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Oil leak & fire in Balikpapan bay caused by Pertamina’s broken oil pipeline

Oil Spill and coal vessel fire in Balikpapan Bay (Photo credit: Chelsea Iwan Abdul Rahman facebook page)

JAKARTA ( – After several days of investigation, the police in East Kalimantan has discovered that the oil leak and fire in Balikpapan bay, in East Kalimantan was caused by a broken underwater oil pipe, owned by the state-owned energy company PT Pertamina.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has also confirmed that the broken pipe was behind the environmental tragedy.

The reason why was broken still needs further investigation. However, Director General for Oil and Gas at the energy ministry Djoko Siswanto told reporters on Thursday that most likely pipe was broken after hit by a coal barge,  MV Ever Judger,  that was also caught by fire on the area.

“The area should have been freed from large vessels. The preliminary information revealed that the large barge anchored the vessel in the area,” Djoko Siswanto said.

East Kalimantan local police officers are now focusing on the reason why the oil pipeline was broken as Pertamina argues that the pipe was broken due to an extreme push, said East Kalimantan police officer for public affair Ade Yaya Suryana said.

A coal barge was caught by fire near Semayang Port, Balikpapan Bay, at 10.00 a.m. last Saturday (31/3), killing at least five people. The water surrounding the vessel, where the oil spill happened was also hit by fire, sending thick smoke to the air.

Region Manager Communication and CSR of Pertamina, Kalimantan, Yudi Reman, said the company along with the Environment and Forestry Ministry is also looking at the source of the oil that is sent via the pipeline.

The oil spill has caused devastating environmental damage in the Balikpapan Bay. Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said those who are responsible for the fire and oil spill should be held accountable and penalized. (*)

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