Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Report finds Timor Sea oil spill was avoidabl -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Report finds Timor Sea oil spill was avoidable

Broadcast: 24/11/2010

Reporter: Minsi Chung

A report into Australia's worst offshore oil spill has pointed the finger at the well's operator
and a Northern Territory Government department and found the disaster could have been avoided.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The long-awaited report into Australia's worst offshore oil spill has
pointed the finger at the well's operator and a Northern Territory government department.

The federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, who released the report, says the incident could
have been avoided.

Minsi Chung reports.

MINSI CHUNG, REPORTER: The Montara well explosion off Australia's north-west coast last year sent
millions of litres of oil into the Timor Sea and took 74 days to bring under control.

Mr Ferguson says the incident could have been avoided. The scathing report tabled in Parliament has
put the blame on the rig's Thai-owned operator PTTEP Australasia and the Northern Territory
Department of resources.

MARTIN FERGUSON, FEDERAL RESOURCES MINISTER: The problem goes to the heart of a failure by industry
to adhere to its regulatory requirements and for the Northern Territory designated authority to
perform the duties for which it has responsibility.

MINSI CHUNG: But the Northern Territory Resources Minister, Kon Vatskalis, has defended the
department against claims it is has a tick-and-flick mentality.

KON VATSKALIS, NT RESOURCES MINISTER: The reason behind the blowout was the failure of the company.

MINSI CHUNG: In a recent statement, PTTEP say it acknowledges the deficiencies identified in the
report and is implementing a nine-point action plan to ensure a similar incident is never repeated.

Mr Ferguson says the Montara spill presents a compelling case for a single offshore regulator. The
Greens are concerned the company has been allowed to operate since the incident and is calling for
new laws.

RACHEL SIEWART, GREENS SENATOR: To make sure that a company that is in this situation cannot
continue to operate in our waters for another up to 18 months or longer until a commission of
inquiry of this nature produces its findings.

MINSI CHUNG: Mr Ferguson wants to review PTTEP's operating licence, which could dash the operator's
hopes of restarting the Montara project by mid next year.

Minsi Chung, Lateline.