Origin, upstream operator of the Australia Pacific LNG project, has announced a phased restart of previously suspended drilling operations at 12 rig sites in south west central Queensland.

On 13 March 2014, Origin suspended drilling operations as a precautionary measure following notification from drilling fluid supplier, Australian Mud Company Pty Ltd, that the additive known as NUTPLUG, sometimes used in drilling was recently found to contain asbestos.

Origin is diligently working through a comprehensive and systematic process of airborne and surface testing to ensure drilling rigs either have no traces of asbestos or have been verified as safe and cleared to resume operations.

As a result, five of the previously suspended drilling rigs have been tested and returned to work. The remaining seven rigs are expected to progressively return to service over the coming days.

Origin’s highest priorities are, and will continue to be, the health and safety of everyone associated with the project and minimising impacts on the environment.

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