Indonesia May Plug Java Oil Spill Early as Crude Leak Eases
(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil spilling from an undersea well in Indonesia has steeply declined, raising prospects of an early shutdown of the leak that threatens to damage marine life and beaches around the heavily populated island of Java.
The leak rate has fallen to about 300 barrels per day, or 10% of the spill when it was first noticed more than two weeks ago, Nicke Widyawati, president director of PT Pertamina, the operator, told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday.
“We see the spill is trending down now and that means we can speed up the efforts to shut the well,” Widyawati said. “We had previously announced that it may take seven to eight weeks to plug the leak. Hopefully it can be sooner than that.”
The state-owned Pertamina has mobilized and alerted 32 vessels for oil-spill combat and firefighting among other measures. A total of 800 people and more than 100 military personnel were also involved in cleaning up oil spills on the beach. It has also installed five high-speed water skimmers to suck the fuel from the sea surface and put up a static oil boom stretching 2,000 meters around the damaged well offshore Karawang, West Java.
Pertamina has said efforts were being made to drill a new well to intercept the leaking well and close it by pumping in cement. The company stands ready to respond to any increase in the oil spill rate, Pertamina Upstream Director Dharmawan H. Samsu said.
The incident began around 1:30 a.m. on July 12, according to Pertamina, while crews were “perforating” the well, a process to create holes in the well casing so that hydrocarbons flow in from the reservoir.
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