By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian branch of the U.S. oil company, Chevron, is working to plug an oil leak discovered in the Campos Basin 230 miles (370 km) from the northeast coast of Rio de Janeiro state. The company denies that the leak is related to its drilling in the area and is investigating the possibility that the oil has leaked from a crack in the seabed.

Minister the Environment, Izabella Teixeira, participates in a recent ceremony, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Minister the Environment, Izabella Teixeira, participates in a recent ceremony of the Best Practices Award from the Environmental Agenda in Public Administration, photo by Renato Araujo/ABr.

Nevertheless, Chevron has been quick to respond to the emergency, sending crews and equipment out to the area as a matter of urgency.

The leak was discovered on Thursday when Petrobras workers from the nearby Roncador oil field noticed a sheen on the ocean’s surface about 1km from Chevron’s offshore field, Frade.

“Chevron Brasil Petroleo Ltd. is aware of an oil sheen located between the Frade and Roncador fields in the Campos Basin,” said Kut Glaubitz, a company spokesperson.

“Chevron is investigating the source of the oil sheen. All the appropriate actions to respond are being taken.”

Brazil’s national oil regulator the ANP (Agência Nacional de Petróleo) is working with Chevron to discover the source of the leak. As yet, the scale of the problem remains unknown.

This is happening on the heels of a 150,000 person demonstration in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, protesting against new legislation which is likely to take oil revenues away from oil-producing states, including Rio state.

Last year Brazilian Environmental Minister Izabella Teixeira announced the National Contingency Plan (PNC) for open sea oil exploration and production, which was influenced by the 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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12 COMMENTS

  1. The National Contingency Plan, as predicted by the Curmudgeon in a column over a year ago, is a joke. Nobody in the Brazilian Government has a clue about water currents, temperature, density, animal vegetable or mineral life that far offshore. Nobody.
    Just as nobody in the US government had a clue about the deep water areas of the Gulf of Mexico. There’s still no clue, and if you ask anyone “where did the spilled oil go?” you get no answer at all, or “we still don’t know” from the honest few.
    The only “good” news from this is that the slick appears to be heading southwest, meaning it will reach Africa or Ascension Island or Antarctica, but not Brazil. But nobody knows.

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