BUSINESS

Indonesia calls on Australia to Expedite Legal Process of Montara Oil-Spill

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Ferdi Tanoni of the Care for West Timor Foundation (YPTB), right, speaks in a press conference after filing a class action lawsuit against PTTEP Australasia over oil leaking from its Montara oil rig in the Timor Sea in 2009. (Courtesy of Yayasan Peduli Timor Barat/)

The Australian Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism estimated that more than 2,000 barrels of oil had leaked each day into the surrounding water before the company succeeded in capping the well three months later.

Ferdi Tanoni of the Care for West Timor Foundation (YPTB), right, speaks in a press conference after filing a class action lawsuit against PTTEP Australasia over oil leaking from its Montara oil rig in the Timor Sea in 2009. (Courtesy of Yayasan Peduli Timor Barat/)

Maritime Coordinating Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has contacted high-ranking Australian officials to speed up the legal process for the class action lawsuit against Thailand-based oil producer PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) Australasia.

The lawsuit was filed by Care for West Timor Foundation (YPTB)’s advocacy team, which represents 13,000 East Nusa Tenggara seaweed farmers affected by the Montara oil spill, which occurred following the blowout of an oil rig operated by PTTEP Australasia.

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“I have tried to reach George Brandis [Australian Attorney General] to ask for his support in order to speed up this process,” Luhut said on Tuesday in Jakarta.

While the Australian government has received compensation for the environmental damage caused by the oil spill, the Indonesian government is still pursuing similar compensation.

However, Luhut said he was yet to receive any response from the Australian government. “At the same time, we also are also filing a case to the central court in Jakarta and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

In August 2009, an explosion rocked a rig operated by PTTEP Australasia, causing crude oil and gas to spill into the surrounding waters. The leak continued for 74 days before the company managed to pump mud into a relief well.

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The Australian Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism estimated that more than 2,000 barrels of oil had leaked each day into the surrounding water before the company succeeded in capping the well three months later.

The leak reportedly destroyed seaweed crops in West Timor and killed fish populations for local fishermen. (dis/ags, The Jakarta Post)

 

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