Saturday, 22 August 2009

Oil still leaking off WA coast

WA Today reports that an oil spill eight miles long and 30 metres wide, that started in the early hours of Friday morning, has still not been curtailed.

It emanated from the drilling rig West Atlas, 250km off the north Kimberley coast in Western Australia. That's around 150km from the Ashmore Reef.

69 workers have been evacuated to Darwin.

"PTTEP is continuing its planning to determine how the leak can be brought under control so the West Atlas can be safely reboarded and begun to be restored to working order," a statement from the Norway Seadrill owner told WA Today. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is trying to the clean-up the mess.

Cairns conservationist Terry Spackman reminded me that some local politician said it would be safe to drill for oil on the Great Barrier Reef. Something about modern technology?


Shane Gilmer said...

So much for modern technology!

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Vince said...

The oil leaking from the Montara well is condensate. This is so light that it is almost gas. In the warm Timor sea waters (30°C) the condensate will evaporate within a few hours. In essence this poses no risk to the environment and will disperse natrurally for as long as it is flowing.

As regard the WWF statement this is a marine mammal super-highway; what a lot of tosh. It is requirement of all Environmental plans to keep a watch for cetations and to report sightings on official templates to the Envirnmental authorities. The occasional whale or turtle is sighted out there and the govt records will show that.

I would be very surprised if anyone has used dispersants to deal with the oil - dispersants are very harmful to marine life and would usually only be used if a slick is endangering a sensitive marine ecosystem such as a mangrove or coral reef.