Pongsak: Negotiate, don't sue PTTGC

People affected by the Rayong slick caused by a crude oil pipeline leak would be better advised to negotiate with PTT Global Chemical Plc for compensation, instead of filing lawsuits against the refining company, Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said on Tuesday.

  • Published: 30/07/2013 at 01:06 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

The clean up of the oil slick at Ao Phrao enters its second day. Photo by Taweechai Tawatpakorn

Crude oil was spilled from an offshore pipeline feeding a refinery operated by PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC) in Map Ta Phut industrial estate, Rayong province early on Saturday. 

The company has admitted that around 50,000 litres of crude oil, equal to one and a half road tankers, leaked into the sea, but many people are claiming that the actual figure is much higher, given the extent of the slick. 

Some of the oil washed up on Ao Phrao beach on the west coast of the resort island of Samet in Rayong on Sunday night. On Monday evening the slick began heading towards Ban Pae in Rayong, which is an economic zone with a fishery pier and aqua farming.

Mr Pongsak said any lawsuit against PTTGC could take as long as three years to complete, arguing that it would be better for affected people to negotiate with the company, which had admitted responsibility for the damage.

Mr Pongsak said the ministry would implement three stages of action to address the pollution problem caused by the oil spill.

The first, immediate step is to clean up the environment as soon as possible, which should take about three days with the cooperation of the oil refiner, the petrochemical industry, the navy and local communities.

The second stage is a long-term plan with surveillance units being establishing to monitor the situation in risk areas and to clean residue from rocks or coral. This may take as long as one year.

The third stage is to assess the overall damage caused by the oil leak.

The oil spill off the sea in Rayong seen in a satellite picture on July 29. ((Satellite photo from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency)

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