Report: Chevron at Fault in Brazil Oil Spill

Officials say well should not have been drilled considering the conditions at the site.

A huge oil spill off Brazil's southern coast was the result of excessive pressure used by oil giant Chevron Corp. in drilling the sea floor, according to a report by police and prosecutors published by local media March 20.

The O Globo newspaper quoted Fabio Scliar, head of the environment unit of Brazil's federal police department, as saying that the deep water well "could not and should not have been drilled under the conditions presented in the area," adding that an "absurd" amount of pressure was used at the site situated off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.

"All indications are that a desire for profits led (Chevron) to take the prohibitive risk" of drilling at the site, Scliar concluded in the document, according to O Globo.

Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP), the country's national oil regulator, has estimated that some 2,400 barrels of crude were spilled at the site.

Following last year's huge spill in the Frade Field area off Rio de Janeiro state, Brazilian authorities suspended all of Chevron's drilling operations and denied it access to huge new offshore fields, which ANP says have reserves that could surpass 100 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable oil.

The investigation attributed a smaller spill at the site last week to the same cause.

Prosecutors also have announced legal action against Chevron, its Brazilian unit and oil drilling contractor Transocean, seeking $11 billion over the November spill.

So far, Chevron has been fined $33 million and been barred from new exploration operations.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

See also:

Chevron Execs Barred from Leaving Brazil



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