New policies to prevent history being repeated

FOLLOWING a long period of silence from the company, PTTEP Australasia’s new chief executive Ken Fitzpatrick has assured the market that the oil and gas giant is back on track after its disastrous Montara oil spill in 2009.
The spill in the Timor Sea, deemed to be Australia’s worst, caused almost irreparable damage to the company’s reputation, but Mr Fitzpatrick said he was eager to rise above it. “We all deeply regret what happened and mistakes were made that should never be repeated,” he said, speaking to a recent media gathering in Perth. “The imagery [that people have] is of the burning rig. I need to change that – I want to change that.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said he was certain that the spill was not the environmental disaster it was widely believed to be. “Nobody would claim that the oil spill was a benign event or in any way normal practice, but with perspective nearly three years later and with the scientific findings starting to come in, we had some insights into the environmental legacy of the spill,” he said.
“The real-time monitoring and satellite imagery during the spill confirmed no oil reached Indonesia or Australian coastlines. “While there has been detection of some exposure of marine life and ecosystems to hydrocarbons, so far there appears to be little  or no impact detected on the health of species or the habitat.” PTTEP Australasia has agreed to fund long-term environmental rehabilitation efforts and will work with the Australian Government to co-fund research addressing the long-term impacts of the Montara spill. The effects of the incident still haunt PTTEP Australasia, with the company facing potential legal action being brought against it by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. There are also ongoing discussions with the Indonesian Government regarding the impact of the spill on Indonesian waters.
PTTEP Australasia and its Bangkok-based parent company accepted full responsibility for the Montara incident, and Mr Fitzpatrick said the company was implementing new strategies to ensure history did not repeat itself.
“In May last year I arrived at PTTEP to a company that was already in the process of transforming its governance and its culture,” he said.
“That process of transformation continues today and it must be sustainable if we are going to fulfil our goal of being a trusted developer and operator in Australia.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said that a new daily ‘line of sight’ check had been put in place to ensure the safety of the company’s equipment.
Additionally, the company’s decision makers were being tested for competency. In looking forward, Mr Fitzpatrick said that an 18-month, $280 million decommissioning program of PTTEP Australasia’s Challis and Jabiru projects would be completed by September. He said that the company would then maintain its focus on its assets in the Timor Sea and work to bring Montara into production. “We want to put the legacy of Montara behind us,” he said. “We want to…start producing [oil at Montara] in the fourth quarter but to try and put that incident behind us. That is something we are going to continue to do.”


By Courtney Pearson

One Response to New policies to prevent history being repeated

  1. Allexia

    May 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

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