The blowout of the Montara H1 well in the Timor Sea off the northwest coast of Australia in August 2009 was the first such incident in Australian offshore waters for 25 years. This paper analyses critical decisions made by individuals on the rig and in onshore management in the period leading up to this catastrophic event. The concepts of operator competence and capacity are then used to demonstrate that the operator of the facility PTTEPAA had significant management and system deficiencies in areas such as understanding of the need for multiple barriers, management and technical supervision, integrity assurance and the use of risk assessment to justify departures from established standards. The paper concludes by pointing to changes in regulatory policy regarding safety that may be justified to more effectively prevent such incidents in the future.
Hayes, Jan, 2011, WP 81 - Operator competence and capacity: Lessons from the Montara Blowout, National Research Centre for OHS Regulation, Canberra