Thailand's PTTEP, the owner of the Montara project which caused one of Australia's worst oil spills, has joined 11 other oil and gas giants in committing $25.2 million towards an industry program to deal with future uncontrolled oil and gas leaks.
Under the umbrella of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the 12 companies will commit the funds over five years to ensure access to a subsea first response toolkit (SFRT) that will address the risk of any uncontrolled discharge from offshore wells.
The SFRT will consist of specialised equipment to be located in Australia and contracted through the industry-funded Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre (AMOSC) for immediate mobilisation if there is an incident. The SFRT contains all equipment needed to clean the area around the wellhead, enable intervention and prepare for relief well drilling and safe installation of a capping device.
All Australian offshore operators will be able to access the SFRT on an affordable basis.
PTTEP is joined in the foundation program by Woodside Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, Apache, Chevron, BHP Billiton, ConocoPhillips, Eni, INPEX, Santos, ExxonMobil and BP. Each partner has committed $2.1 million.
"The continued development of offshore oil and gas is essential for Australia's prosperity and energy security, but the industry must ensure we have access to the latest systems, technology and expertise to achieve the highest standards for our environment and safety performance," APPEA chief executive David Byers said today.
"The funding and development of a SFRT not only demonstrates the industry's technological advancement, but also its commitment to continuous improvement and world's best practice.
"This investment will enable the Australian oil and gas industry to manage a subsea uncontrolled hydrocarbons release incident without delay and with maximum efficiency."
Mr Byers said the Montara and Macondo offshore oil spill disasters, and subsequent inquiry recommendations, had highlighted the need for the international offshore petroleum exploration and production industry to create a capability for fast and effective response to uncontrolled hydrocarbons releases.