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Indonesia plans new tactic to curb massive mud flow JAKARTA - Indonesia will drop hundreds of concrete balls into a mud volcano in a bid to brake the flow of hot liquid that has displaced more than 10,000 people and inundated entire villages in Java, an official said on Friday. The torrent of hot mud has been flowing since an oil drilling accident in May in Sidoarjo, an industrial suburb of East Java's Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.

Numerous attempts to cap or curb the flow since it started have failed. But now the government plans to try concrete balls linked by metal chains. "We will insert high density chained balls inside the mud volcano. This technique is expected to reduce the amount of mud flow and ease the pressure at the source of the gushing," Rudi Novrianto, the national mudflow disaster commission spokesman, said by telephone.

He put the cost at 3 billion rupiah ($330,800) and said PT Lapindo Brantas, the company in charge of the well drilling at the time of the accident, would pay. "The chains of balls weigh around 400-500 kilograms (880-1,100 lb.) each. We plan to insert up to 300 ... We will do it gradually. Our target is we will try to put 50 chains of balls in a day," Novrianto added. The work was expected to begin next week, he said.

The mud flow has become a political and environmental issue in Indonesia, with the government under fire from critics for what they say were lax safety standards behind the initial accident and for not doing enough to resolve the situation. Lapindo and PT Energi Mega Persada Tbk, which indirectly controls it, dispute whether the mud flow was caused by the drilling or was a natural phenomenon, and also whether Lapindo alone should pay $420 million the government wants for victims and efforts to control the flow.

Energi is owned by the Bakrie Group, controlled by the family of Indonesia's chief social welfare minister, Aburizal Bakrie. The government - including Minister Bakrie - has said Lapindo should be held responsible for the disaster. Lapindo holds a 50-percent stake in the Brantas block from where the mud is gushing. Energi International Tbk holds 32 percent and Australia-based Santos Ltd. the remaining 18 percent.

Anger has mounted in the affected area over the mud, which in addition to burying homes and displacing residents, was blamed for a gas pipeline explosion in the area that killed 13 people.


Link to related event Related event:
Sidoarjo mudflow

Related blog entries (category 'Sidoarjo mudflow') Related blog entries (category 'Sidoarjo mudflow'):
24 January 2007 · Scientists: Indonesia mud volcano caused by drilling
08 January 2007 · Fresh mudflow burst in Kedung Cangkring Jabon
29 December 2006 · Lapindo told to pay 323 mln euro for Indonesia mud disaster
11 December 2006 · Mud in East Java threathens railroad
04 December 2006 · Death toll from Indonesia gas pipe blast hits 13


Posted in Sidoarjo mudflow @ 03 February 2007 02:17 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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