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Santos may avoid toxic mud prosecution [Indonesia]
Author: AAP [Australian Associated Press], Published on: 16 October 2006
Australian company Santos looks likely to avoid any criminal prosecution over a massive environmental disaster linked to its part-owned exploratory gas well in Indonesia's east Java...A seemingly unstoppable "mud volcano" erupted 200 metres from Santos' part-owned Banjar Panji exploration well during deep drilling almost five months ago....the thick sulphuric sludge has flooded eight villages...forcing the permanent relocation of 12,000 local residents...Authorities are investigating whether to charge several workers and companies directly involved in drilling at the site, including Operator Lapindo Brantas [part of Energi Mega Persada] which ordered the drilling...Lapindo has a 50 [%] stake in the exploratory well, while PT Medco [part of MedcoEnergi] holds 32 [%], and Australian miner Santos owns 18 [%]...[the head of East Java provincial police's criminal unit Amhar Azeth] said it was unlikely police would pursue a criminal case against Santos...Environmental campaigner Walhi is considering launching a separate civil action against Lapindo...