The environmental disaster continues in the Timor Sea as once again the company responsible for the 70 day oil spill in Australia (PTTEP) has failed to plug the leak that has allowed millions of litres of toxic oil to pour from a ruptured well. PTTEP has now admitted the leak is likely to take several more weeks to stem. This means the oil spill is on course to be Australia's largest ever.
"Another day, another setback and another 60,000 litres of toxic oil pollutes our sea. How much more time is the Australian Government going to give the oil company before they say enough is enough and intervene? Every day this disgrace continues is another body blow to our precious ocean wildlife. This has stained Australia's international reputation and is an embarrassment to the industry," said Darren Kindleysides, Director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
Australia's peak petroleum industry body has finally admitted this shouldn't have happened. However, reports are now surfacing of a second leak - this time of gas - from pipelines at the nearby Puffin oil field over the past month. This further undermines the oil and gas industry's claims of infallibility and casts doubt on their ability to operate in a way that doesn't damage the marine environment. An urgent examination is needed to determine why these accidents happen and put safeguards in place immediately to protect the marine environment from further damage.
"This spill - and the abject failure to stem it - challenges the ability of the oil and gas industry to operate safely in Australia's waters. The impacts on Australia's sea life are likely to continue to unfold for years to come. The Government must introduce a moratorium on new oil exploration licences until the causes of this spill are understood and the industry can guarantee it won't happen again," concluded Kindleysides.