Timor Oil Spill: Second Failure to Plug the Leak

Written by on October 16, 2009 in Marine Life, Technology
Timor Oil Spill, satellite image acquired September 17 - NASA

Timor Oil Spill, satellite image acquired September 17 – NASA

It has been nearly 2 months since the West Atlas oil rig in the Timor Sea started leaking oil as reported in our earlier article.  Now, a second attempt by PTTEP Australasia to plug the leak has failed.

Although experts say there should not be significant impact on marine life as the spill is in open water and will evaporate, the question of what caused the problem remains.

Read about what is being done, comments of environmental groups, environmental experts and the company’s spokesperson and Australian Greens senator at ABC News and Brisbane Times respectively.

Copyright ©  2009 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC

About the Author

About the Author: Celia is Director of Business Operations for OceanLines LLC and is a frequent contributor to both OceanLines and Marine Science Today. She is a certified diver and her favorite topic is marine biology, especially stories about whales. .


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  1. Sweetwater Tom says:


    What Would Red Adair Do?

    (All I can do is shake my head and wish them the best of luck!)

  2. Tom says:

    For those who may not remember, Red Adair was a famous well-capping expert who typically relied on explosives to “blow out” oil and gas well fires. He was immortalized by the 1968 film “Hellfighters” starring John Wayne. Adair was a technical advisor to the film and became a lifelong friend of Wayne’s. So far, the Timor leak has not ignited but apparently neither has it been successfully capped.

  3. the oil spill in Mexico would surely be one of the greatest environmental disasters for this year.*:`

  4. Tom says:

    I’m afraid you are right. In fact, if the wellhead is not capped soon, it might become one of the greatest environmental disasters of all time, given that the damage it could do to the shoreline ecosystems of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida would take many years to recover from. In fact, we have some stories on MST about a team of scientists that were recently studying the long-term damage in Prince William Sound from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

    A tragic irony of this kind of disaster is that we KNOW we’re going to be damaging the environment when we burn the products derived from this oil. Now we’re even ruining the environment just by drilling for it. A tragic symmetry to that. . . Thanks for your comment, Katelyn!