This Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009, image provided by PTTEP Australasia shows the West Atlas oil rig after a fire on it was put out 150 miles (250 kilometers) off Australia’s northwest coast. The oil rig that had been leaking into the Timor Sea for 10 weeks was plugged Tuesday, and a massive fire blazing aboard the structure was largely extinguished.
(AP Photo/PTTEP Australasia)
PTTEP Australasia today confirmed it had killed the leaking well and stopped the main fire at the Montara well head platform and surrounding the West Atlas drilling rig in the Timor Sea. As reported earlier, the well was declared shut down or killed at approximately 1715 (CST) today. Some material on the topside of the West Atlas rig might still be on fire but It is expected to burn out as the fuel source runs out.
Well control experts onboard the nearby West Triton rig pumped approximately 3,400 barrels of heavy mud plus l000 barrels of brine down the relief well which had successfully intercepted the leaking well on Sunday morning. The well will now continue to be monitored for the next 24 to 48 hours to ensure that it remains stable.
The operation to pump the heavy mud began at 1440 (CST). The main fire at the well head platform was reported out at 1548 (CST). A safety case revision will now be presented to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) to reboard the Montara well head platform to assess the level of damage and to plan for the next phases of the operation.
The company will closely monitor the well head platform and the West Atlas rig and will consider spraying the well head platform with seawater in an effort to help cool ft before any re-boarding attempt is made.
Once safety criteria have been satisfied, specialist crew from international oil and gas well control engineers ALERT Well Control will reboard the well head platform to assess the damage and then determine the best strategy to plug the I-Il well
This operation has been made more difficult after the cantilever portion of the West Atlas rig buckled during the fire and has come to rest on top of the well head platform. Once the well head platform has been secured, specialist personnel from the owners of the West Atlas drill rig, Atlas Drilling (S) Pte Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Seadrill Limited), may attempt to reboard the West Atlas to assess the damage caused by the fire. Any questions relating to the damage to the West Atlas rig should be directed to Seadrill Limited.
PTTEP Australasia Director and Chief Financial Officer Jos? Martins said the company?s priority had always been to kill the leaking well and subsequently stop the fire in the safest and quickest manner.
“We are relieved and thankful that we have killed the well and stopped the main fire. We still have a lot more work to do and our priority is now to determine the best method of plugging the Ml well bores” Mr Martins said.
“We do not under estimate the significantly increased technical complexity, logistical challenges and hazards of the work now required in the wake of the damage caused by the fire to the well head platform and the West Atlas rig.”
“We will continue to work closely with AMSA to assist in the oil spill clean-up operations and with DEWI-IA In continuing to roll out what is likely to be the largest industry environmental monitoring program ever seen in Australia.”
“PTTEP remains committed to fully funding the spill cleanup and environmental monitoring programs being undertaken by the lead Federal government.”
“As we also stated yesterday, the company will fully co-operate with the Federal Government inquiry which has been foreshadowed by Resources and Energy” Minister Martin Ferguson.
In reaching this critical milestone, Mr. Martins also thanked more than 300 personnel which the company has had deployed offshore in the Timor Sea at Trustcott air base in Western Australia far north Kimberley, in Darwin during the operation, plus the team in PTTEP’s Perth office
“Our people and our contractors have worked tirelessly to bring the leaking well and the fire under control we sincerely thank them and their families for all of their efforts and c commitment during this intense operation. ?Our Job Is not over and we look forward to their continued support and commitment”