A gas well near Surabaya, operated by PT Lapindo Brantas, has spewed steaming mud since May last year, submerging villages, factories and fields in Indonesia. After eight months of mud and fruitless attempts to stop the flow, geophysicists will attempt to plug the hole by dropping 1,000 sets of specially created weights into the hole.
Each set of weights includes four concrete balls – two 16 inches across and two eight inches across – linked by a heavy five-foot chain for a total mass of about 660 pounds. The concrete balls would be lowered by crane into the main source of the mud spill near Surabaya, in East Java.
The scheme was dreamt up by three geophysicists at the Bandung Institute of Technology: Bagus Nurhandoko, Satria Bijaksana and Umar Fauzi.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has already ordered Lapindo to pay 3.8 trillion rupiah (420 million dollars) in compensation and costs related to the disaster.