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Rig operator blamed for oil spill

The Australian government has blamed the rig operator for the country's worst oil spill.

Resources minister Martin Ferguson told parliament a government report found that PTTEP Australasia, a unit of Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production, did not observe sensible oil field or government-approved practices at the West Atlas rig and Montara wellhead platform off the north-west coast.

The platform in the Timor Sea began leaking in August last year and more than 400 barrels of oil a day stained the coasts of Indonesia and East Timor before mud pumped through a relief well shut off the deepwater spigot 11 weeks later.

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