Brazil Investigates Oil Spill

November 14, 2011

Brazil’s president has ordered a full investigation into an oil spill near an offshore field operated by oil giant Chevron Corp.

Dilma Rousseff said in a statement that she wants a “rigorous investigation” to determine responsibility for the spill near the well being drilled by Chevron’s Brazilian subsidiary.

The statement says the Mines and Energy Ministry and the National Petroleum Agency will conduct the probe.

The oil spill was detected on Thursday.

In a statement e-mailed Saturday, the oil company said it was “responding to oil seeps and a subsequent sheen in the vicinity of the Chevron operated Frade project in water depths of approximately 3,800 feet (1,200 meters).” Frade is located 230 miles (370 kilometers) off the northeast coast of Rio de Janeiro state.

The statement also said the total volume of the sheen was estimated at between 400 and 650 barrels of oil and that Chevron was “scheduling and deploying a fleet of support vessels to control the sheen and minimize any environmental impact.”

Chevron said a remotely operated subsea vehicle detected seep lines near Frade and that these were the source of the oil sheen at the surface.

It added that it had closed a well it was drilling in the vicinity of the oil seeps and that “investigations are continuing on the cause and source of the seeps.”

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