Friday, September 29, 2006

Oil Drilling, Boiling Mud, & Pompeii

From Java, this report.

An excerpt.

28 September, 2006

Java: eruption of boiling mud, a “new Pompei”
by Mathias Hariyadi

For four months, millions of cubic metres of boiling mud have been flowing around the whereabouts of Porong; entire villages have already been submerged and 10,000 people displaced. Geologists have warned of a possible eruption similar to that of Pompei.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Indonesian government will have to transfer around 3,000 families from Porong (eastern Java), whose homes have been flooded by a boiling mudflow gushing out of the drill of a gas exploration field. The authorities must also channel the mud to the sea to prevent further destruction, the Minister for Public Works, Djoko Kirmanto, said yesterday.

The President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, declared the area of 400 stricken hectares as a “disaster zone”. Meanwhile, experts have warned about the possible risk of volcanic eruption similar to that in Pompei.

Since 29 May, boiling mud has been gushing out of a fault created in the drilling well of the firm Lapindo Brantas in Porong, Sidoarjo regency, province of eastern Java. The mud comes from a depth of around 6km at a rate of around 50,000 cubic metres per day. It has already flooded four villages, engulfing at least 1,810 homes, 18 schools, 20 factories, and 12 mosques, and forcing the evacuation of 10,000 people. To date, 250 hectares of residential land and rice fields have been covered by 10 million cubic metres of mud, that reach a depth of five metres.