Another oil well is leaking in the Timor Sea, this time at the Puffin field operated by Chinese energy giant Sinopec, as efforts to stem the flow from an earlier leak go on.
A “minor gas leak” was detected from an undersea production section during a routine underwater inspection early last month, Sinopec Australia general manager projects and operations Steve Kanthan told the WA Business News.
The Puffin field lies about 50km northwest of PTTEP Australasia’s Montara field, which has been leaking oil, gas and condensate for more than nine weeks.
The Northern Territory government has confirmed that a small amount of non-harmful gas has escaped from the Puffin oil field, the ABC reported on Thursday night.
The government said the company will take measures to cap the gas leak.
The amount of gas that has escaped from the well has not been specified.
Latest leak considered ‘minor’
Puffin is a joint venture with Melbourne-based AED Oil Ltd, which holds 40 per cent of the project.
The Montara field is about 250km from the northwest coast of WA.
Mr Kanthan said the leak was considered minor but had been reported to the National Offshore Petroleum and Safety Authority (NOPSA) and the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines.
He did not provide details of the volume of hydrocarbons that had escaped and said remedial action could be required “but is not considered to be of an urgent nature”.
Production at Puffin was suspended in May after AED and Sinopec noted that the operator of the field’s floating production storage and offtake vessel, Sea Production, had committed “breaches related to serious matters of occupational health, safety and the environment”.
‘Equipment failure’ hampering repair
AED and Sinopec subsequently terminated Sea Production’s contract.
Separately, Thai-company PTTEP told reporters on Thursday that a relief effort to plug the Montara field oil leak could require up to three more attempts and take several more weeks.
The company’s fourth bid to plug the leak with heavy mud has been repeatedly deferred since late last week due to equipment failure.
Oil has been spilling from the Montara field since August 21.
PTTEP says it still doesn’t know what caused the spill.