Brazil gives Chevron green light for offshore production

09 April 2013 22:36  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) said on Tuesday that it has authorized Chevron to restart production activities at an offshore oil field following a massive 2011 spill at the site that led to the US oil major suspending its operations in the country.

ANP gave Chevron permission to resume activity at four wells at the Frade oilfield, 370 km (230 miles) northeast of Rio de Janeiro, for a period of 12 months.

Production at another two wells was also approved for up to two months if those wells were needed to stabilize output, ANP said. 

The agency said that the partial resumption of activity was conditional on Chevron’s ability to reduce flaring at the field.

“A security team will monitor operations,” the agency said.

In November 2011, a pressure spike caused an estimated 3,000 bbls of crude oil to escape from the Frade field. Chevron, along with drilling partner Transocean, voluntarily suspended activities as a precautionary measure after another seepage was detected in March 2012.

Chevron was subsequently fined $17.5m (€13.5m) in penalties resulting from the spill.

Criminal charges against Chevron and Transocean were dropped in February; however, according to reports both companies may still face a civil lawsuit.

Chevron said that it had been notified by ANP of the authorization to resume operations.

“Our preparations to restart will begin shortly following all safety procedures,” said Chevron spokesman Kurt Glaubitz.

According to the company, Chevron holds a 51.7% interest in Frade. The other partners are Brazil’s Petrobras with a 30% share and Japanese partnership Frade Japao with 18.3%.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Simon West

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