Santos confirms uncontrolled oil leak in Queensland

Santos has come under fire from environmentalist groups after it confirmed the leakage of 240,000 litres of oil over five days near the Queensland-South Australian border.

Santos said a leak in their Jackson oil fields had been plugged on Monday by a specialist team flown in from the U.S.A .

The well, in the company's Zeus field, is believed to have started leaking either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning last week, news.com reported.

While it was described as a "limited leak" the company said it was generating about 300 barrels a day. A barrel is equivalent to 158 litres.

A Santos spokesman said that now the well had been contained it would be able to access the site and assess the environmental damage.

The Wilderness Society has warned of more incidents like this if the Queensland government undo the 2011 Wild Rivers laws, which restrict development in the Cooper Creek Basin.

"This is just a taste of things to come if the Newman government allows more oil and gas mining in the Cooper Creek Basin," Queensland campaigner Karen Touchie said in a statement.

"We are going to see more accidents of this type, and as bad as this leak is, it would have been so much worse if it had occurred in watercourses and floodplains that are currently protected by Wild River declarations.

 “What we need now is proper enforcement of existing environmental protections, not less protection. Left to their own devices, oil and gas companies can’t be trusted with our most precious natural assets.” 

Environment Minister Andrew Powell is proposing to amend the Wild Rivers Act which will allow energy companies more space for multi-well sites, and allow construction work within a flood channel.

Image: abc.net.au

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.