The eruption of an illegal oil well in Aceh, Indonesia, burned down nearby houses and resulted in the death count of over 20 people, on April 25th.
Oil Well Eruption in Aceh
|Oil Well Erupts into a 70 Meter Pillar of Fire/ origo.hu|
Aceh is the northern-most province of Indonesia, located on the island of Sumatra. On April 25th, an oil well explosion in Peureulak, Aceh caused 22 casualties and over 40 injuries. The explosion created a pillar of fire 70 meters high in the air, and burned down houses in the nearby neighborhood. Authorities think a cigarette might have been one of the catalysts for the explosion, although the investigation has not yet ended. The Disaster Mitigation Agency of Aceh announced that a total of 198 people had been evacuated and that the oil well drilling had been carried out by people without permission.
Illegal Oil Wells in Indonesia
The oil well in Peureulak was only one example of the many oil wells being operated illegally in East Aceh. East Aceh is known to be filled with a lot of similarly unauthorized oil wells. In fact, the numbers of these illegal oil drilling operations are reported to be up to the tens of thousands across Indonesia. Wahyu Kuncoro, chief of East Aceh Police, told the press that these illegal oil operations were known about, but were not strictly restricted since many people depended on them for their livelihood. Mangantar Marpaung, former chief of the Indonesian Mining, Fire, and Rescue Agency, mentioned a similar opinion in a report in the New York Times. He told the media, “Villagers try to separate the illegally-pumped oil in forms of kerosene and sell to the local markets, or for motorcycles and fishing boats. Local governments know, but because they cannot provide any other jobs, they look the other way.”
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