11 July 2024

Thailand’s Marine Department has finally granted permission for Star Petroleum Refining Plc (SPRC) to start repairing the ruptured submarine oil pipeline at the offshore mooring platform off Rayong province.

The decision, after several days’ delay, was reached during an urgent Zoom meeting today (Sunday), which was attended by representatives of the oil company, the Marine Department, the Council of Engineers of Thailand, the Engineering Institute of Thailand, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Department of Pollution Control and Map Ta Phut police.

The approved maintenance plan will consist of applying leak stopping compounds, pumping residual oil out of the pipeline and the use of special adhesive material wrapped around the two points of rupture in the pipeline.

Phuripat Theerakulpisut, deputy director-general of the Marine Department, said today that all the repair work must be done under the supervision of experts from abroad and representatives of the pipeline’s manufacturer, in close coordination with the Marine Department and the Royal Thai Navy, who will ensure safety and limit the potential damage cause by any oil spilt during the repairs.

He also said that SPRC has prepared three response groups, one of which is responsible for laying five booms, each about 200 metres long, near the mooring platform. 10 vessels will be deployed to tow the booms to contain any further leakage of oil. The second group is responsible for applying dispersant and the third comprises the Si Racha Offshore 881 vessel, which is specially designed to collect spilt oil at a rate of up to 100,000 litres per hour.

Another vessel is equipped to trap submarine oil spills and pump it on board.

Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Navy will place a vessel on standby to observe the repair and support operations, with 24 drivers available to provide support.

Phuripat said he has instructed SPRC to submit its full repair plan to the Rayong office of the Maritime Department by 10am on Monday, so formal permission can be granted for the commencement of repairs.