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Pertamina picks up tab for Balikpapan oil spill bill

18 Apr 2018

The Environment and Forestry Ministry of Indonesia has directed state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina to accept responsibility and pay for costs to restore the polluted environment at Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Indonesia after a recent oil spill, reports the Jakarta Post.

Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar noted the Pertamina refinery lacking early-warning and automated monitoring systems, and getting the company to pay for oil spill costs will encourage it to improve the quality of its pipeline inspection and prevention systems.

“We’ve imposed administrative sanctions on Pertamina’s RU V [Refinery Unit V], including the restoration of the environment from the pipeline leak,” she told lawmakers at the House of Representatives Commission VII.

“[Pertamina] is the permit holder in the area and that is where we see [the responsibility].”

In reply, Pertamina President Director Elia Massa Manik said the company will improve its monitoring systems and has already taken part in cleanup and environmental-restoration activities following the aftermath of the spill. 

Additionally, Pertamina will allocate $57.3 million for a environmental clean-up programme involving 5,239 community members, he added.

Pertamina refinery Director Toharso added the company was ready to offer compensation for the families of those who died in the fire and for all those who had suffered losses because of the spill.

“We will ignore for the moment who was wrong and who was right,” he said. “Based on our sense of social responsibility, we have immediately started the clean-up process and paid damages.”

Moving on, a Pertamina statement says the company will remove the broken crude pipeline connecting the Lawe-Lawe Terminal and Balikpapan Refinery in the near future to aid investigations on who should be responsible for breaking the pipeline.

“We’re going to check all related parties, either from Pertamina or the ship’s owner and crews,” said Police Chief Commissioner Yustan Alpiani, Director of Special Criminal Investigation of East Kalimantan Regional Police.

An allegation that caused the pipe to break was Ever Judger which caught fire as the only object that could shove a pipe is an anchor that is released by a ship sailing over the sea, says Pertamina.

Kalimantan Regional Communication & CSR Manager Yudy Nugraha explained, "We are fully supportive of this investigation, and we are currently preparing a diver team to be able to cut the pipes under police surveillance.”

Pertamina initially claimed the oil spill was marine fuel, but changed its assessment on 4 April by admitting the oil originated from a cracked 20-year-old underwater pipeline linked to its Balikpapan refinery.

Related: Indonesia: 22 taken in for questioning over Balikpapan spill
RelatedIndonesia: Anchor broke pipeline of Pertamina refinery
RelatedPertamina claims responsibility for Balikpapan oil spill
RelatedBunker spill fire causes panic at East Kalimantan city
RelatedPertamina: East Kalimantan marine fuel fire extinguished

Photo credit: Jakarta Post
Published: 18 April, 2018

 

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