Lumpur Sidoarjo (LUSI) Frequent Ask Question (FAQ) – English Version

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Sidoarjo Mud Flow (often abbreviated as Lumpur Sidoarjo “Lusi” – wherein Lumpur is the Indonesian word of mud; Sidoarjo is the name of a village) was first erupted on May 29th, 2006 in the village of Siring, Porong district, Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia about 200 meters away from gas drilling wells (operated by Lapindo Brantas Inc.) in the village of Renokenongo (Banjar Panji Well #1) had a widespread impact on the joints of the lives and livelihoods of surrounding communities.

Some of the questions often asked by the public about Lusi eruption itself, the activity, as well as a variety of efforts that have been, are, and will be carried out can be summarized as follows:

Q: Is the eruption are still active?

A: Yes, it is still active.

Q: Are there any differences in the activity of the beginning periode of eruption compared to current activity?

A: There are a few differences. Once when it first erupted, poured put material consist of water mixed with sand, with the greatest volume reaches + - 100,000 m3/day. The analogy is like one bathtub households generally (length, width, and height of 1 meter) filled with mud, multiplied home. Note that volume was per day. When compared to its the current volume (August 2012) Lusi eruption has been substantially decreased to + - 30,000 m3 per day.

When comparing the composition of the material, once concentrated solids was 70% sand, and 30% liquid. Currently it released more fluid material which is 30% sand and the remaining consist water. The other significance differences was the temperature of the material, used to be hot reached in rough range between 70-80 0C, compared to now moderately warm temperature 20-35 0C.

Q: How is widespread mud up to now? Will it continue to expand? Is it possible to reach the city of Sidoarjo? Or even reach Surabaya?

A: Up to this time, the area which had been sank by mud is about 640 hectares, or equal to 1,600 football fields wide. So far this area does not extend more and the Government through the Sidoarjo Mud Mitigation Agency (SMMA or in Indonesia known as BPLS – Badan Penanggulangan Lumpur Sidoarjo) continues to keep the mud from spreading. An estimation that the mud flow could get to downtown Sidoarjo is not valid, especially since the distance between the center of eruption to downtown Sidoarjo is + - 10 kms, yet even more further to Surabaya – the capital city of East Java, with distance over 30 kms.

Q: What was done to keep the mud flow from spreading?

A: The Mud flow which burst out of the eruption is being localized in ponds bounded by dykes. To reduce the mud volume of in the pond, the mud is flushed by dredging machine to a pipeline drained into Porong River (located in the southern ponds). Furthermore, the mud is expected to float naturally to the sea (Madura Strait) through Porong River estuary.

Q: What causes the eruption?

A: Until now the cause of eruption is still being debated. In general, the causes of bursts can be classified into 2 perspectives, caused by humans/ manmade or natural phenomena. However it is not impossible that the cause of eruption is a combination of both concept above. From each group of causes has been intensively researched by the experts. The research results can be found easily online.

The first perspective believed that the Lusi eruption caused by human (man made), commonly associated by the PT Lapindo Brantas drilling activities in Renokenongo village, Sidoarjo. It is believed that due to a technical error in drilling process, have led to material inside the Earth's burst to surface. The famous terms was underground blowout.

Experts who support this group include Prof. Richard J. Davies (UK), Rudi Rubiandini (Indonesia), Mark Tingay (Australia), and many more. One of the well known publication by Prof. Richard J. Davies titled "Birth of a mud volcano: East Java, 29 May 2006" was published in the Journal of the Geological Society of America (GSA Today) volume 7 issued February 17th 2007, concluded that the mudflow triggered by human activities (man-made) is by drilling wells BJP-1.

The second experts group believed that the eruption caused by natural phenomena, which argue that Lusi eruption was associated with the earthquake that occurred in Yogyakarta on May 27th 2006, or two days before the eruption of Lusi. The experts in this group believe that there was a correlation between earthquakes with bursts of Lusi. The quake triggered a new fracture or re-activated an old fracture so it can serve as a channel through which the mud burst to the surface.

Experts who support this group include: Adriano Mazzini (Norway), Bambang Istadi (Indonesia), and others. Publication of the results by Mazzini titled "Strike-slip faulting as a trigger mechanism for overpressure release through piercement structures. Implications for the Lusi mud volcano, Indonesia" was published in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology 26 in 2009.

Q: Can the eruption be stopped?

A: Many efforts have been tried to stop or control the eruption. Such efforts was by relief well method and the insertion of the concrete balls, were carried out in 2006/2007. However, these efforts did not effectively stop the eruption. At the symposium forum conducted in May 2011, experts agree that the mudflow in Sidoarjo will still last a long time, and concluded that the eruption cannot be stopped. Experts also believed that the eruption had a mimic the characteristics of such a mud volcano, however it was still required further research to its denouement.

Q: How long eruption will continue to release material?

A: In some meetings geologists said that the eruption can last up to 30 years. Recently researchers from the UK, Richard Davies in his publication titled "Probabilistic Longevity For The Lusi Mud Volcano East Java" claimed 26 years.

