PTTEP Australasia has delayed, and delayed, and delayed again its fourth attempt to stop the two-and-a-half-month long oil spill at one of its offshore drilling platforms in the Timor Sea between Australia and Indonesia. There’s one appointment that PTTEP did not see fit to delay, however: A summit of oil drilling companies to figure out how to repair the public relations damage to their industry resulting from the oil spill. It seems that the environmental damage they care about is only in the business environment.
After the summit of oil companies, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association did its duty for Mother Petroleum and came to the defense of PTTEP, saying that the repeatedly botched attempts to stop the oil spill in the Timor Sea were being performed in perfect accordance with industry standards.
Pause. Think about the implications of that. Wait to hear the soft sound of PR professionals around the world slapping their foreheads.
If PTTEP’s failed attempts to stop the massive Timor Sea oil spill are being done according to industry standards, that means that offshore oil drilling standard operating procedure can result in an oil spill that continues for 70 days straight. It means that current standards for offshore drilling are completely inadequate. It means that offshore drilling operations are being conducted in such a way that makes large, prolonged oil spills something we ought to expect, rather than an aberration.
In other news related to the oil drilling disaster, Indonesia’s Environmental Affairs Agency has confirmed that the oil slick still expanding from PTTEP’s drilling platform has reached Indonesian waters, creating a health risk for human inhabitants and wildlife alike. The number of Indonesian islands known to be suffering from contamination now include Rote, Sumba, Tote Ndao, Landu and Ndana.
This widespread contamination is evidence that yet another oil industry claim has proven false. Chemical dispersal agents sprayed on the Timor Sea oil spill have not been effective in preventing the spill from making landfall and causing environmental damage.