Chevron faces £50m fine for Brazilian spill

22nd November 2011

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  • Generation ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Water ,
  • Corporate fine ,
  • Natural resources



US oil company Chevron could be fined up to 150 million reais (£53.2 million) by the Brazilian government after causing the country's biggest oil spill in more than a decade.

Brazil’s environment agency has announced it be fine Chevron 50 million reais (£17.7 million) for the spill, and is considering whether to impose another 100 million reais penalty pending the outcome of a police investigation.

The leak off the coast of Rio de Janeiro was caused when rig operators at Chevron’s Frade field site failed to anticipate the amount of pressure in underground oil reserves. As a result oil rushed up to the seabed and seeped out at a rate of 200 to 330 barrels a day.

Chevron, which has admitted responsibility for the accident and the clear up, estimates that 2,400 barrels of oil escaped into the South Atlantic.

The spill was described by Haroldo Lima, head of Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP), as “a serious accident but not a major one” at a press conference on Monday (21 November) where he confirmed the leak was now under control.

However, Lima also told journalists that Chevron did not have the necessary equipment to deal with an accident and that on top of further fines it was possible that Chevron may lose its license to drill in the area.

The Frade field site is located in Brazil’s subsalt region, an area with oil reserves deep underwater which could hold up to 100 billion barrels of oil. The region has the potential to make Brazil the world’s third largest oil producer, but the spill, following the Gulf of Mexico disaster last year, has raised questions as to the safety of deepwater drilling.


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