30 June 2010

LH submissions on petroleum project EIAs

This week, La'o Hamutuk made two submissions to the RDTL National Directorate for Environment (DNMA) on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for upcoming oil-related activities in Timor-Leste's sovereign offshore area. The more important one is for the Proposed Exploratory Drilling Campaign in Block K (red on the map at right) to be conducted by Reliance Industries Ltd. Reliance wants to drill a test well which will go 2,800 meters below the seabed in 1,250 m deep water 112 km off the southeast coast of Timor-Leste. We have posted our submission on our website, but have not received an electronic copy of Reliance's EIA. 

Our submission concludes: "La’o Hamutuk does not believe that this EIA demonstrates that Reliance understands the risks, takes the responsibility, and has the capacity to conduct this exploration for the benefit of Timor-Leste’s people. Therefore, we urge DNMA to reject this plan, and to order Reliance to rewrite it, correcting the deficiencies and filling in the gaps. ... We believe that this document does not demonstrate the capacity, the intention or the specific actions which are necessary to ensure that this test drilling will be managed in a way which does not unduly endanger Timor-Leste."

The submission addresses these main topics:
  • Reliance misunderstands DNMA’s role.
  • Reliance has created a conflict of interest in Timor-Leste regulation.
  • This EIA is not specific, and Reliance should rewrite it.
  • This EIA includes much outdated, vague or inaccurate information.
  • The danger of huge oil spills and other accidents must be seriously considered.
  • Disposal of toxic and solid waste should be specified and planned.
See Blog Update 17 September 2010, and new LH web page on Reliance's project.

Earlier this week, we made another submission on Eni's proposal for a two-day 2D seismic exploration  called GeoStreamer in Blocks A and B. We asked that the seismic survey be suspended during the dark to protect marine mammals, that regulatory personnel be invited aboard the ship, and that the consultation process be improved. Eni's GeoStreamer Environment Management Plan is posted on La'o Hamutuk's web page on seismic exploration in English and Tetum.

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