The Indonesian government is preparing to launch domestic legal action against Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP) (BKK:PTTEP) relating to economic and environmental damages suffered by local people around Kupang following the 2009 Montara oil spill.
The oil spill started on August 21, 2009, following an explosion and uncontrollable oil spill in the Timor Sea, off the northern coast of Western Australia, that lasted 74 days, until a relief well was drilled that stopped the leak. PTTEP operated the Montara field in Australian waters at the time of the accident, which occurred 250 kms southeast of Indonesia’s Rote Island.
Last year an Australian court ruled in favour of Indonesian seaweed farmers whose livelihoods were affected by the oil spill. But PTTEP has appealed against the ruling that could see it pay out more than $262 million in compensation. The appeal case is expected to be heard in June 2022.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government is “preparing a legal umbrella to form a presidential regulation to press charges against PTTEP Australasia domestically,” said Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister of maritime and investment affairs of Indonesia, reported Tempo. PTTEP, which is headquartered in Bangkok and is partially state-owned, has offices in Australian and Indonesia.
The domestic lawsuit will be led by the ministry of environment and forestry.