Australian offshore drilling rig leaks oil, could take weeks to plug

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

A leak at an offshore oil drilling rig has caused an oil slick off Australia's coast. According to the rig's operator, it could take weeks to fully plug it.

Gas and oil started leaking from a hole beneath the sea floor on early Friday. It has caused an oil slick about nine miles long and thirty yards wide

Officials, however, said that there was no threat to the environment and it was improbable the slick would reach the Australian coast. Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said that "there's no threat to the Australian coast. It is evaporating naturally and the work of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will merely assist in that evaporation."

69 people were evacuated from the rig on Friday, amid fears that a fire could start from the condensate oil.

The rig is located approximately 150 miles off the coast of Kimberley.