Monday, August 28, 2006

Lapindo disaster updates: 90 Days later!

May 29 was the first gas blast at Lapindo Brantas Inc's Banjar Panji-1 drilling well. Ninety days have passed, no clear signs of when the mudflow would gonna stop. Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes, hundreds lost their jobs as some factories have been mud-covered, millions of USD tangible and intangible losses have been incurred. Yet, we have no idea what to do. Turnpike operator Jasa Marga had raised the level of toll road with Rp30 billion investment, but the mudflow keeps threathening the transportation infrastructure.

Lapindo's parent company PT Energi Mega Persada Tbk is very much bussy to answer capital market authority and investors on its planned merger with PT Bumi Resources Tbk. In a press release last week, Energi affirm the merger plan without a single word on the mudflow disaster.
But The Jakarta Post quoted Yuniwati Teryana, vice president and head of public relations at Lapindo claiming the company had spent US$70 million since May to deal with the disaster.
The Post wrote as follows:
The company did not provide a breakdown of expenditure, only saying the money was used to cover operational costs, including bringing in a well snubbing unit, a rig and other equipment used to try to stem the mud.

The result so far is big zero. Energi's investors deserved explanation on the costs aspect of the disaster.
Meanwhile, some geologists are trying to spin the issue. Take a look at the article published by Kompas today. The largest newspaper quoted geologists with conclusion that the increasing mudflow tend to proof that the disaster has something to do with mud volcano, a natural flow of mud. If that's true, Kompas wrote, no technology would able to stop the mudflow.
Geologist Andang Bachtiar is quoted as saying the mudflow has no more relationship with Banjar Panji-1 drilling well. But he quickly admitted that the mud volcano has been triggered by technical faults at Banjar Panji-1 drilling well. "Without the technical drilling fault, the mud volcano would not happen," Andang said.
But officials at energy minister declined to accept the theory pending on the full implementation of relief well technique, sometimes late October.

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