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clarifies the causes of an offshore oil spill, the latest twist in a political
firestorm threatening the U.S. company's role in Brazil's oil
The decision on Wednesday came as the head of Chevron's Brazilian unit
testified before Brazil's Congress, where he apologized for the November 8 spill
that leaked about 2,400 barrels of oil into the ocean off the coast of Rio de
Brazil's National Petroleum Agency said it decided to halt Chevron's drilling
rights after determining there was evidence that the company had been
"negligent" in its study of data needed to drill and in contingency planning for
abandoning the well in the event of accident.
The agency, known as ANP, also rejected a request from Chevron made before
the leak to drill wells in the deeper subsalt areas in the Frade field where the
spill occurred. The field is located in the oil-rich Campos Basin and is the
only block in Brazil where Chevron produces
oil as the operator.
The Campos Basin is currently the source of more than 80 percent of Brazil's
While Chevron said late on Wednesday it had not received formal notice of the
drilling halt, the company announced an indefinite voluntary suspension of all
current and future drilling off Brazil, apart from plug and abandonment work.