Indonesia: Pertamina sanctioned over Balikpapan oil spill

The Jakarta Post 2 May 18;

The Environment and Forestry Ministry has imposed administrative sanctions on state oil and gas company Pertamina over an oil spill incident that caused pollution and damage to the ecosystem of Balikpapan Bay in East Kalimantan.

The ministry’s law enforcement director general, Rasio Ridho Sani, said three steps needed to be fulfilled by Pertamina.

“I signed the administrative sanctions for Pertamina last week. As one of the three steps, we asked Pertamina to make improvements to its exploration safety management,” he said as quoted by in Jakarta on Monday. Among the requirements is the submission of data on areas where Pertamina's operations face similar oil spill risks.

The ministry also asked Pertamina to carry out an environmental audit to identify the problems it faced and to determine ways to solve them.

Pertamina must also take responsibility for areas affected by the oil spill. Rasio said the ministry had obtained detailed data on the polluted areas.

“We have ordered Pertamina to rehabilitate locations still contaminated with oil, such as beaches."

In addition to administrative sanctions, Pertamina will have to pay compensation for losses caused by the oil spill. The ministry said, however, that it had yet to determine an exact amount for the losses and environmental damage caused by the incident.

“Regarding the compensation figure in the civil law suit we will file against Pertamina, our team in the field is still conducting calculations,” Rasio said. He said the losses would include damages to the ecosystem, such as to mangrove forests and beaches. (ebf)