Indonesia plans to sue Thailand's PTTEP over 2009 oil spill
The move follows earlier attempts at negotiation that stalled in 2012, and a separate class action suit filed by a group of about 15,000 Indonesian seaweed farmers seeking more than A$200 million ($154 million) from PTTEP Australasia to cover damages from the spill.
A total of about 30,000 barrels of oil were estimated to have spewed into the Timor Sea over 74 days after an explosion at PTTEP's Montara drilling rig off Australia's northwest coast in 2009.
"This relates to Indonesian sovereignty and poor communities whose lives depend on the maritime sector, so we must fight this in a more planned way," Basilio Dias Araujo, Indonesia's assistant deputy minister for safety and security, said in a statement published on the ministry's website.
The Indonesian government and state prosecutors are in the process of compiling evidence and have invited around 50 expert witnesses to support the case, the statement said.
"The Indonesian government has asked PTTEP for compensation through non-litigation channels, but the negotiation process became deadlocked in 2012, so no agreements were reached," Araujo added.
The slick from Montara reached Indonesian waters, and was Australia's worst offshore drilling accident. An Australian government inquiry blamed the spill on systemic shortcomings at the Thaioil giant. ■