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SKK Migas: oil well fire in Aceh due to illegal drilling, 18 killed

JAKARTA ( – The Special Task Force for Upstream for Oil and Gas Business (SKK Migas) at the energy ministry said the oil well fire in Aceh was due to illegal traditional drilling undertaken by local people.

The Head of Program and Communication Division of SKK Migas Wisnu Prabawa Taher said the well is located within the Working Area of Pertamina EP Aset I in cooperation with local government-owned company (BUMD).

“The well is located within the working area of Pertamina EP Aset I, jointly managed with BUMD,” Wisnu was quoted by as saying.

Wisnu said the well was drilled with traditional ways by local people. Pertamina was not aware of the traditional drilling activities.

The oil well is located in Pasir Putih village, Ranto Peureulak, East Aceh was hit by fire just after midnight yesterday (25 April). The well was actually under Pertamina EP’s working area, not under PT Medco E&P Malaka as reported yesterday.

Firefighters of Medco E&P, which operates oil fields nearby, were among the first to arrive at the location to contain the fire.

Ranto Peureulak Sectoral Police (Polsek) Head Iptu Musa said the firefighters were sent to the location immediately after the fire hit the well at around 00.30 local time, and followed by evacuating the victims.

The fire triggered by over-flow of oil on the surface, prompting villagers to collect the oil spill. However, fire suddenly broke out on the surface and quickly engulfed the surrounding area, including three houses.

The spokesperson of National Disaster Relief Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement that the people killed by the fire has risen to 18 people from 10 reported yesterday.

Sutopo said the well was drilled through traditional ways, but BNPB was not sure who owned the well. He added before the fire, oil and gas overflowed from the well, which encouraged some villagers to collect the crude oil. At around 01.30, suddenly fire broke out, leaving no time for the villagers to run away. (*)


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