Chevron detects new oil leak in Brazil

March 17th, 2012 - 11:47 am ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro, March 17 (IANS/EFE) US oil supermajor Chevron Corp. announced it has detected a small crude leak at the same field off Brazil’s coast where another spill occurred last November.

Company spokespersons said they detected a “small new seep” at the Frade field, located 120 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state in the Campos basin, Brazil’s largest oil region.

Chevron said it immediately acted to recover the leaked crude, which seeped out of a new crack in the ocean floor, about three km from the site of the November spill.

Following this latest leak, Chevron requested authorization from Brazil’s ANP oil regulator to temporarily suspend field production operations at Frade, Chevron Brazil’s corporate affairs director, Rafael Jaen, said Thursday at a press conference.

The company said it took the decision as a “precautionary measure” and also installed a system to capture small bubbles of oil that leaked from the crack in the sea floor.

The ANP confirmed the new spill and said it was small in size, although it did not give a volume estimate.

Chevron estimated that 2,400 barrels of crude leaked in November from sea-floor cracks near an exploratory well in the Frade field, although Brazilian authorities say they believe the amount was nearly 15,000 barrels.

Brazilian authorities have imposed several fines on Chevron and the company also faces lawsuits seeking to ban it from operating in Brazil and force it to pay steep compensation for the November spill.

Following that accident, Chevron acknowledged that the cracks in the ocean floor occurred because it miscalculated the pressure in the reservoir.

Chevron currently extracts 79,000 barrels of crude per day at its operations in Brazil.

–IANS/EFE
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