17 November 2011

BRASIL: 22 Nov UPDATE: Chevron Fined $28mn Over Frade Field Oil Spill; More Fines Possible.

        Chevron is accepting blame even as more disturbing details emerge about its ongoing 14-day oil spill...off Rio's coast.
       And it must pay a fine of at least $28mn...and may face a 5 year ban on exploration there..and more fines as the probe proceeds...perhaps up to $139mn.
       Officials also now believe that Chevron may have edited underwater videos of the seeping oil...to underplay the damage.
       Chevron is Brasil's #3 oil producer.
      The serious spill reportedly began on 7 Nov...at 4,000 feet...in Brasil's much hyped deep pre-salt Frade field.
      It still may not be contained as Chevron claims...and the amount of leaking oil may be much higher than first declared... perhaps 300 bbls daily...even as ships continue to skim the surface of the slick.
      Satellite fotos show widespread coverage...11 miles/18 kms long.
     Greenpeace estimates as much as 3,700 bbls...are leaking daily.
     By contrast...BP's Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon/Macondo well accident spilled... 53,000 bbls...daily.
     Worst...it was revealed that Chevron was reportedly not prepared to fight any leaks.
     It had to be told about the spill by...Petrobras.
     More environmental damage is feared...perhaps even affecting migrating whales and dolphins.
     Brasil has suffered several worse spills...in 1975...and in 2000.
     But the nation is betting its future... and $254bn... on developing new wells in the deep pre-salt fields off its coast.
     Chevron may eventually be able to reopen the plugged but slowly leaking well head.