U.S. supermajor is facing an $83 million penalty from the Brazilian government because of an oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, the government said.
The Brazilian Environment Ministry said it would impose a $27.7 million fine on Chevron for last week's spill. The Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels added it may hit the supermajor with two additional fines of the same amount for a lack of disclosure about the accident.
Carlos Minc, the state environment secretary in Rio de Janeiro, was quoted by London's Daily Telegraph newspaper as saying it took more than a week for Chevron to respond to the spill.
"We believe the accident could've been avoided," he said. "There was an environmental crime."
Chevron said initially that an oil sheen drifting away from the Brazilian coast was estimated to represent as much as 650 barrels of oil. The company's Brazilian division said the amount of oil leaking from lines on the bottom of the ocean, however, "has decreased significantly."
Brazilian police said Chevron downplayed the incident. The company later revised the spilled volume upward and accepted full responsibility for the accident.
Chevron started plugging and abandonment activities associated with an appraisal well in the Frade field. The project is about 230 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in 3,800 feet of water.