PTTEP outlines action plan after Montara spill

Thailand’s PTTEP Australasia Ltd., which implemented an action plan to improve drilling safety following the Montara well oil spill, on Nov. 24 acknowledged its earlier operating deficiencies that the Montara Commission of Inquiry identified in a final report.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Nov. 24
-- Thailand’s PTTEP Australasia Ltd., which implemented an action plan to improve drilling safety following the Montara well oil spill, on Nov. 24 acknowledged its earlier operating deficiencies that the Montara Commission of Inquiry identified in a final report.

The PTTEP unit reported in January that it plugged and secured the H1 oil production well at the Montara wellhead platform in the Timor Sea following a 2009 blowout and oil spill off Australia (OGJ Online, Nov. 4, 2009).

During an Australian government inquiry into the Montara spill, PTTEP previously said a 340-mm pressure-containing corrosion cap was not installed on the H1 well after suspension of the well.

Chris Kalnin, PTTEP Australia spokesman, said on Nov. 24 that the company is implementing a nine-point action plan aimed at achieving the highest level of oil field drilling practices and safety standards. He believes the action plan addresses the issues highlighted in the commission report.

“A substantial transformation of the company’s Australian drilling operations has seen all supervisory and managerial drilling personnel associated with the Montara incident removed from their positions,” PTTEP Australia said in a statement.

Kalnin said the company worked with the Australian government and others following the spill. PTTEP Australia is willing to initiate more reforms, if needed, after it fully assesses the commission’s extensive report and recommendations. He noted that all 69 workers onboard that platform were evacuated safely.

“The relief well operation to stop the leak was successfully completed in a challenging and remove location,” Kalnin said. “The incident response by our people and specialist contractors was effective.” An independent scientific study has found no evidence of Montara oil reaching the Australian mainland or the Indonesian coast, he said.

Key elements of the PTTEP Australia action plan cover these focus areas:

• Clarification of well barrier integrity of the Montara wells (H2, H3, H4, and GI).

• Independent review of the company’s drilling management system to provide clear guidance on well construction specifications and standards.

• Safety, security, health, and environment improvements: Defining safety auditing and monitoring programs, leadership training, amending investigation protocols to ensure any well control incidents are fully investigated by independent experts.

• Regulatory industry liaison: Developing collaborative engagement and consultation with key government agencies during an emergency.

• Organization and personnel: Continuously reviewing PTTEP Australia and drilling organization to improve safety and reliability.

• Competency and training: Implementing competency assessments and training plans to ensure drilling and key operational personnel are competent and trained to do their jobs.

• Environmental: Improving spill response preparedness and capability by revising oil spill contingency plans, assessing spill equipment availability, developing monitoring programs for future operations.

• Governance: Strengthening PTTEP Australia and corporate oversight to improve working standards and communications; clearly defining governance between PTTEP Australia and PTTEP.

• Implementation: Establishing a management committee comprising senior executives from PTTEP Australia and PTTEP to oversee the implementation of the action plan; appointing an implementation manager to ensure the action plan is implemented in agreed timeframes and actions are sustainable.

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