Thailand’s PTTEP suspends Indonesia investment over oil spill case

montara-oil-spillBANGKOK: PTT Exploration and Production PCL said on Tuesday it was suspending investment in Indonesia after the Indonesian government filed a US$2 billion lawsuit against the Thai state-owned energy firm for alleged damage from an oil spill eight years ago.

PTTEP executives, however, said Indonesia remained a strategic priority as it seeks to invest up to US$4 billion in expanding its energy field holdings with a focus on Southeast Asia. They also added that the company’s Indonesia assets could not be seized.

“PTTEP’s remaining asset in Indonesia is the Natuna Sea A Project, which accounts for one percent of our sales. It will remain in operation,” Chief Executive Somporn Vongvuthipornchai told reporters.

Indonesia’s government is suing state-owned PTTEP and its parent company PTT over damage from the spill in the Timor Sea.

Hundreds of thousands of liters of oil leaked off the northern coast of western Australia after a fire at a wellhead operated by PTTEP Australasia in 2009. Indonesia alleges that the oil spill also fouled its waters and coast.

PTTEP Australasia has said no oil reached Indonesia’s shore and no long-term damage was done in the Timor Sea.