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PTTEP remits liability for stress, worker’s damages in West Atlas lawsuits

The oil giant’s offshoot, PTTEP Australasia, is claiming it is not liable for damages for stress and an inability to work being sought by the men who were onboard the West Atlas rig which eventually exploded in the Timor sea.
Peter Dowse and Bruce Taplin are chasing the Thai company for large sums of money, claiming they have been unable to work and have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following the April 2009 incident, newspaper The West Australian reported on Monday.

The pair’s lawyer intends on lodging the claim against PTTEP Australasia after the company failed to meet Friday’s deadline for compensation, the newspaper reported.

PTTEP is, however, taking a tough stance on the issue, the newspaper citing a company spokesperson as saying the issue of compensation is not of its concern as it was merely a subcontractor in operations with the Seadrill-owned unit which was drilling at the Montara well off Broom, Western Australia.

The pair’s lawyer is arguing that, as a report into the incident found poor practices from PTTEP had contributed to the blowout, the Thai company’s offshoot should be held liable. An unspecified number of other workers are also understood to be readying claims, according to the report.

The newspaper quoted Dowse’s wife, Chris, as saying of her husband’s condition: “It has turned out lives upside down. Before the incident he was a family man who related well to his children. That is not the case anymore.”

An undetermined amount of oil spilled from the rig which suffered a blown-out bore which was killed 10 weeks later by a relief well. However, shortly afterwards hydrocarbons on the wellhead platform ignited, engulfing the facility and the jack-up in flames.

No one was injured in the incident but the West Atlas was a complete write off.

PTTEP survived a call to have its Australian licences revoked but Federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, told the Australian parliament in December 2010: “There were widespread and systemic shortcomings in the well’s operation, which led to the disaster.

“The commissioner found the Northern Territory Department of Resources was not a sufficiently diligent regulator. “It adopted a minimalist approach to its responsibilities...the regulatory dog failed to bark.”

Source: Upstream Online






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