It was fantastic to imagine that the magnitude of the age of 26 or 30 years of the continuous eruption. However, keep in mind that after 5 years of age Lusi today, eruption had been substantially reduced by naturally, both production and activity. Often eruption seen no activity at all, so the threat of mud flow can be rated decreased. Thus, it could be wise to understand the 26-30 years aged of active eruption, while the expected of the threat hopefully will be much more shorter.

Q: What did the government do to handle the mud and other regarding issues?

A: In order to overcome the problems that arise at the beginning of the mud flow, Government established the National Team in the Sidoarjo Mudflow Mitigation through Presidential Decree of the Republic of Indonesia Number 13 Year 2006 dated September 8th 2006 and serve for 6 (six) months, which then extended for 1 (one) more month through the President Decree No. 5 of 2007.

By considering of the increasingly widespread mud flow impact in the first quarter of 2007, the Government firm up the Sidoarjo Mud Mitigation Agency (SMMA or Badan Penanggulangan Lumpur Sidoarjo) on April 8th 2007.

Q: What is SMMA? Is SMMA part of Lapindo Brantas Inc.? What are the tasks of SMMA?

A: SMMA is the government Ad Hoc agency which was established through the Presidential Regulation No. 14/ 2007. SMMA was not formed by Lapindo Brantas Inc. and has no organizational relationship. SMMA perform tasks such as handling, controlling, monitoring mud eruption and its sediments, rescue people, handling social issues, relocate infrastructure, recover infrastructures farcicalities, supervising Lapindo Brantas Inc./ PT Minarak Lapindo Jaya (PT MLJ) in handling social compensation for villagers in Affected Area Map (the map was legalized through President Regulation No. 14/2007).

Q: What is a Map of Area Affected?

A: The Affected Area Map is a boundary area established on March 22th, 2007 as the basis for the replacement of land and buildings owned by the villagers, that have been submerged by the mud flow. Furthermore, the land and building replacement process was submitted to PT Lapindo Brantas / PT MLJ. The Affected Area includes three district includes 12 villages, with a total area of + - 640 hectare.

Q: What are the responsibilities of PT Lapindo Brantas / PT MLJ in the Affected Area Dated March 22th, 2007?

A: The main task of Lapindo Brantas Inc. was replacing land and residents building through selling-buying transaction, beginning with the provision of social aid package. Social aid package were given in the form of:
- Evacuation funds of IDR 500.000 (aprox. $50) / householders
- Ration of life funds IDR 300.000 (aprox. $30)/people/months for 6 months
- Housing funds IDR 1.500.000(aprox. $150)/householder/year for 2 years

The agreement stated that the land was valued IDR 1.000.000 (aprox. $100)/m2, building was valued IDR 1.500.000 (aprox. $150)/m2, and rice fields was valued IDR 120.000 (aprox. $12)/m2.

Q: What is the Government's role in the selling-buying transaction of land and buildings conducted by Lapindo Brantas Inc.?

A: SMMS supervise process of buying and selling conducted by Lapindo Brantas Inc. Moreover, in case of geological events outside the Affected Area Map March 22nd, 2007, which could endanger the safety of the public, as impacts of Lusi eruption, the government will determine additional map with a similar social aid package given by the Lapindo Brantas Inc, which will be funded state budget.

Q: Was the affected area extended?

A: It should be noted that both mudflow area spread and the Affected Area determined (March 22nd 2007) so far remain the same.

With continuous impact of geological hazard outside of the Affected Area that could potential harm the people living around the dike, the government has set a different boundary area, focusing on social aid and recovery. The area was determined by Presidential Regulation. Furthermore, people in which stated inside the area determined by the Presidential Regulation, would received social aid package fund, land and building replacement with the reference price as same as Lapindo Brantas Inc. agreements.

Q: Where are the source of financing, both social aid funds package and lands capitalization?

A: The purchase of land and building residents come from two sources of financing. Land and buildings which have been submerged by mudflow in the Affected Area Map March 22nd solely financed by Lapindo Brantas Inc.

The area outside the Affected Area March 22nd 2007 were fully funded by the government through the state budget.

Q: Which area is included in the Affected Area March 22nd 2007 and beyond?

A: The area referred to can be examine as follows.

Q: How was the payment scheme both from Lapindo Brantas and government?

A: The basic scheme of payment was by an advance payment (20%) and a further payment of redemption (80%).

In the progress payments scheme conducted by Lapindo Brantas Inc. had met major default due to financial crisis in the Lapindo’s company itself, and global financial crisis. These led to a major adjustment to the payment periode, which based on the initial agreement the payment supposed to be accomplished by the end of 2009. The adjustment had furthermore changed the 80% payment to be pay by installment with month by month periode payment scheme. Until now (September 2012) the installment payment was still to failed, with aprox. IDR 900 billion ($900 million) or an agregat of aprox. 28% remaining debt to the villagers in the Affected Area.

The payment scheme for land and building residents who lives outside Affected Area which was government responsibility had finished 20% advance payment, and the rest of the payment will be fullfiled with respect to progress payments made by Lapindo Brantas Inc. This was the only best solution in order to avoid social conflicts between villagers (inside vs outside Affected Area).