Leaking Australian Offshore Oil Well to Pour Into Ocean For Two Months

loggerhead turtle photo

Loggerhead turtles are among the species threatened by the oil slick. Photo: Damien du Toit via flickr.
Reuters reports that a leaking Australian offshore oil well will continue to spill oil into the Timor Sea for nearly two months. That's how long it take to fix the blow out -- two miles below the surface -- which occurred last week:It's going to take three weeks to bring in a new drilling rig from Singapore, then another four weeks to drill a relief well, pour mud in, and stop the leak.

Efforts underway to control the spread of the slick, now 9 miles in length, include spraying dispersant chemicals onto it from aircraft.

ashmore reef map image
Three Endangered Turtle Species in Area
Understandably, there's great concern about the environmental damage that an oil well gushing into the ocean for two months will cause.

WWF-Australia's conservation manager, Dr Gilly Llewellyn said, "Depending on the winds, the slick could be pushed to atolls like Scott and Ashmore Reef -- areas that are globally significant for their unique wildlife."

Dr Llewellyn also pointed out that the spill could mean disaster for recent turtle hatchlings in the area, saying that hatchlings from beaches and islands of North West Australia could be swimming straight into the oil slick.

Three endangered species of turtle are known to live in the area of the slick. Pygmy blue whales have been sighted as well.

More: Reuters, WWF
map: Wikipedia
Oil Spills
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Hundreds of Birds Killed in Oil Spill on Russia's Sakhalin Island
58,000 Gallons of Oil Spill into San Francisco Bay

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