Timor oil permit given despite Thai company’s role in disaster
Paul Cleary; 10/5/10; (2 Items)
The Rudd government approved the acquisition of an offshore oil permit by the Thai company responsible for the Montara disaster just three months after its 10-week oil leak in the Timor Sea. The government approved PTTEP’s acquisition of the Oliver field in the Timor Sea before the inquiry by Commissioner David Borthwick into last year’s rig disaster had even begun. The scale of the disaster led Resources Minister Martin Ferguson to approve the inquiry, which is due to report on June 18.While the inquiry was still gathering evidence, the Foreign Investment Review Board approved the Oliver acquisition. Wayne Swan is ultimately responsible for FIRB decisions. The parallels between the Montara disaster and the massive Gulf of Mexico spill are striking. Faulty cementing by Halliburton on the Montara is believed to have caused the leak, and the same company did the cementing on BP’s sub-contracted Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf.
First-hand accounts of Deepwater Horizon rig blaze
Three storeys above the deck of the Deepwater Horizon, the oil platform drilling 80km from land in the Gulf of Mexico, Micah Sandell last month watched the rig beneath him blown apart. Mr Sandell, 40, was thrown from his seat as a blowout, triggered by a bubble of methane gas, blasted through the structure. As he ran down a ladder through a wall of flames, another explosion knocked him from his feet and sent him plunging almost 8m to the deck. “I took off running. How, I can’t tell you,” he told The New York Times in the first witness account of the disaster. With some of the other 126 workers on board, he dashed for one of two lifeboats on the bow. Panic gripped the crew. Men were climbing over one another, fighting their way on to the boats which can hold up to 50 people each.