Seadrill issues update on Montara leak

Seadrill has sought to clarify events on the Montara wellhead platform offshore Australia concerning its drilling jackup West Atlas.

Offshore staff

HAMILTON, Bermuda – Seadrill has sought to clarify events on the Montara wellhead platform offshore Australia concerning its drilling jackup West Atlas.

The rig is operating under contract to PTTEPA, the owner and operator of the platform and its wells. West Atlas was performing work for PTTEPA at the platform when a hydrocarbon leak occurred on an adjacent well. The resultant flow of hydrocarbons necessitated evacuation of the drilling unit in the interests of safety to personnel onboard. Evacuation to shore was achieved in line with established procedures.

Seadrill wishes to emphasize that the leak did not emanate from the West Atlas, but from a well on the Montara wellhead platform. The cause of the leak is unknown. The company adds that there were no stability issues or incidents on the West Atlas prior to or following the evacuation of personnel.

The company is presently cooperating with National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA), PTTEPA, other specialist service providers, and insurers to regain control of the well and limit the effects of the discharge. It has also made available to PTTEPA another of its jackups, the West Triton, to drill a relief well.

Seadrill has also sent an accident investigation team to Australia to review the incident and determine its root cause. Once the leaking well is under control, the company plans to re-board the West Atlas and assess any damage.

08/25/2009

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