Petrobras fined $10 million for two oil spills

Ibama, Brazil's federal environmental agency, fined Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) $10 million for oil spills from two platforms in the Campos basin. The P-36 sank Mar. 20 and the P-7 platform leaked Apr. 13.


By an OGJ Online Correspondent

RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr. 23 -- Ibama, Brazil's federal environmental agency, fined Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) $10 million for oil spills from two platforms in the Campos basin.

The P-36 sank Mar. 20 as a result of damage sustained in explosions and a fire on Mar. 15. In a separate incident, oil spilled from the P-7 platform Apr. 13.

The P-36, the largest semisubmersible, was insured for $500 million and spilled 1.2 million l. of diesel and 300,000 l. of crude after it sank. The explosions killed 10 workers immediately and another died later in a hospital.

The P-7 spilled 26,000 l. of crude, and the spill was blamed on defective valves.

Petrobras' recurring oil spills justified the size of the fine, Ibama said.

In July 2000, the 189,000 b/d Presidente Getulio Vargas refinery in Araucaria, Parana state, spilled 4 million l. of oil. In January 2000, 1.2 million l. crude spilled in Guanabara Bay, and the spill was blamed on a ruptured tube in the Reduc refinery.

Ibama criticized Petrobras' spill procedures, saying Petrobras should have used chemical dispersants after attempting to first gather the spilled crude through mechanical means and containment booms.

Petrobras used the dispersants, which are toxic, as its first resort.

Besides the fine, Ibama also gave Petrobras 10 days to review its emergency procedures and to present a more efficient crisis plan.

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