Australian offshore oil well still leaks

Oct. 15, 2009 at 1:01 PM
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SYDNEY, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- An Australian offshore oil well in the Timor Sea still leaks crude after 55 days of attempts to cap it.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday that Australian environmental scientists are increasingly concerned that the Montara offshore platform's oil leakage's impact on marine life will be felt for years, if not decades.

World Wildlife Fund oceans campaigner Dr Gilly Llewellyn said of the leak, ''Each day the leaks continue it's adding to the risk and threat this toxic spill poses to precious marine life in this area. Oil can be a slow and silent killer. It can take a long time to manifest itself on marine populations.''

The spill, about 100 miles off Australia's northwestern coast, began on Aug. 21 when the Montara offshore drilling rig suffered a well head blowout, which released 300-400 barrels of oil per day into the Timor Sea. At its peak the spill had spread over 7,000 square nautical miles, leaking into Indonesian waters and threatening the Ashmore and Cartier reef marine reserves.

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