The West Atlas Oil rig, owned by PTTEP Australasia has been spilling between 400 and 3000 barrels of oil into the sea a day since late August

UPDATE - 3rd November



The Oil rig operators PTTEP, have released a statement as of the 3rd November, stating the oil leak has been plugged.



The company said it pumped nearly 3,500 barrels of mud into a relief well to plug the leak.

The fire on the platform which had been impeding efforts to plug the leak is now dying down, the company said.

"Some material on the topside of the West Atlas rig might still be on fire but it is expected to be extinguished as the fuel source burns out," the Australian Associated Press quoted PTTEP as saying in a statement.

Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson earlier said the accident, the first on such a scale in 25 years of offshore drilling, had "clearly had an impact on the standing of the oil and gas industry in Australia".

UPDATE Ends

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An estimated 400 barrels of crude oil and gas is spilling from a West Atlas offshore drilling rig, 250km north of Truscott since late August every day.

However environmental groups say this is a conservative estimate, done on aerial surveillance and no material facts. Other estimates extend the spill to being as much as 2,000 to 3,000 barrels a day.

Kimberley Manager for Pew Environment Group, John Carey said: "The information is unclear. "The company has set a figure of 400 barrels a day but they haven't provided any data to back that. "It is a pretty sad state of affairs that after eight weeks we still don't know what's happened. "It's still up around 20,000 barrels, even using conservative estimates."

West Atlas operators, Thai headquartered PTTEP Australasia, are making a fourth attempt to plug the leak today. Pew Environment Group commissioned a national poll about concerns regarding the impacts of oil spill on the environment, which quizzed 1100 Australians of which 320 were from WA. The poll conducted by Essential Research found that many more people in WA than in the rest of Australia are concerned about the impacts of the oil spill and want a network of marine sanctuaries put in place.

Almost 90 per cent of West Australians believe the long running oil spill off the Kimberley coast will cause long term damage to the marine environment, including marine life, despite government and industry assurances that there will be little damage from the spill.

The research, conducted over the last week, also found that West Australians believe oil and gas exploration should be excluded from areas that are important for marine life, such as feeding and breeding areas.

Key findings include: 79 per cent of people nationally believe it is likely that the oil spill of the Kimberley coast in Western Australia will cause long term damage to the natural environment, including marine life.
Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/


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