Petrobras reports MTBE leak

Petroleo Brasileiro SA's string of bad luck continues with the announcement Tuesday that a processing unit in Rio de Janeiro state had leaked the fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether. It is the third incident involving the leakage or spill of Petrobras oil or products in the last month.


RIO DE JANEIRO�Petroleo Brasileiro SA's string of bad luck continues with the announcement Tuesday that a processing unit in Rio de Janeiro state had leaked the fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether. It is the third incident involving the leakage or spill of Petrobras oil or products in the last month.

Petrobras said in a statement that about 1,000 l. of the substance leaked from a unit in Paracambi, Rio de Janeiro, over the weekend. Officials said they were not immediately able to determine the cause of the leak.

The leakage has been stopped, however, with no significant environmental damage, says Petrobras.

In the US, leaking underground gasoline storage tanks in some areas have caused localized contamination of groundwater with MTBE, creating a national movement to ban the substance from US gasoline.

In July, Petrobras reported a 4,000-l. crude oil spill from an oil tanker off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. That same month, the company reported a 4 million l. crude oil leak from a pipeline at a refinery in Parana state (OGJ Online, July 17, 2000). The Brazilian Environmental Protection Institute yesterday fined Petrobras 168 million real ($93.9 million) in connection with that spill.

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