Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Australia oil leak plugged, fire extinguished

November 4, 2009

THE leaking West Atlas oil rig has finally been plugged, and its owner said it had stopped the main fire at the Montara wellhead platform.

The oil began leaking on August 21 at the Montara oil field near the West Atlas oil rig, more than 200 kilometres north-west of Western Australia's Kimberley coastline.

During an attempt to plug the oil well with heavy mud on Sunday a fire broke out at the wellhead platform and the West Atlas oil rig.

The owner, PTT Exploration and Production, said the online well data indicated the situation was stable and the well pressure was being maintained after the fifth, and successful, attempt to fix the problem.

The well continues to be monitored, and a mixture of light mud and brine is continuing to be pumped into the relief well to maintain a stable situation,'' it said. ''The next phase of securing the wellhead platform will now be undertaken subject to strict safety considerations.''

Once the well platform had been secured the owner of the West Atlas drill rig, Atlas Drilling, a subsidiary of Sea Drill, might try to reboard the rig to assess the damage caused by the fire, PTT said.

''We are relieved and thankful that we have killed the well and stopped the fire,'' said PTT Australasia's chief financial officer, Jose Martins. …

Oil leak plugged, fire extinguished

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