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Leaking oil well in Indonesia causes 84 km slick

29 July 2019

Oil from an undersea well in the Java Sea that began leaking about two weeks ago is threatening to spread further as winds extend the 84 km oil slick.  State oil company PT Pertamina says the flow from the damaged well offshore Karawang, West Java, has declined to below 3,000 barrels per day. The spill has contaminated beaches in at least 10 villages mostly to the west of the YYA-1 well, the energy ministry said on July 29.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

Company officials have said it may take about eight weeks before the leaking well can be fully shut in. A semi-submersible rig will arrive near the leak site in August to start injecting cement into the broken well. Pertamina has hired US well control experts Boots and Coots to provide advice.

The company has mobilised 32 vessels to control the oil spill and combat the risk of it catching fire. In April 2018, oil from a leaking undersea pipeline near a Pertamina refinery caught fire and killed four fishermen in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan. 

Pertamina has mobilised 800 people and more than 100 military personnel to clean up the affected coastline and has set up health posts in four of the coastal villages where the oil has come ashore. The company is using high-speed water skimmers and has installed more booms in the south and east of the offshore oil platform to prevent the spread of oil, the company said.

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