Oil Spill in Brazil Bigger Than Chevron Admits, NGO Says

Another oil spill is taking place in the world right now from an off-shore drilling operation.

The incident was at Chevron’s deep-sea drilling operation off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state in Brazil. The country’s federal police says information released by Chevron does not match what they have seen, that is, the spill is larger, and they only saw one cleanup ship.

Chevron said the oil spill was between 400 and 650 barrels of oil and that it had contained the leak. But Brazil’s oil regulator National Petroleum Agency estimated 1,000 barrels had leaked to the surface and until earlier this week said it was not sure whether the well had been plugged (apparently, it has been by now).

Non-profit SkyTruth, which uses satellite imagery to detect environmental problems, went further and said the oil spill extended 918 square miles and on Tuesday on the spill rate was at least 3,738 barrels per day.

The organization wrote on its blog yesterday that it hopes that next satellite image it will get will reveal a much smaller spillage area now that the leak has been stopped. The last image was from November 12th as SkyTruth hasn’t been able to get new images since then due to cloudy weather.

Brazil’s federal police has launched an investigation into the incident while Brazil’s Energy Minister Edison Lobão said the company will “severely punished” if it has not done what it should have to contain the spill.

The incident illustrates once again the dangers of deep-sea oil drilling and why we should be moving towards alternative energy.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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