Brazil regulator says Chevron could have avoided spill
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) – Chevron Corp. could have avoided a November oil spill of 3,700 barrels into the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil’s coast had it interpreted geological data better and followed industry safety practices more closely, the director of the national oil regulator said yesterday.
After months of investigation, the regulator, known as the ANP, released its final report on the spill in the so-called Frade field east of Rio de Janeiro. The spill was the result of a drilling accident when a pressure build-up fractured the rock surrounding a Chevron oil well.
The report, presented by ANP Director Magda Chambriard, will be the basis of fines Brazil will levy against Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company. Chambriard said the fines would be announced within 30 days.
Earlier this week, she said fines would not surpass 50 million reais ($25 million). But the report could also be used in civil and criminal cases filed against Chevron and Transocean Ltd., its drilling contractor, after the spill.
Prosecutors in those cases are seeking as much as $20 billion in damages, as well as possible jail sentences against 17 executives at the two companies.
Chevron, issued a statement disputing several of the ANP’s findings. The company said it spilled only 2,400 barrels of oil and disagreed “with the report’s characterization of our safety culture.”