Extracts of Channel News Asia Interview of Colin Stuart, reacting after announcement of PTTEP fine over 2009 Montara oil spill (500 KAu$)
Colin Stuart was selected and appointed the Expert Witness by the Australian Oil & Gas regulator NOPSEMA, and asked to conduct a technical investigation into what the root cause of the incident was. This involved the review not only of all the operational steps and decisions taken on the well, but all the management systems put in place by the operator.
This incident was about a failure to ensure the proper safety barriers were in place in the well. To mitigate these risks existing in complex wells, good risk management techniques and contingency practices exist, but use of these techniques has to be enforced from the very top of an Oil Company. In this case, poor risk assessment and poor management of change, led to poor decision making, even though the well was not particularly complex, and unfortunately the high impacting risk of a blowout, was overlooked.
Therefore, much better safety barrier assessment is needed at operational front lines, with more robust oversight by senior management.