Chevron halts production after leak at Brazil oil field
- 15 March 2012
- From the section Latin America & Caribbean
The US oil company Chevron says it has temporarily halted production operations in Brazil after a fresh oil leak was discovered.
It has detected what it calls a "small new seepage" of oil on the seabed close to a well in the Frade field, where there was a major leak in 2011.
The company says it has taken the step as a precaution.
In November up to 3,000 barrels of oil spilled from the well, which is around 240 miles (370km) off Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil's oil regulator, ANP, says it is unclear how large the latest spillage might be, but that the oil seems to be coming from cracks in the ocean floor close to the well, rather than the well itself.
Chevron is already facing a $100m (£64m) fine for November's leak, and ANP says it will impose a new fine for failing to prevent this latest spill.
Chevron has confirmed the leak in a statement, and says it is working to collect any crude oil that has made its way into the ocean.
Company executives say there is no evidence the new leak was caused by drilling.
The Frade field is the largest foreign run oil field in Brazil, and produces around 60,000 barrels of crude oil a day.