Transboundary Pollution
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Transboundary Pollution

Evolving Issues of International Law and Policy

Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Robert Beckman and Hao Duy Phan

This important new book provides a comprehensive overview of the international legal principles governing transboundary pollution. In doing so, the experts writing in this book examine the practical applications of the State responsibility doctrine in this context. The editors bring together leading scholars and practitioners to analyse the international legal framework and cooperative mechanisms that have been developed to address this pressing issue. The book also includes case studies of Asia and Southeast Asia to demonstrate how international law governing transboundary pollution has evolved and been applied in practice.
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Chapter 7: Transboundary pollution from offshore activities: a study of the Montara offshore oil spill

Youna Lyons


The 2009 Montara offshore oil spill and its consequences were anything but expected. Originating from an offshore well in the Timor Sea 140 nautical miles off the coast of Australia and 50 nautical miles from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary with Indonesia, it is a quintessential example of transboundary pollution from offshore activities and is still the subject of unresolved and heated debates between Australia and Indonesia. This chapter first briefly examines the circumstances of the Montara blowout and spill, the extent of its transboundary effects and the conclusions from the investigations carried out by Australia. The remainder of the chapter reviews the administrative and legal mechanisms and steps taken by the government of Australia and PTT Exploration and Production Australasia (PTTEP-AA), the oil operator, and their compliance with international law. It distinguishes three successive phases: firstly, the oil spill preparedness; secondly, the oil spill response; and thirdly, the mechanisms for compensation. For each phase, the factual, administrative and legal circumstances of the Montara spill are contrasted with the applicable international legal framework.

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