Brazil seeking $10 bn from Chevron for oil spill

December 16th, 2011 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 16 (IANS/EFE) Brazilian federal prosecutors are seeking 20 billion reais (some $10 billion) in damages from US oil supermajor Chevron and Swiss-based Transocean for an oil spill that began in early November.

The prosecutor’s office in the southeastern city of Campos, Rio de Janeiro state, filed a civil suit Wednesday in which it also requested a court injunction to halt the companies’ operations and a daily fine of 500 million reais ($266.8 million) in case of non-compliance, the official Agencia Brasil news agency said.

In a statement, federal prosecutor Eduardo Santos Oliveira said Chevron and Transocean, the drilling contractor at the offshore well where the accident occurred, were unable to contain the spill and reduce its impact and used an “inefficient” technique in their clean-up efforts.

Separately, a court granted a request by the Fishermen’s Federation of Rio de Janeiro for an independent expert evaluation of the oil spill’s potential damage to fishing production in the region, where some 10,000 people ply that trade.

The spill began Nov 8 at an appraisal well in the offshore Campos basin due to an “unexpected pressure spike or ‘kick’” during “drilling toward a targeted reservoir”, Chevron said in its preliminary assessment of the incident.

The San Ramon, California-based company estimates that a total of 2,400 barrels of crude leaked from the well, although Rio de Janeiro state officials say close to 15,000 barrels were spilled.

The company dispersed or recovered the majority of the crude that rose to the surface and the oil sheen, located some 120 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, has almost completely dissipated.

–IANS/EFE
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