Petrobras reports oil spill off Brazil's coast

February 1, 2012 11:53 am 

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 1 — An accident in a well in the Santos Basin caused an oil spill off Brazil's southeastern coast, the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras said on Tuesday.

Petrobras said there was a production string rupture on FPWSO Dynamic Producer, located some 300 kilometers off the coast of Sao Paulo state. The water depth in the area is 2,140 meters.

The FPWSO was making a long term test in the Carioca Nordeste, a pre-salt layer area in the Santos Basin.

Petrobras also said the well was being constantly monitored, and after the rupture, the security system carried out an automatic shutdown.

Petrobras added the well "is closed and has been secured."

The company estimated that 160 barrels of oil may have leaked from the well, but assured the oil will not reach the Brazilian coast.

The Brazilian Navy, the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP), and environmental protection agency Ibama have been informed about the incident, and Petrobras' emergency plan has been set into action, the company said.

"All resources needed to collect the oil from the sea and the residual oil from the top of the column have been put into motion," Petrobras stated, adding that the causes of the rupture are being investigated.

Last year, a major accident occurred in an offshore well operated by U.S. oil company Chevron off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. A large amount of oil, over 2,000 barrels, spilled to the sea.

Chevron was fined some 50 million reais (28.6 million U.S. dollars) for the spill and was forbidden to drill in the area until investigation on the accident is over.

Rio's prosecutor's office is also suing Chevron for the damage to marine life. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV/jnc

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