The Montara Oil Spill
The major oil and gas leak that happened in the Montara oil field in the Timor Sea, off the northern coast of Western Australia, was the Montara Oil Spill. This was one of the vilest oil disasters of Australia. The incident happened from the well head platform of Montara on 21 August,2009 and continued until 3 November,2009. This was dreadful as the leaking lasted for 74 days in total. It was found that a total of 23.5 million L of oil was spread over a large area and eventually went into the Indonesian Waters. Billions of losses were reported in the local economies in the closest region of Indonesia, Nusa Tenggara Timur. The 75-day accident lead to widespread sickness and health conditions among the people. It was claimed by the Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert that the spill was much greater than the reports said. WWF-Australia also claimed the oil spill accident to be the worse than expectations.
Many hard attempts were taken by PTTEPAA to control and cease the oil leak, but all was a failure. After the failure of four attempts, the fifth attempt was a success when PTTEPAA pumped about 3400 barrels of mud into a relief well to stop the leak. At the Montara Oil Field, none of the five wells of PTTEP has proper safety controls.
The oil spill had a major impact on the environment too.
Environmental Effects of the Montara Oil Spill
It was found by the scientific studies of the Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities on 19 November 2010, that no oil was found at the Australian mainland or Indonesia coast.
West Timor, Indonesia
The fishermen in Indonesia claimed that the oil spill polluted their national waters, and further killed thousands of fishes. All this has a worse result as many people faced skin diseases and claimed many human lives. The Montara Oil Field is located south of Indonesia’s Pasir Island that is one of the most popular fishing location for many East Nusa Tenggara fishermen. In October 2010, the fishermen claimed that there were rapid declines in the number of red snapper that were caught by the Indonesians, and around 7000 fishers were impacted as the income was reduced completely and some of them even went bankrupt. Independent studies were conducted by the Australian Department for the Environment and was observed that about 98.6 per cent of the Montara Oil remained in the Australian Waters.
The President of East Timor said that the Australian Government and the Thai company that owns the platform are responsible for this major oil accident. Thus, he will strive for compensation for the loss and damage that was caused by the accident to the environment of the country.
Impact on Wildlife
The Australian Government began with the environmental monitoring program that comprised of a series of operational studies that included the wildlife monitoring program. The main focus of the wildlife monitoring program was to assess and treat the wildlife that was harshly affected by the oil spill.