Brazil slaps Chevron with another fine over last month's oil spill
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (NTN24) Brazil's environment inspector fined Chevron 10 million reais ($5.4 million) Friday for breaching the terms of the US oil giant's environmental license when tackling an offshore spill at a well the firm drilled in November. Brazil says Chevron didn't have the right equipment and took too long to respond. The fine is on top of a 50 million reais charge the inspector, Ibama, slapped on Chevron for causing the spill at the Frade field when rock gave way due to a pressure surge. Chevron estimates 2400 barrels of oil spilled into the sea. The fines pale into insignificance compared to the $11 billion lawsuit Rio de Janeiro state prosecutors are trying to bring against the company for a spill analysts consider fairly minor and one that never washed up on the country's shores.That action has raised concerns that unpredictable regulatory oversight could deter big oil companies from investing in Brazil just as it starts to tap vast new oil reserves of up to 50 billion barrels discovered in 2007.