13 Sep 2009

Timor Sea spill to take another four weeks to fix

1:06 pm on 13 September 2009

The operator of an Australian offshore oilrig which is spilling oil into the Timor Sea says it could take more than four weeks to block the leak.

The ABC reports oil and gas from the West Atlas drill rig have been leaking into the Timor Sea for more than three weeks.

A second rig is now at the site: PTTEP Australasia said it would start drilling a 2.5km well into the sea bed on Sunday.

PTTEP says the oil slick is now about 46km wide and 130km long.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says observation flights are made over the site twice a day and less oil is now leaking from the rig. But it could still be weeks before it is completely stopped.

The agency says there is no sign at this stage that the oil is getting any closer to the Australian or East Timor coasts.