Australia will assign two senior officials from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to inform Indonesia of the results of its investigation into an oil spill involving an Australia-owned rig near Montara in the Timor Sea.“We have discussed with Australia and they will come to us tomorrow to give their opinion,” transportation minister Fredy Numberi told reporters in Jakarta. Australia’s infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese said his government previously launched an investigation into the oil spill. “We have opened an inquiry in Australia for this incident. The result will be available for Indonesia,” Albanese said. However, he declined to further comment on the investigation. He also refused to comment on the compensation demanded by the Indonesian government. “This is not appropriate for us to comment. What Australia does is to provide data for Indonesia,” he said.
Minister Fredy said PTTEP Australasia, which operated the rig, had sent a letter to the minister two days ago, admitting their responsibility in the oil spill. “The support from the Australian government will help Indonesia in finding a compensation mechanism that will fit this case,” Fredy said. Indonesia had demanded Rp 23 trillion (US$2.58 billion) in compensation, he said. PTTEP Australasia’s oil platform in the Montara field off Australia’s northern coast exploded in August, 2009, spilling more than 500,000 liters of crude oil a day into the Timor Sea. Thirty-eight percent of Indonesia’s sea territory in the Timor Sea was affected by the spill, local fishermen’s catches dropped and thousands of tons of shallow-water fish and whales died.