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Indonesia to sue Thai oil company over 2009 oil spill

20 March 2017

Indonesia is preparing to sue the Australian subsidiary of Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) over alleged environmental damage from the Montara oil spill in 2009, the country's Maritime Affairs Ministry said. This follows the Indonesian government’s December 2016 decision to freeze the licenses and assets of PTTEP operations in Indonesia. 

Stock image
Stock image

Attempts at negotiation between both parties stalled in 2012, with PTTEP Australasia maintaining that no solid evidence had been supplied that any of the oil from the leaking well had reached the Indonesian mainland.

A total of about 30,000 barrels of oil were estimated to have leaked into the Timor Sea over 74 days after an explosion at PTTEP's Montara drilling rig off Australia's northwest coast in 2009.

The Montara incident was Australia's worst offshore drilling accident and an Australian government inquiry blamed the spill on systemic shortcomings at the Thai oil giant. PTTEP was fined A$510,000 by a Darwin court in 2011 after pleading guilty to four charges relating to workplace health and safety and failure to maintain good oilfield practice.

PTTEP said that inquiry and fine concluded all government legal matters in relation to the Montara incident.

Indonesian seaweed farmers started a separate class action suit in August 2016 seeking more than A$200 million from PTTEP Australasia to cover damages from the spill.
 


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