Unocal reports sheen near new Makassar Strait well off Indonesia

A thin hydrocarbon sheen has been reported near a Unocal Corp. deepwater well site in the Makassar Strait, 46 miles off East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 1 -- A thin hydrocarbon sheen has been reported near a Unocal Corp. deepwater well site in the Makassar Strait, 46 miles off East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Unocal said its Unocal Indonesia Co. subsidiary has notified Indonesian authorities and mobilized resources to address the leak.

A survey by a remotely operated vehicle showed hydrocarbon seepage from the plugged casing of Unocal's Ranggas 6 appraisal well, which was drilled in August. Water depth at the site is 5,500 ft.

After drilling the successful well, Unocal Rapak, Ltd. had plugged and abandoned it and moved the drillship from the location. A ship removing anchors in place for the drillship first observed the sheen Sept. 5. It has varied in size daily depending on weather and wind conditions.

Unocal activated its emergency response team to monitor and resolve the situation and reported the incident to the Indonesia Directorate General of Oil and Gas and to the State Implementing Body for Upstream Oil and Gas Activities.

"All potential impacts are being assessed and monitored closely," Unocal said. The company also said that, as of Oct. 1, there had been no reports of hydrocarbons impacting the shoreline. "The sheen is not expected to have any impact on human health," Unocal said.

The company said it is working with the relevant regulatory bodies and other entities to devise the best strategy for containing the hydrocarbons and managing any potential impacts.

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