21 Aug 2009

Workers evacuated after oil rig leak

8:45 pm on 21 August 2009

Sixty-nine workers on an oil rig in the Timor Sea off north-western Australia have been evacuated after an oil and gas leak.

The incident occurred at the West Atlas mobile offshore drilling unit, about 250km north of Trescott and 690km west of Darwin, about 5.30am local time on Friday. No one was injured.

The Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre is readying aircraft and dispersant to begin spraying the spill on Saturday, the ABC reports.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the owner of the unit, PTTEP Australasia, said the leak is continuing, however, the scale of it and possible damage to the environment remains unknown.

The oil rig is part of the Montara development and is expected to come online later this year.