RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Oil spilled from a pipeline linking a main Atlantic Ocean terminal with a refinery near Rio de Janeiro on Friday, Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said.
The spill contaminated a coastal wetland area and leaked into the ocean, a spokesman for the union representing employees at the refinery said.
The narrow coastal region where the spill occurred is in Rio de Janeiro's Costa Verde or "Green Coast" - one of Brazil's most beloved tourist regions and home to one of the last stands of the endangered Atlantic-Forest ecosystem.
Neither Petrobras, as the company is known, nor the union said how much oil was spilled.
The oil spilled from a 40-inch (1.01-meter) diameter ORBIG pipeline that runs 123 kilometers (76 miles) from Angra dos Reis, where the company unloads some of its largest tankers, to the Duque de Caxias Refinery (REDUC), where much of the oil is turned into gasoline, diesel and other fuels.
REDUC, in suburban Rio de Janeiro, can process about 242,000 barrels of crude oil a day. REDUC is also a hub for pipelines linking oil terminals on Rio's Guanabara Bay, oil and gas fields in the offshore Campos Basin and refineries further inland.
Petrobras said the leak was caused by an attempt to steal fuel. The ORBIG pipeline is normally used to carry crude oil.
(Reporting by Jeb Blount, Marta Nogueira and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool)