Regulator says leak found in Petrobras oil field

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 09, 2012 8:38 PM
Regulator says leak found in Petrobras oil field

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - An oil seep was discovered in Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras' offshore Roncador oil field, one of the country's largest, Brazil's oil regulator ANP said on Monday.

No traces have been found on the surface, but droplets of oil were found leaking from the seabed 500 meters from the edge of the Frade field, ANP said. Frade, where leaks were discovered in November and March, is operated by U.S. oil company Chevron and 30 percent owned by Petrobras.

Chevron said it first detected the new seep on Saturday. "Upon further investigation with a remote operated vehicle, we determined the seep point was outside the boundary of the Frade Field," Chevron said in a statement. "We have notified the operator of the concession."

Petrobras confirmed in a statement it had found the source of the oil seep in the seabed of the Roncador field, 120 kilometers (75 miles) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

A November accident at a well in the Frade field caused a spill of about 3,000 barrels that has led to lawsuits for more than $20 billion and criminal charges against Chevron, its drilling contractor Transocean and their employees.

A March seep in the Frade field prompted Chevron and its partners Petrobras and a Japanese group led by Inpex and Sojitz to shut down production at the field, which was producing about 62,000 barrels per day. That seep resulted in a spill of about two barrels, Chevron said.

(Reporting by Jeb Blount and Brad Haynes; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)