PTTEP Australasia Oil Well Leak Stopped in Timor Sea with Use of Heavy Mud

PERTH, Australia, Nov. 3 (UPI) — An Australian oil company said Tuesday it has succeeded in stopping a leak coming from its well in the Timor Sea.

PTTEP Australasia says the leak from its West Atlas rig, which has spewed thousands of gallons of oil into the sea since August, was successfully stopped with heavy mud on the fourth try, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

But, the company added, the well still had yet to be plugged and secured. The main fire that had been burning on the rig’s platform reportedly has been extinguished, but other fires are still ongoing, PTTEP Australasia said.

The long-running battle to plug the leak has prompted Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett to voice doubts about the safety and feasibility of a plan to pipe natural gas from the Timor Sea’s Browse Basin to Darwin, Australia.

“Well I think you’ve again got to look at the issue of a pipeline (500 miles) in length at deep water through geologically unstable part of the world and think is that the safest and best way to process that gas?” the Australian broadcaster quoted Barnett as saying.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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