19 March 2012

Brazil bars oil execs from leaving country

Authorities in Brazil have prevented 17 officials from California-based energy company Chevron - including the head of operations in the South American country, George Buck -- from leaving the country.

Campos Basin: area of the spill

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Brazilian government is preparing to take legal action following an incident at the Frade oil field.They are already seeking around $11 billion in damages from a spill at the Frade field in November. Now, however, more allegations are expected to be levelled at Chevron following another, smaller leak last week.

Legal decision

A Chevron official told the newspaper: 'Neither Chevron Brazil nor its executives have been formally notified of any action by the judiciary yet… Any legal decision will be abided by the company and its employees.’
The incident last week at the 60,000 barrels-per-day Frade field – which lies 370 kilometres off of the Brazilian coast – was relatively small. It is reported to be a smaller than the leak in November, which saw the relatively minor loss of 3,000 barrels.
Chevron, which owns half of Caltex Australia, holds a 51.74 per cent stake in the Frade oil field, with Japanese companies Inpex, Sojitz, and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals sharing the remainder.

Second spill

Although Chevron has not addressed the question of whether the two incidents are related, Brazilian authorities suspect the second spill – which resulted in a shutdown of production - was directly caused by the first. Chevron – which claims that the leaks have not damaged any wildlife or coastline -- has already been fined more than $5bn for the first leak.

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