Australia's Worst Offshore Disaster Blamed on Owner of Oil Well

It was the worst offshore disaster in Australia's history, and contributed to the third largest oil spill in that country. Now, a report tabled by the Austrian government blames the operator of the oil well for the massive Montara oil spill in 2009 off Australia's northwest coast. The disaster which occurred last August, led to oil and gas flowing steadily into the waters of the Timor Sea. The spill continued for a period of about 10 weeks. According to a report tabled in the Austrian Parliament by Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, the incident occurred because the oil company that owns the well did not follow approved control measures or well construction practices. According to the report, the company PTTEP Australasia (Ashmore Cartier) Pvt. Ltd. failed to observe sensible practices at the Montara oilfield. The report details a number of shortcomings, and says that these were widespread in the company. The report also says that the Australian government is considering a review of PTTEP's offshore license. It also expresses concern at the fact that PTTEP has continued operating oil wells since the disaster. There was special criticism for the processes of the company, which the report found to be highly "deficient." According to the report, key personnel of the company were terribly incompetent, and the blowout was, in fact, an event that was to be expected. The report categorically states that if the PTTEP AA or the Northern Territory-designated authority had complied with all requirements, the blowout could have been prevented. Maritime lawyer Brian Beckcom is a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer whose primary focus is the representation of Jones Act seamen, including tankermen, galley hands, deckhands, cruise line crews, fishing vessel crew members, offshore workers and other maritime workers in accidents in Texas, across the country and international waters. Image Courtesy: Flickr – Phillip C Image Courtesy: Flickr –

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