Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chevron Leak In Brazil: Charges Focus On Safety

Chevron's Spending Spree:
With Profit Down, a Move to Exploit High-Priced Crude
By Kirsten Korosec (CBS Money Watch)

The prosecutor, Santos de Oliveira, said the ongoing leaks provide evidence of irreversible damage. "There's no way to stop this leak until the reservoir is depleted," he said on Monday. "The seal was cracked and oil will leak until it's gone." Chevron spokesman Kurt Glaubitz said the company responded to the incident responsibly and dealt transparently with all authorities. "The flow of oil from the source was stopped within four days and the company continues to make significant progress in containing any residual oil,"
Lately, I haven't posted much here -- been too busy seeking filthy lucre to pay my bills. But this report from Reuters on the Chevron spill in Brazil snapped me out my labor-induced fugue state. I don't usually re-post stories, but Reuters gives a clear, concise review of events to date worth revisiting. So, see below.

The report reinforces my assumption that these oil guys will do anything to save a buck and get at oil that they should have left alone in the first place. Technology always fails, and if you operate near the margins, it fails sooner and more often. Case in point:
Brazil Chevron oil leak charges to focus on safety
03/19/2012 09:56 PM EDT Copyright 2012 Reuters (link is for updated story)
*Police report alleges Chevron cut safety margins * Chevron says it followed industry drilling norms * Some see charges as unfair, say gov't shares blame By Jeb Blount RIO DE JANEIRO, March 19 (Reuters) - A Brazilian prosecutor plans to allege this week that Chevron and Transocean should not have drilled a deep-water well that leaked in November, legal documents showed, giving a glimpse into expected criminal charges that could slow the rush to develop Brazil's vast offshore oil wealth. The accident cracked geological structures in the reservoir and oil will continue leaking from the field until it is emptied, the prosecutor Eduardo Santos de Oliveira told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday. The prosecutor's comments expanded on his investigations and police reports being used to assemble criminal indictments against U.S. oil company Chevron, drill-rig operator Transocean, and 17 of their executives and employees. The documents, obtained by Reuters, provided the most detailed look yet at possible causes of the oil leak off Brazil's southern coast. They also outline why prosecutors are seeking criminal charges for what industry watchers note is a relatively small spill at a well that was approved for drilling by Brazilian regulators. "We are in uncharted territory," said Cleveland Jones, a Brazilian oil geologist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. "Do we want better environmental standards? Yes. Did the environment get really hurt? No. If you applied the same standards to the whole industry, you'd probably have to shut it down, and we aren't applying the same standards to others."

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