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Indonesia seeks $2.4bn oil spill compensation

Author: Anthony Deutsch, Financial Times, Published on: 31 August 2010

Indonesia is seeking $2.4bn in damages from a Thai drilling company alleging it is responsible for an oil spill in the Timor Sea that has severely hit the livelihoods of fishing communities along its southeast coast. The claim was handed to the Australian subsidiary of Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production PCL…It is unclear how Jakarta arrived at the $2.4bn figure but local officials have cited the severe impact on the marine habitat and the long-term damage to the fishing communities. Anon Sirisaengtaksin, PTTEP’s chief executive, said the “long” claims process was in its early stages, but the company would listen to arguments backed with scientific proof…But the company’s post-disaster monitoring programme indicated there was “minimal” long-term impact on the environment, Mr Sirisaengtaksin said. Oil began flowing into the sea after a blowout at the Montara wellhead in August 2009 in a unique marine habitat in the Coral Triangle . Within weeks, Indonesian fishermen saw drifting clumps of oil and dead fish. The leak, just off the northern coast of Australia, was capped after 74 days…An Australian government commissioned inquiry into the spill was completed more than two months ago, but its findings are yet to be made public…The platform, owned by the Norwegian-Bermudan offshore drilling company Seadrill, was operated by PTTEP Australasia, the Thai company’s subsidiary…

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