Section 2(1) of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (as applied in relation to the Montara Inquiry by Part 9.10A of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006) allowed the Inquiry to summon a person to appear before the Commission at a hearing to give evidence.

The Inquiry held a public hearing over 21 days between 15 March and 16 April 2010. The main issues the Inquiry sought evidence on during the public hearing related to:

  • the cause of the Blowout;
  • the performance of relevant persons1 under the regulatory regime
  • the adequacy and effectiveness of the Northern Territory Department of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources’ (now the Department of Resources) monitoring and enforcement of PTTEP (Ashmore and Cartier) Australia Pty Ltd’s (PTTEPAA’s) well construction activities;
  • the extent of the spread of the Blowout; and
  • the adequacy of the National Oil Spill Plan (including the use of chemical dispersants in responding to the Blowout).

The Inquiry called the following witnesses to give evidence.

Position Date2
Seadrill Asia-Pacific Operations Manager
(Mr David Gouldin)
16 March
A Seadrill Rig Manager
(Mr Donald Millar)
17 March
A drilling supervisor subcontracted to PTTEPAA
(Mr Noel Treasure)
18 March
Cementers engaged by a subcontractor to PTTEPAA
(Mr David Doeg, Mr Peter Geste)
19 March
A drilling supervisor engaged by a subcontractor to PTTEPAA
(Mr Lindsay Wishart)
22 March
A Seadrill driller
(Mr David Horne)
23 March
A drilling supervisor engaged by a subcontractor to PTTEPAA
(Mr Paul O'Shea)
24 March
A PTTEPAA drilling superintendent
(Mr Chris Wilson)
25 March
A PTTEPAA well construction manager
(Mr Craig Duncan)
29 March
A PTTEPAA Executive
(Mr Andy Jacob)
7 April
NT Dept of Resources officer(s)
(Mr Dominic Marozzi, Mr Jeremy Whitfield, Mr Alister Trier)
12 April
AMSA officer(s)
(Mr Jamie Storrie, Mr Graham Peachey)
16 April

Set out below are:

The Inquiry also gave close consideration to broader environmental and wildlife issues raised by the Blowout, through consultation with those parties that provided information on such matters.

1 Terms of reference 3 defines ‘relevant persons’ as ‘persons who have engaged at any time in petroleum-related operations at the Montara Wellhead Platform that may have contributed to the cause(s) of the Uncontrolled Release, including but not limited to: the titleholder or a former titleholder of AC/L7 permit, a present or former owner or operator of the Montara Wellhead Platform, a present or former owner or operator of a drilling rig, a drilling contractor or a supplier or installer of plant or equipment.’