"The leak occurred when the company was drilling a new oil well. The gas pressure combined with the oil and mud inside the well and gushed out into the air and polluted the surrounding area," the Head of Environment Agency in Siak District, Sadikin, told Antara, on Tuesday.
The oil had been leaking in Bakau Area 07 of the concession area since 4.00 PM last Thursday. The preliminary information said the height of the spill was 15 meters.
The company managed to stop the blowout on Monday evening. That, however, did not stop the oil spills from polluting the environment, added Sadikin.
"The oil and mud spill had flown into the River Rawa located three kilometers from Malaka Strait," he said.
The blowout also polluted sago plantations and water sources near the oil well.
"The oil and mud that flew into the air was blown along by the wind and polluted the local water wells," Sadikin said.
The locals are angry because of the pollution in the area. The special team from the agency has calculated the environment damage and public loss due to the oil spill.
"The people are upset and are in a panic due to the incident. I have asked the Head of the Sub-district and Head of the village to calm their fears. We have also asked the company to compensate the people in anticipation of further unwanted action," Sadikin said.
PT Petro Selat had anticipated the oil spill by operating an instrument to stem the pollution from spreading further into the river and flowing into Malaka Strait, he added.
Sadikin predicted that the total oil spill in the river could reach hundreds of barrels.
"The preliminary information stated that at least 200 barrels of oil have been collected from the river," he said.
The Siak Regent, Syamsuar, visited the site on Monday to instruct the company to take the oil spill seriously, according to Sadikin.
"The company should also immediately report the cause of the incident, and whether it is negligence or there are any other causes," Sadikin said.
The company has not yet given a formal statement relating to the blowout and their efforts to prevent the pollution.
The Upstream Oil and Gas regulatory special task force was informed and is conducting investigations into the incident.(*)