By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian branch of U.S. oil company, Chevron, announced yesterday that they had identified a new leak in their Frade oil field in the Campos Basin. The leak was discovered during routine monitoring and, according to statements the company released to the press, all production in Brazil will be temporarily stopped.
The new Director of Corporate Affairs for Chevron Brazil, Rafael Jaen, told the press yesterday the temporary decision to suspend all its oil production is unprecedented in the country.
Jaen added that the goal is to discover the causes of the latest accident, which occurred about three miles east of the where the company’s November 8th leak happened.
The leak last year released somewhere between 2,400 and 3,400 barrels of oil into the waters of the Campos Basin, 230 miles (370 km) from the northeast coast of Rio de Janeiro state.
The initial statement from the company explained, “During monitoring of the Frade Field, Chevron Brazil identified a small patch (of oil) and a new outflow source … Containment devices were immediately installed to collect the drops, which were infrequent. [Yesterday] some small droplets were seen on the surface. Chevron Brazil is investigating the incident.”
This is the second Chevron leak in less than five months to hit International headlines, and since then court proceedings have leveled heavy fines against the company, including a pending lawsuit of around R$20 billion.
Carlos Minc, the state secretary of the environment, said that a new leak in the well of Chevron shows the importance of a study of risk analysis as well as the adoption of stringent environmental preventive measures for drilling of oil on the seabed. Minc also said Chevron “lacked transparency” after the November 2011 leak, and that the information available so far in this second case is still insufficient.
Unfortunately Chevron is not alone in recent leaks being reported in Brazil. State-majority-owned Petrobrás has also had three small leaks in their pre-salt drilling operations since the beginning of 2012.
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