore Australian oil well, oil slick, Sunda Trench, West Atlas oil rig | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Australian Oil Disaster May Get a Lot Worse

    Posted by feww on August 23, 2009

    No Worries, It’s Only Crude Oil!

    Leaking offshore Australian oil well will probably spill into Timor Sea until October

    A leaking offshore Australian oil well will probably spill crude  oil into the Timor Sea for the next two months before it can be plugged, according to the Rig operator PTTEP Australasia.

    According to various reports the crew of 69 aboard the rig were evacuated shortly after the leak was detected.

    The leak would cause tremendous harm to the wildlife in the region.

    Australia Oil Spill
    In this image taken from a footage shot by AuBC/CH7/CH9 as pool and distributed via APTN, white smoke billows from an oil rig 2 off northwest coast in Australia, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009. A plane loaded with chemical dispersants rushed Saturday toward a slick spilling from an oil rig in remote waters off Australia’s northwest coast. (AP Photo/AuBC/CH7/CH9, POOL via APTN). Image may be subject to copyright.

    The leak began on Friday after the well was ruptured some  3,500 meters below sea level, PTTEP Australasia said, adding that they plan to drill a relief well to intersect the existing well and stop its flow by pouring in mud to cement the leak.

    The company said that it would take 20 days to bring a new offshore drilling rig from Singapore, and another four weeks to drill the new well.

    The spill is now about 25 km long and at least 45 meters wide. The operator refuses to say how much oil is being spilled into the Timor Sea.

    Australia Oil Spill
    In this image taken from a footage shot by AuBC/CH7/CH9 as pool and distributed via APTN, white smoke billows from an oil rig 2 with a slick of oil off northwest coast in Australia, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009. A plane loaded with chemical dispersants rushed Saturday toward a slick spilling from an oil rig in remote waters off Australia’s northwest coast. (AP Photo/AuBC/CH7/CH9, POOL via APTN). Image may be subject to copyright.

    “Environmentalists have expressed concern about the giant slick, saying the entire area is ecologically significant and part of an ‘ocean super highway’ for migrating animals between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.” Reuters reported.

    “Many breathe air and could surface in the oil, an official of WWF Australia said.”

    “From a global scale this is one of the most important places on the planet for ocean wildlife,” Reuters reported Gilly Llewelyn, WWF Australia’s director of conservation as saying.

    The area is regarded as  “critical migration routes,”  like an “oceanic super highway,” she said, adding that three endangered species of turtles, as well as sea snakes, and pygmy blue whales may be affected.

    The spill reportedly occurred at the Montara development, which was scheduled to start  production by the end of 2009.  “The West Atlas drilling unit is owned by Norway’s SeaDrill Ltd, but operated by PTTEP Australasia.” Reuters reported.

    oil slick
    Oil leak coming from the offshore West Atlas oil rig (top), Montara Project, about 255km off the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia state. Image: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

    According to an aerial photo released by AFP the center of the slick is located at  12° 35.645′ S, 124° 49.000’E, about 255km off the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia state.

    The Montara Project: A Leaky Dream?

    The following information is from Coogee Resources website

    Overview

    The Company intends to develop the Montara Project via an FPSO located at the Montara field with tie-backs to the Skua and Swift/Swallow fields via flowlines. The development plan for the Montara Project involves nine producing wells, of which six will be drilled in Phase 1 (currently scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2008) and three will be drilled in Phase 2 (currently scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2009). Coogee Resources has commenced work on the design, engineering and procurement activities for the Montara Project. Facility construction began in July 2007 and development drilling is scheduled to commence in early 2008.

    Location and geography

    The Montara, Skua and Swift/Swallow oil fields are located in the southern Timor Sea approximately 650km west of Darwin. This section of the Timor Sea is administered by the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry Fisheries and Mines (NTDPIFM) within Australian territory and is free from any potential issues of sovereignty.

    The Montara oil field is approximately 82 kilometres south-west of the existing operations at Challis. The Skua oil field is located 25 kilometres north-west of the Montara oil field and the Swift/Swallow oil field is located 9 kilometres south-east of the Skua field.

    Montara Project Development Schematic

    Image and introduction material may be subject to copyright.


    Coogee Resources Exploration Focus Areas. Image and introduction material may be subject to copyright.

    What caused the rupture?

    Timor Plate
    Map of Timor Plate. Original map license:  CC-BY-SA

    Drilling at the edge of abyss. FEWW believes that the rupture in the well occurred as a result of the recent intense seismic activity in the northern and central sections of Sunda Trench to the northwest of the Montara oil field, as well as ongoing moderate seismic activity on Timor Plate boundaries. The region is one of the most active segments of the Pacific Ring of fire, the one place you wouldn’t want to drill for oil. NO sane geologist or geophysicist/field seismologist would recommend drilling activity in the area. You have been warned!

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    Posted in australian oil spill, Kimberley coast, Montara development, SeaDrill Ltd, Sunda Trench | Tagged: , , , , | 15 Comments »