Oil Spill: Petroleum Agency Promises Environmental Cleanup

BANGKOK— Thailand’s state-owned petroleum enterprise has promised a four-year effort to clean up environmental damages caused by its oil spill last year.

More than 50,000 litres of crude oil were leaked from a faulty pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical in July 2013. The spill, which took place off the coast of Rayong province in Gulf of Thailand, soon reached the popular resort island of Koh Samet, blackening its beaches and driving away tourists.

At a press conference marking the first anniversary of the incident, Supot Tovichakchaikul, deputy permanent secretary of Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, said PTT Global Chemical has agreed to spearhead the ecological and environmental recovery effort of the affected areas.

The first phase of the mission will focus on restoring local ecology, tourism, and the natural environment, while the second phase will involve extensive studies of the sea, coral reefs, seaweeds, coastlines, and mangrove forests in the vicinity of the disaster to look for potential pollution related to the oil spill.

The operations will take four years and cost more than 166 million baht, Mr. Suphot said. He added that PTT Global Chemical will cover all the expenses. 

The statement came amid criticism from business owners and fishermen on Koh Samet island that PTT Global Chemical has not done enough to alleviate the spill’s effects on the environment. 

On 22 July a group of hotel owners on Koh Samet filed a lawsuit against PTT Global Chemical, seeking 300 million baht in compensation for sharp drops in tourism revenues they say were caused by the oil spill.

 

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