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Brazilian feds investigating oil spill

The Americas Post - Why is this such a familiar sight? Photo Credit: AP

The Brazilian Federal Police department announced that it has begun investigating an oil spill in an offshore field operated by multinational producer Chevron Corporation off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Federal Police department environmental affairs division chief Fabio Scliar told government news service Agencia Brasil that his division began looking into the causes of the spill and its extent on Thursday.

Chevron spokesman Scott Walker released a brief statement, saying only that the company “continues to fully inform and cooperate with Brazilian government agencies.”   The company said it has 18 ships working on a rotating basis to collect oil off the surface and monitor the slick.

Chevron admits only that between 400 and 650 barrels of oil have leaked from a well it was drilling off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.  The company said the spill occurred when drillers underestimated the pressure of an underwater oil reservoir, causing oil to rush up the bore hole and escape into the surrounding seabed.  It then began to leak from seven cracks in the ocean floor within 160 feet of the well head, continuing to release between 420 gallons and 4,200 gallons daily.

Since the spill began on November 7, Brazilian authorities say over 110,000 gallons of oil have spilled into the Atlantic.