Brazil calls on oil firms to operate responsibly

March 22nd, 2012 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro, March 22 (IANS/EFE) Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called on oil companies to operate responsibly and comply with all environmental regulations after a new crude leak was detected last week at an offshore field operated by US multinational Chevron Corp.

“The companies that plan to set up shop here, and those already operating here, have to know that the safety protocols are there to be followed by everyone,” Rousseff said here Wednesday during the inauguration ceremony for the new director of the ANP national oil regulator, Magda Chambriard.

Both the ANP and the oil firms themselves have the obligation to “act responsibly” to guarantee operational safety and environmental preservation, the head of state said.

“No exceptions are allowed. (Companies) must operate within the safety limits and on some occasions below those limits. (Those limits) should never be pushed and never exceeded,” Rousseff said.

She issued the warning after prosecutors accused Chevron of using excessive pressure in oil drilling at the Frade field, 120 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state where numerous oil leaks have occurred.

After 2,400 barrels of oil leaked from a Frade well last November, the ANP in recent days identified new seepage points along an 800-meter fissure in the seabed at the same field, where crude particles have been observed.

Brazilian authorities have filed criminal charges against 17 executives of Chevron and Swiss-based drilling contractor Transocean Ltd. over the crude leaks.

A Brazilian court had already barred those same executives, including the head of Chevron’s Brazilian division, US citizen George Buck, from leaving the country.

According to Rousseff, the ANP must demand that oil companies operating in Brazil comply with safety standards to prevent environmental disasters.

“We all know it’s up to the ANP to oversee accidents (involving) incompetence and violations of safety standards. We must congratulate the ANP for what it’s done thus far,” she said.

–IANS/EFE
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