Australian gov't supports national monitoring of offshore oil rigs

12:49, June 30, 2010      

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Australia's Northern Territory Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis said on Wednesday the state government would support a national approach to monitoring offshore oil rigs.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has indicated a move to a national system following criticisms that the Territory government did not properly monitor wells in its jurisdiction.

Last year, in one of Australia's worst oil spills, the Montara oil rig leaked about 2,000 barrels of oil and gas into the Timor Sea every day for 11 weeks.

Vatskalis said the Territory did not fall down in its responsibilities but there needs to be a more coordinated approach.

"I fully support it because I think it's crazy to have to regulate something from Darwin that is about 250 kilometers north- west of Broome," he said.

"And the same thing applies to other jurisdictions."

The World Wildlife Fund's Gilly Llewellyn said the lack of resources to monitor rigs needs to be addressed.

"We never want to see a Montara incident again," she said.

"They put workers' safety at risk and they pose a massive threat to the environment. So the real test will be how do they plan to tighten the regulation."

Source: Xinhua


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