The Indonesian government plans to sue PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP) next year for at least $1.7 billion in damages from the Montara oil spill.
Last year, an Australian court ruled in favor of Indonesian seaweed farmers whose livelihoods were affected by the oil spill. However, PTTEP, an oil and gas subsidiary of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, appealed the verdict. This would have required him to pay more than $262 million in compensation.
In 2019, around 13,000 Indonesian seaweed farmers sued PTTEP Australasia, claiming the oil spill damaged their crops and negatively impacted their livelihoods. They sought $132.3 million in damages.
PTTEP then agreed to pay around $129 million to a group of Indonesian seaweed growers to settle a class action lawsuit brought by them.
According to Indonesian Deputy Minister of Environment and Forests, Alue Dohong, the government is demanding greater settlement of the PTTEP for the damage it has caused to coral reefs, mangroves and marine life, including 281.3 million dollars to fund restoration efforts, Bloomberg News reported.
An explosion on August 21, 2009 caused the oil spill off the north coast of Western Australia in the Timor Sea. The Montara platform continued to spit oil for 74 days before a relief well was drilled. PTTEP was operating the Montara field at the time of the accident, 250 kilometers southeast of Rote Island in Indonesia. It is known as one of Australia’s worst oil disasters.
At the time, Australian PTTEP chief executive Ken Fitzpatrick said: “Mistakes were made that should never be repeated. The conclusion of the legal process draws a line under the Montara incident, allowing the company to focus on producing safe and clean operations now and in the future.
Australia’s PTTEP initially said the oil spilled from Montara never reached Indonesian waterways. He later admitted that this contamination had indeed taken place.