Australia releases inquiry report on 2009 Montara oil spill

16:41, November 24, 2010      

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An inquiry into Australia's worst offshore oil spill on Wednesday recommended a review of the responsible company's license to operate in Australian territory.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson presented to Parliament the inquiry report on the August 2009 Montara oil spill off Australia's northwest coast.

Oil and gas flowed uncontrollably into the Timor Sea, about 250 kilometers off the coast, for about 10 weeks, making it the third largest oil spill ever in Australia.

According to the report, the responsible company PTTEP Australasia did not hold to approved control measures or well- construction standards, and therefore has breached relevant laws.

"The inquiry has concluded that PTTEP Australasia (Ashmore Cartier) Pty Ltd did not observe sensible oilfield practices at the Montara oilfield," the report said. "Major shortcomings in the company's procedures were widespread and systemic, directly leading to the blowout."

Ferguson told Parliament he has accepted the report's recommendation that PTTEP should have its operating license reviewed.

He said the Government is committed to doing everything possible to avoid incidents like Montara in the future, and to ensure we achieve the best and safest offshore petroleum industry in the world.

Ferguson also said the report found the Northern Territory (NT) Department of Resources was not a diligent regulator and has failed to adequately regulate operation of the oil well.



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