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Brazilian navy reports new oil slick in Chevron field

The Americas Post - There's a lot of oil off Brazil, but some of it is in the water again. Image: sojitz.com

The Brazilian navy has detected a thin oil slick, stretching for about a mile, in the same offshore field where U.S. oil company Chevron had a minor spill in November.

Navy officials reported the spot on Friday after a surveillance flight off the Atlantic coast of Brazil, according to a statement issued late on Friday.

The Navy, oil industry regulator ANP and environmental protection agency IBAMA, will supervise and coordinate actions with Chevron to control the spill, the statement said.

On Thursday Chevron moved to temporarily stop production operations in Brazil after it detected a “small new leak” of oil in the Frade field.

The company said it adopted the measure as a precaution to study its “reservoir management plans”, where they have spent over two billion dollars to develop that nation’s largest oil field controlled by foreigners.

If approved by Brazilian regulators, the suspension will close an oil field with capacity to pump 80,000 barrels per day, more than 3 percent of oil production in Brazil.

Chevron’s public relations firm in Rio de Janeiro said the company would issue no immediate comment on the statement of the Navy.  The previous Chevron spill in November leaked about 3,000 barrels from cracks in the seafloor.  That resulted in a civil lawsuit for 11 billion dollars, the largest case of environmental damage in the history of Brazil, even though the total amount of oil released was less than 0.1 percent of the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Chevron said Thursday that there was no evidence yet that the two were related spills.  ANP, the Brazilian Navy and IBAMA officials will meet early next week to assess the situation, the statement said.