Alert on Pertamina Invisible Oil Spill

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  • Thick smoke rises from fires from an oil spill in the waters off Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia March 31, 2018. A coal ship that dropped anchor off the coast of the Indonesian port city of Balikpapan on Borneo island was likely to blame for an oil spill, after dragging a pipeline more than 100 metres and causing it to crack, an energy ministry official said. Antara Foto/Sheravim/via REUTERS

    Thick smoke rises from fires from an oil spill in the waters off Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia March 31, 2018. A coal ship that dropped anchor off the coast of the Indonesian port city of Balikpapan on Borneo island was likely to blame for an oil spill, after dragging a pipeline more than 100 metres and causing it to crack, an energy ministry official said. Antara Foto/Sheravim/via REUTERS

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A marine technopreneur, Ciput Putrawidjaja, explains an invisible crude oil spill of Pertamina should be monitored despite the oil has not been seen in Balikpapan Bay, particularly in Kampung Baru area, East Kalimantan.

    Ciput argues an invisible oil spill in the water surface potentially has been flowed to other areas in the bay. “Even more, [oil spill] could have been spread and attached to a substrate or others,” he told Tempo, Sunday, April 8.

    The oil spill in Balikpapan Bay was first noticed at 03:00 local times on Saturday, March 31. In the cleaning efforts, a fire blazed in the middle of the sea at 10:30 local times which claimed five lives and injured one person.

    Read: Walhi Outlines Economic, Ecological Impact of Pertamina Oil Spill

    State-owned oil and gas company Pertamina claimed the accident was due to the broken oil pipeline from Lawe-lawe terminal at the North Penajam Paser to Pertamina’s Balikpapan refinery. As per April 8, the oil spill was estimated to spread across 7,000 hectares area. In addition, 34 hectares of mangrove in Kariangau, 6,000 mangrove plants and 2,000 mangrove seeds in Kampung Atas Air Margasari were contaminated by oils.

    Previously, Environment and Forestry Ministry demanded Pertamina to conduct air monitoring, especially to the coastal communities’ residence where the oil spill has been spread. Moreover, the gas emission of volatile organic compounds chemical (VOC) produced a strong smell and possibly harm human health.

    “We have urged Pertamina immediately air monitor the environment, especially to people’s residence,” said the director of the ministry’s law enforcement Rasio Ridho Sani, as quoted from Antara, Saturday, April 7.

    LANI DIANA WIJAYA