Norman Harsono, Jakarta – Efforts to plug a leaking oil well in the waters off Karawang regency, West Java, have reached 99.8 percent completion, according to state upstream energy company Pertamina Hulu Energi (PHE).
PHE representatives told reporters in Jakarta on Friday that its relief well has reached a depth of 2,730 meters, which is a few days shy from hitting the target depth of 2,736 meters, where it would intercept and hopefully seal the leaking well.
"We're entering the intercepting phase. It's the most crucial phase so we don't want to rush our drilling team," said head of the external impact mitigation team Rifky Effendi.
The efforts were on schedule, Rifky continued, as PHE expected the drilling team to intercept the leaking well by the end of the month and to seal it off completely early next month.
PHE disbursed on Sept. 11 a total of Rp 18.54 billion (US$1.32 million) in initial compensation to affected individuals in Karawang. The company then plans to pay more money to other affected individuals in Bekasi and Thousand Islands.
PHE incident commander Taufik Aditiyawarman added that as of Thursday the company has recovered a total of 39,600 barrels of oil from the sea and 5.53 million sacks of sand-and-oil mix from the shore.
The oil spill was caused by a gas well kick – the release of gas caused by low pressure in a wellbore – on July 12 that worsened two days later.
The kick occurred beneath the Offshore North West Java (ONWJ) Block platform, located 2 kilometers north of Karawang.